Impact Of Industry On Environment
My family and I spent last weekend skirting between three of Colorado’s national parks, surrounded by untouched nature as far as the eye could see.
Still feeling the wonder of that experience, I stopped yesterday in Indiana Dunes National Park. It’s located Lake Michigan’s south shore, between Gary’s huge U.S. Steel plant and the North Indiana Public Service Company power plant.
While blessed with stunning views of Chicago far across the water, Indiana Dunes’ industry- and smokestack-marred coastline stands in jarring contrast to the vast, quiet expanses of the western parks.
Efforts to keep what’s left of its wild spots pristine date back to 1916. Over a century later, Indiana’s U.S. Representative Peter Visclosky managed to designate the Dunes as our 61st National Park in a 2019 omnibus bill.
While I celebrate protecting the 15,000-acre sliver of waterfront as forward progress, I’m fully aware that in other parts of the world, nature is being destroyed at an unprecedented rate. Some reports estimate daily rainforest loss at 200,000 acres!
Standing on the shore of Lake Michigan, I reminded myself that the Windy City wouldn’t have been built or survived without the steel industry or power plants. But how wonderful would it be if its 10 million residents weren’t forced to see all that metal and belching smoke?
From oil drilling in the Arctic to rainforest destruction in the Amazon, air and water pollution are rising around the globe. They’re a direct result of our insatiable hunger for transportation, animal-based food and simple convenience.
We can’t return to pre-industrial times, but we can – in fact, we must – halt our forward progress in regards to unsustainable practices. The Earth can only take so much abuse before it’s unlivable.
The struggle lies in achieving the delicate balance between meeting the needs of people and living in harmony with nature. And there’s a simple, but obvious, way to begin: Reduce the amount of natural resources being expended to satisfy our appetite for meat.
An honest assessment makes it clear: the biggest contribution anyone can make toward healing the planet is to start eating plant-based!