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Re: E-M:/ Pamphlet offers whiff of reality, alerting would-berural dwellers

Enviro-Mich message from "Mark Richardson" <Mark.Richardson@co.macomb.mi.us>

Chuck:  You've put your finger on a key problem and source of criticism of the environmental movement: the widespread desire to live a suburban lifestyle in a rural setting.  An aspect of the sprawl problem is that exurbanites generally don't want to give up any of the comforts or amenities they are accustomed to even after they move to the countryside.  Educating folks on the realities of agriculture and rural living is important.  Even more important, in my opinion, is creating opportunities for people of different walks of life to come together and begin to understand each other.  It is harder than ever for people to get to know each other these days due to erosion of institutions such as churches, clubs, etc.  Long commutes don't help either.  Ways need to be found to bring people together.  I would hope one result of rubbing elbows with farmers would be that exurbanites would begin to simplify their own lifestyles (i.e, adapt)  Greater tolerance for things like agricultural odors, bugs, etc. are more likely to flow from this than from formal educational materials.  Regards, Mark  

>>> <Cubbagec@aol.com> 08/07/03 09:15PM >>>
Anne and all,

Some of you know that I have been on one of the CAFO tours.  From that and 
other poultry production site visits, I know first hand how the odors can have 
an enormous impact on neighbors.  The potential water resource impacts are also 
clear, but I'd like to share an uncomfortable  "twitch" that I've had about 
the scratch and whiff pamphlet technology.  No doubt this could be effective.  

My concern is that odors that come from the "family" farms that we all desire 
to see more of will be associated with the scratch and sniff experience and 
"urbanites" will figure that any odor like the pamphlet ought to be tossed in 
jail, etc.  How far will the pendulum swing?  Are we going to make it 
increasingly difficult for even the historical farms to operate?    We have a huge 
population of baby boomers and younger that have never been to a farm and my bet 
is that they don't want to smell any farm.  

What do we need to do to educate ourselves more about what are acceptable 
farm odors?  It doesn't just happen.  I see this on other issues, e.g., here on 
Eagle Lake, we are stocking extra native N Am weevils to control Eurasian water 
milfoil (we had some in the lake - just not enough "sheep in the pasture" so 
we added 28K).  And in the 4 years that we have been working on it, each year 
we have new cottage and homeowners that we must educate on how to leave their 
shoreline so that the weevils can over winter; how to use "no-wake" speeds 
when moving through E. milfoil weed beds so that the weevils can be more 
effective.  By the way, the weevils are doing a great job, but that's not the point.  

Once again, I am not denying the problems associated with CAFOs, but see an 
unintended problem that may be exacerbated by scratch and sniff and other 
public education tools.  To some who may tell me that there is just going to be 
some collateral damage, I don't buy it.  The key to solving a problem you have is 
to make sure the other person knows you care about her/his problem.  Anyway 
just food for thought. 

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