The Grand Teton, Jackson Hole Wyoming, just north of Burnt Lake.
Man has always been a social animal. Early man first lived a hunters/gathers. Early in mans history, we lived in family groups known as clan or tribes. As the population in Europe grew, people began to live in towns and cities. The occupations of the inhabitants became more specialized. In what is now the US, the inhabitants remained as hunter/gathers and continued to live in tribes. When the Europeans started to spread to the new world, they brought with them disease and technology (and their attitudes about owning the land). They tried to live in harmony with the natives. When the Europeans found themselves in need of more land, it was inenvitable that the two groups would collide. When two societies collide, the one with the most technical weapons is usually the victor, sometimes totally eliminating the losing society. It should also be noted that more American natives died of the diseases spread by the Europeans than anything else. How could this affect our mother earth?
I have over the years developed an attitude. An attitude about the way we are treating our mother, the very planet that gives us all we need to sustain life. I have compared my thoughts and ideas with that of many native Americans and you know what? I agree with them. We belong to the earth, it does not belong to us. I attribute my beliefs to my personal history and the education I continue to obtain.
I am a rare breed, I was born and raised in Wyoming. I didn't realize how rare I was until I had a good friend attend the FBI academy. He pointed out to me that in the big picture, hardly anybody lives in Wyoming, something he learned in the academy. I was lucky enough to be exposed to much of the American west before industry and people began to pollute the area.
As a very young man, I would go camping and fishing in the mountains of central Wyoming with my father. We would go into areas that were only accessible by 4 wheel drive vehicles. These were areas that showed no sign that man had ever been there before us. (although we knew better....it was expected that we left no trace that we had been there ourselves) I have been fishing on a lake that had water so clear, youcould see the bottom, 30' below us. We could go out for a week and take only the required pans, a little cooking oil, and some corn meal or flour and have enough native fish to sustain us.
I have stood on the prairie, once populated by the Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians, the buffalo and the eagle, with the wind in my face, the smell of the sage brush filling the air, listening to the leaves of the Cottonwood and the Meadowlark sing. One cold winter night in the 1960's, I found myself standing on the frozen prairie. The temperature was below zero, there was 6" to 8" of snow on the ground and the air was perfectly still. I looked into the sky and saw a million stars. I felt so small, but yet a part of the universe. There was nothing around me that I could buy, but yet I felt as if I owned it all, or it owned me.
Just a few years earlier, as I lay in my sleeping bag in our backyard in Cheyenne, I was nine years old. I watched the stars above. One of them moved. just weeks before, the USSR had launched Sputnik. It was the only moving object in the heavens. Now there are so many, they pass over, one every 3-5 minutes. I often wonder what the few remaining tribes think of the moving stars.
Man and our over population are "killing Mother Earth". Our skies are so polluted that many people can only see a few stars on a clear night. Roads have been built and the once clean lakes are cloudy and surrounded by litter. I have a friend who works at NCAR/UCAR. She sends me information, almost daily, on the research on global warming. I have seen the numbers. We are heating up the earth. We need to wake up and take care of the problem.
I often reflect on a drive I took just after my father died. I was driving south on I-25 from the Wyoming/Colorado border. As I looked at the front range of the Rockies, I thought "Those beautiful mountains were here a long time before me, my father and his father. They are owned only by God"
I have but one solace...When I start feeling that my world is becoming over populated, I take a drive back to Wyoming. There are still more Pronghorn Antelope than people. I just wish the State of Wyoming had not improved the road back to Burnt Lake, where I use to camp and fish with my father.