Cleveland County Conservation District
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Helping People Reconnect To Our Environment

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THE OLD BAIT & SWITCH

Posted on May 12, 2014 at 10:15 AM

  Have you ever heard the old Chinese Proverb, "Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime" - Lao Tzu?  It's the kind of proverb that raises goosebumbs and gives us continual hope for mankind. But human nature being what it is the environment usually comes out with the fuzzy end of that lollipop.  Truthfully the proverb should say this, "Give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach a man to fish and he'll need to go to Wal-Mart". 

Cause realistically he's gonna want stuff, a rod, reel, waders, a cool hat, tackle box and accessories, cooler, nets, stink bait, and eventually a boat with sonar & radar, a trailer, new truck and a time share cabin near some pristine mountain stream. And who could call themselves a true fisherman without a bumper sticker that says, "Work is for people who don't know how to fish".  We can't seem to help ourselves, it's beyond our control.  It's the call of Retail, from an early age we have been convinced that every hobby, life experience or right of passage requires a ton of stuff.

But what if we're wrong?  What if all fishing requires is a rod, reel, some worms and a desire to eat? What if living environmentally friendly worked like that as well?  What if all you needed was an awareness of conservation?  What if it wasn't the right recycling bin or rain barrel, what if its more about what you don't do instead of what you have?  Being environmentally friendly isn't complicated, but we humans are contrary over achieving creatures.  

I'm an professional student of human nature.  I watch my neighbors every spring haul out; lawn mowers, fertilizer spreaders, weed eaters, trimmers, edgers, leaf blowers and sprinklers.  I have lunch with a friend who hunts, he tells me about his deer stand and how proud he is of the watering/feeding station he ordered from the internet and set up under his tree. He tells me about his night vision goggles with zoom, the new camouflage vest with 20 pockets and how long it takes to set up his motion sensors.

I'm not above the laws of Human Nature either.  Several years ago, I took a cake decorating class with my sister and like every other student, I got sucked into buying every item known to man to decorate a cake.  If the Cake Boss ever collapses with a sugar coma, he can rest easy knowing that I've got his back.  

But when it comes to being environmentally friendly, less is more. Less packaging, less water, less electricity, less travel, less stress and less stuff to keep up with.  There's nothing fishy about being green, its all about less and nothing more.

-Chris Ward

Categories: Earth Friendly, Waste Stream, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose

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