That wasn’t the case in a recent dream of mine because we raise grapes, and I’ve been a teacher all my adult life. And who wouldn’t pick a perfect early summer day for a setting? So there we were, a class of school children spread along and facing an arbor full of fresh foliage and clusters full of BB-to-dried-pea-sized immature grapes. The children were clearly delighted with the plants. Then I announced that each of them would be given the vine in front of them to take care of for the season.
What happened next was typical of children. They were so delighted with their plants that they began picking off the largest clusters so they could run up to show me! And in my dream world, that was unexpected, but it wasn’t really surprising because they were children after all. “Oh well,” I reconciled. “There will always be another season.”
The term “anthropocene”, or human epoch, is being used increasingly as humankind’s pressure on the Earth is actually physically altering the environment. Most of these effects negatively impact the natural balance that has allowed for the phenomenal expansion of the human species. These impacts include desertification, topsoil erosion, ocean acidification, a warming climate and others. It’s almost as if we humans have been, like my dream’s children, so delighted with the bounty in front of us that we’ve prematurely plucked these fruits without forethought of the future.
But we’re not children. And we’re becoming increasingly aware that the Earth’s bounty is a finite resource. Thank goodness that right here in Iowa County we have examples of institutions that have purposefully altered their ‘business as usual” models to make their operations more sustainable. For-profits like Cummins Emissions Solutions and Lands End, service providers like Upland Hills Health as well as NGOs such as the Driftless Area Land Conservancy all help insure that Earth’s grape arbors will produce healthy fruit not only this year but for seasons to come long into the future as well. Because we’re not going to awaken from a dream. This reality is our only home. We’re here together forever…Earthbound.”