A gardener’s take on the presidential election

The Ultimate Blogging Challenge month is nearly over. It has been another good experience of blogging, and I have really enjoyed it. Every day, I get an email with suggested ideas for blog posts. I will have to admit that I don’t follow most of the suggestions because I usually already have an idea for my blog post. Yesterday’s suggestion was to “write a post on what your industry would be like if one or the other (presidential) candidate is elected.” Well, I’d already decided to write about insects so I set the idea aside for another day. Today is the day!

First of all, I need to take issue with “one or the other candidate.” There are actually four candidates for president, not two. There are:

  • Donald Trump (Republican)
  • Hillary Rodham Clinton (Democrat)
  • Jill Stein (Green)
  • Gary Johnson (Libertarian)

I thought and thought. Industry? I have an industry? This morning, I thought about “industry,” and I realized something. I am a gardener. Gardening is my business. I guess that it’s an industry.
The issues that matter most to me as a gardener are environmental issues. I spend a lot of time in close contact with the ground, the plants, and the insects. I have learned a lot about the types of native species that are needed to attract bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. I have learned about the value of good, healthy soil for a garden. I have learned about the value of water. So this blog post will be mainly about water as a political issue.
We need water. We cannot live without water. Neither can our environment. I have seen this very clearly this year. The drought has caused the ground to be hard and cracked. The lawns are brown. Some people are watering their lawns, which, in my opinion, is a waste of water. It takes a lot of water to satisfy a lawn. Besides, grass always comes back. The brown lawn looks dead. But it’s not dead. It’s a better idea just to water the garden. Flowers and vegetable plants will die if they are parched.

Water has already been an issue. The dangerous levels of lead in Flint, Michigan’s water resulted in a crisis. Flint’s water became contaminated after the city switched from using Lake Huron to the Flint River, due to financial issues. That’s really bad because lead poisoning can cause brain damage in children and, in Flint, that is exactly what happened. Today, six state workers in Michigan were indicted on charges of misconduct in office, conspiracy, and a willful neglect of duty for their failure to address the water crisis by manipulating the results of reports on the safety of Flint’s water supply. Altogether, nine state workers have been indicted in connection with the water crisis. For a scientific analysis of this issue, click onto the word “link” on the next line:

There are other ways for water to be contaminated. Here in Western New York, there are issues concerning the Cattaraugus Creek. Most of the water that was contaminated is on territory belonging to the Seneca Nation of Indians. Last year, I participated in part of the Walk for a Nuclear Free Future. I walked with the group from downtown Buffalo to Sunset Bay (where the creek joins Lake Erie). 

Last April, I wrote this in a blog post:

“Maria Maybee, a Seneca from the Heron Clan, said that the Cattaraugus Creek was where she grew up. She said that she loves the creek. The nuclear waste that leached into the creek from the West Valley waste disposal site has caused Maria serious health problems, she explained.”

Maria organizes an annual water walk to draw attention to the problems associated with the contamination of the Cattaraugus Creek.

Because we cannot live without water, it would seem obvious that governments should invest in infrastructure that is connected with safe water to drink, wash in, and irrigate gardens and farms. To me, that seems like a no-brainer. After all, water is life. And it potentially could become a national security issue. Some people are suggesting that access to safe and uncontaminated water could be the cause of future wars.  Here is a link to an article in Scientific American on this topic (click on link in the next line).

As for the presidential candidates, not one of them has really addressed the water issue. That’s not a surprise. Until you experience a water shortage, you don’t think much about water. People tend to take water for granted. But it should not be taken for granted. People in Flint, Michigan, know this. People who live near the Cattaraugus Creek know this. People who live in hot, dry climates know this. I’d like to see the presidential candidates talk about water. I’d like to see them invest resources in water. Yes, our government will have to spend money on a valuable infrastructure. But isn’t it worth it?

Water is life. And life is precious. Let’s protect it.

9 thoughts on “A gardener’s take on the presidential election”

  1. Kebba Buckley Button

    Alice, the question of a viable and clean water supply is vital. I think Hillary may have mentioned it in reference to Flint, MI. I'm stymied as to how they could switch water sources without testing/knowing the quality of the river water. Maybe that's why some are under indictment now. I live in the heart of Phoenix, Arizona, where it was 113 today and dry. I have to water my garden daily on days like this. So the issue is very present for me. Thanks for raising this important issue.

  2. Water needs to be on top of the list and while I've heard about the Flint water problem, I never seem to hear anyone coming up with solutions. I do love your flowers.

  3. "As for the presidential candidates, not one of them has really addressed the water issue." ~ Hillary addressed it, in reference to Flint as Kebba said. I agree about its importance as an issue!

  4. Thank you for your perspective, Kebba and Martha. It is much appreciated because water is life. The solution is hard to come by but, because water could be the cause of future wars, a multinational group should participate in the discussions. It should include countries in the middle east and in sub-Sahara Africa because those are the countries that could potentially be hit hardest by a water crisis. It would be so much better to prevent wars than to try to stop wars.

  5. Hi Kebba and Jeanine,
    I would like to see all of the candidates discuss the water issue in much greater detail. I am pretty sure that Flint was not an isolated incident of contaminated water. We have some very serious infrastructure problems in the United States because the infrastructure has been neglected for so many years. Water is a big one because we can't survive without it.

  6. You are so right about water, but you aren't exactly right about the number of candidates, in addition to the four parties you mentioned, there are other parties, the Constitution Party is one that has almost equal fallowing as the Libertarian, then there are many minor parties in addition, there are actually 31 minor political parties in the US, most of which actually do have a presidential nominee.
    So the 5 major parties are:
    Green Party
    Constitution Party

    Then 31 other smaller parties that don't get recognition in enough states to be considered a major party.
    At the very least it would be nice to see the five major parties given equal chance, don't you think?

  7. Wow, I never heard of the Constitution Party! I'll look them up. Thank you for telling me about that.

  8. OK, well, I guess that the Constitution Party isn't for me. They never mentioned environmental issues. Not even once. Sigh.

  9. Water is indeed life. Just try living a couple of days without it. A co worker has a daughter living out in California and has visited during the drought. It is so terrible to see and also scary to realize how much of our food is grown in drought stricken areas. Now we in New York State are in a drought situation, too. A neighboring village to us has declared a conserve water situation and I am sure more will follow. Hillary did mention Flint in her speech accepting the nomination but this deserves a lot more discussion than just mentioning (not to minimize Flint's situation) Flint.

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