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Re: E-M:/ Symbol for Clean water unanimously passes Senate, whilesubstantive laws and funding are being gutted



Title:
no more polluted than any other
part of the Great Lakes!

Dear Ms. Madsen,

Thank you for raising to this issue.  I love wetlands, am very aware muck is a natural substance, and composed of rotted dead plants and animals, the product of aerobic, and facultative anaerobic microbial degradation.  I am never happier than when I am bog trotting and have spent 1/2 century as a native Michigander doing more than most to protect wetlands and bogs while academicians did far less to actively protect and save them from destruction.  I not offering my personal world view with yesterdays email but instead am identifying what I had read about how others view the Lotus as a symbol of rebirth, raising out of the ooze and muck in pristine beauty.

You have identified that Michigan wetlands are no more polluted (nor one bit less) than any other part of the Great Lakes, I view this as a general failure on the part of the scientific community to promote safer alternatives.  "Remember, better living through chemistry?" State of Michigan universities took that to heart and their extension service often act as pesticide apologists, while at the same time exhibit behavior akin to state capitalism and are daily promoting , endorsing, and helping to market millions of pounds of pesticide, fungicides, herbicides and other industrial chemicals each year that end up in the Great Lakes while simultaneously repressing and disparaging private sector efforts of biological control, and other safer, more sustainable practices.

You have missed the point I had hoped to make, to have trusted public institutions withhold biological control and bioremediation technology much like the unenlightened academic mind set used to "drain swamps" in the past.  Some Michigan Universities have failed to share vital available technology, apparently to milk the public or governmental agencies out of more grant money.  To gut funding for cleanups, but use the American Lotus as a symbol is ironic. However it is a perfect metaphor for rising above the lies, filth, political muck, and corruption that keeps our water polluted and our air impure.  Fear mongering is a common practice of State of Michigan employees used to promote polluting technologies as well.

Samuel M. DeFazio, PRAXIS

Barbara Jean Madsen wrote:
On Thu, 29 May 2003, Praxis wrote:

  
Lotus grow best in a polluted setting.

 its blossom. held well above the filth, muck,
and corruption of life made of rotting vegetable and animal matter that
it grows best in.
    
As a botanist and wetland ecologist, I have to object to this portrayal of
both the American Lotus (which should not be confused with the completely
unrelated Asian lotuses), and its habitat.  "Muck" is, in fact, a natural
organic soil type, the result of incomplete decomposition of (mostly)
plant material as a result of waterlogging and lack of oxygen in the
sediment.  Praxis' characterization of decomposing organic materials as
"corruption of life" and these habitats as "filth" perpetuates outmoded
nineteenth-century stereotypes of wetlands, especially organic-soil
wetlands, as somehow unhealthy, "polluted", noxious, and disease-ridden.
These are the same misconceptions and fear-mongering being spread by the
groups and individuals who want to destroy Great Lakes coastal wetlands.
These are, in fact, healthy, normal, dynamic habitats, essential to the
health of the Great Lakes ecosystem, and no more polluted than any other
part of the Great Lakes!

	--Barb Madsen