For example, Americans make up less than 5% of the world’s population; that seems like a relatively insignificant portion. But we’re not so insignificant when considering America’s slice of the world’s wealth pie - fully 25%. That alone confers considerable sway to each of us. And here in Wisconsin? At 20th in the nation population-wise we run about average. Surely we hold no special significance; our shadow of influence isn’t so great. Or is it?
Actually, we Badgers have some interesting additional opportunities to help shape a positive future. Wisconsin ranks 8th in the nation in agricultural sector value. So we hold considerable influence, especially concerning the critical issue of topsoil degradation and loss. Our leadership in soil improvement practices, such as the use of cover crops, could be a game changer for the world’s environmental health. Cover crops increase water retention, reduce the need for herbicides, and sequester carbon, which in turn enhances soil nutrition reducing the need for synthetic fertilizers. Our agri-business’ influence on soil and climate health is potentially monumental.
Wisconsin is also ideally suited to position itself on the leading edge of the clean power renaissance that’s unfolding worldwide. Having no fossil fuel resources of our own, we shell out $12 billion annually to import fuel. Why not spend that money right here on clean energy sources creating jobs in the process? The opportunity and the savings are ours for the taking.
In 2016 we short (and tall) folks here in Iowa County throw longer shadows on the health of the world than we might have guessed. Each of us has the opportunity and the responsibility to propagate some of that homegrown Wisconsin environmental ethic throughout the planet. After all, this is the only home we’ll ever know. We’re here forever…Earthbound.