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E-M:/ Killing Ingham County's Farmland: Guess How Many SQUARE MILES of Ingham County farmland was lost Between 1987-1997?



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Enviro-Mich message from joonmck <joonmck@gateway.net>
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Dear EMers,

How much Ingham County farmland was lost between 1987 and 1997?

27 Square Miles!

That's almost the size of the entire city of Lansing (33.9 square
miles).
That's a lot of turnips that will never turn up.

But don't just take my word for it, See for yourself at the U.S. Census
of Agriculture:

http://govinfo.library.orst.edu/cgi-bin/ag-list?01-065.mic

Remember in your conversion activities, 640 acres = 1 square mile.

At around the same time Ingham County increased its housing units from
99,517 in 1980 to 108,542 in 1990. Assuming that rate was similar for
1987-97, that's an additional 9,000 houses. HHMM. . . . .Wonder where
some of that land came from?

Also, over the past 40 years, the number of persons per household in
Ingham County has declined from 3.27 in 1950 to 2.55 in 1990. That's the
loss of 80% of a flesh and blood person (and if it's 80% of a person,
there WILL be blood!). 

Now why aren't more schoolchildren (and their parents) in these parts
aware of these uncomfortable facts?

I know one reason. . . .and for help on this one I have to turn to Woody
Guthrie, and sing a few selected bars from his classic, "This Land is
Your Land. . . .

"As I was walkin, that river of highway, I saw a sign there, 
said "Private Property,"
But on the other side, it didn't say nuthin,
THAT side was made for you and me. . . . . .

Woody was trying to tell us that we all own the land. However in this
capitalist social system, we have been socialized to accept the idea
that great vistas of land, perhaps our most basic natural resource, are
not ours at all. Since we feel that we have no rights over it, and since
we have little say in its use, we grow estranged from it. "It" being the
land. 

 We ignore the land and its needs at our own peril.

 For from the long view of history the loss of farmland in the U.S. is
cause for great concern. (and this is to say nothing of the
pesticide/biotech/sewage sludge revolutions that affect the quality of
the land).

The alarm was signaled loudly as early as 1939 when W.C. Lowdermilk, a
government agent in the employ of the U.S. Soil Conservation Service,
was sent around the world to try to figure out how we could avoid 
disasters like the Oklahoma Dust Bowl. The result: the classic 30-page
short story, "Conquest of the Land Through Seven Thousand Years." How
could the experience of older civilizations in Mesopotamia, Eqypt, the
Promised Land, Lebanon, France and elsewhere instruct us? You'd be
surprised!

Emers: I wanted to insert the URL here for you to download Lowdermilk's
classic study but couldn't find it this morning (anyone out there who
can, please tell us!) 


While Woody was strumming his warnings, Loudermilk was penning a classic
for the ages. Have we learned anything?
       

> In Solidarity,
> 
> Brian McKenna
> Environmentalist,
> Anthropologist &
> Public Citizen
> 
> "If there are connections everywhere, why do we persist in turning
> dynamic, interconnected phenomena into static, disconnected things?"
>             -- Eric R. Wolf, Anthropologist (1923-1999)
> 
> "Insanity in individuals is rare, in nations, epochs
> and eras it is the rule."
>              -- Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, Philosopher (1844 - 1900)
>


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