The Coronas are blooming

The Coronas are blooming

That’s not all…

So are the McDonald’s cups…
The Coronas are blooming

Plastic water bottles…
The Coronas are blooming

And of course, graffiti…
The Coronas are blooming

Would you ever walk into someone’s home and start dumping your trash, or drawing on their walls? I would hope not. I like to believe that my readership is of a higher quality. Yet the equivalent of such an act occurs everyday in Illinois’ Cook County Forest Preserve system. Many people treat these wild areas like their personal dumping ground. Or their personal dog park. Or their personal canvass. However, the Forest Preserve system belongs to us all. Treating these areas in such a disgraceful way not only displays a lack of respect for nature, but for every other human being who wishes to enjoy the natural wonders present in the preserves.

One could make the case that those in charge of caring for the preserve system haven’t done much better. In some areas, native plant species have been almost completely crowded out by invasive species such as buckthorn, honeysuckle and moneywort. In all, almost 400 invasive plant species have been identified in Cook County preserves. Most of the work being done to combat this problem comes from a handful of dedicated volunteers. The Forest Preserve system should and could be one of the state’s crown jewels, a sort of local version of the National Park system. Unfortunately the will just doesn’t seem to be there.

It’s a problem repeating itself all across the country. Many simply don’t seem to understand the importance of nature, both in a practical sense – for instance, the importance of wetlands in reducing flooding – and in a spiritual sense. Such ignorance is epitomized in the words of that great orator Rush Limbaugh, who once said “The most beautiful thing about a tree is what you do with it after you cut it down.” To some, the only value that matters is monetary value. If you can’t sell it for a profit, then it has no worth. I don’t know whether to loathe those who think this way, or weep for them. I only know there’s a long, hard fight ahead, the outcome of which remains uncertain.

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