By Chuck Keller
We have all made this observation. We don’t often stop to think about the consequences of our actions.
We recently lost all of the bees in two hives. That’s about 25,000 bees. These were healthy happy hives and we expected to harvest honey this year. We lost a few years and hundreds of dollars. We lost them to someone in the area over-spraying chemicals.
In fact, most of us don’t think about the consequences of our actions. Someone in the neighborhood used a service to treat their lawn. Shortly afterwards, their puppy died from the chemicals used to keep that lawn a lush green.
At one point back in 1896 someone thought that planting the Amur honeysuckle was a good idea to prevent soil erosion and as an ornamental. They never thought that it would choke out native plants and become such a widespread nuisance.
We know about the ripple effect but we don’t often think about the effect that the stone has as it sinks through the water and hits bottom. The effects of our actions run wide and deep. But our vision is so often short sighted that we don’t or can’t see the long term effects. I mean, that’s how the Dust Bowl happened. People didn’t think about the consequences of certain farming techniques to increase yield that transformed the land.
Homeowners, gardeners, and lawn businesses use Round-Up to kill weeds or invasive plants. There was, of course, a huge class action lawsuit that showed that Round Up causes cancer in people. People got sick and others died. It’s just a simple spray and it kills what we consider weeds or unwanted growth. If it were bad it wouldn’t be sold, right?
And then there are the PFAS and PFOS chemicals used to create Teflon to coat pans or skillets and for military uses as well. It causes cancer too. And that chemical never breaks down. That’s why it’s called a forever chemical and scientists believe that every body on the planet has these chemicals in their bodies to some degree. It is in the water and now treatment centers are scrambling to scrub it and other forever chemicals from our drinking water. NKY has about 11 parts per trillion in our water, but nonetheless someone upstream created a problem for us downstream.
And I see a similar behavior regarding the coronavirus. Some people in the neighborhood had a house party recently. They weren’t thinking of others or the effect that a gathering like that could cause. The ripples run wide and deep.
We often live thoughtless, self-centered lives and we don't intend to hurt others. I mourn the loss of our bees. We can replace them but we cannot fix the inconsiderate behavior that may cause future damage. I don’t want my behavior to cause problems for others but I certainly don’t want to suffer as a result of someone else’s lack of judgment. John Muir wrote that “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.”
Because what happens to one of us happens to all of us.