• Rebecca Katers

    Good article. It gives hope that “little people” can sometimes win even when out-numbered and out-spent.

    Unfortunately, mine opponents were only lucky this time to have a Republican tie-breaker on their side. That’s unusual.

    A key problem with many environmental battles is that they can never be permanently “won” for all time. Victories are often temporary, until the next battle, and then the next battle, and so on.

    As long as valuable resources exist (ie: minerals, forests, groundwater, lakes, rivers, wetlands, clean air, fish, game, wildlife habitat, scenic views, etc.) … someone will push for their “right” to profit from depleting or destroying those resources, or using them in a way that ruins important values for others.

    One generation of residents may succeed, after years of struggle, in “saving” their lake or scenic view, but the following generations will probably face new or different threats, and need to keep repeating the struggle.

    And while some environmental battles might be won by successive groups of concerned citizens several times over many decades, just one LOST battle on an issue can be permanent.

    When vital habitat is destroyed, an endangered species disappears forever. When old growth trees are cut, none of us will live long enough to enjoy replacements. Once a huge mine is played out, that landscape and groundwater can never be the same. Once a scenic view is lost, it’s unlikely to ever be restored.

    Lose just ONCE and there’s no going back. There’s no second chance.

    Wisconsin Republicans have shown us how transient our progress can be. Many Wisconsin citizens, from many walks of life, worked HARD for DECADES to convince state lawmakers and agencies to carefully craft regulations to protect important wildlife habitat found in Wisconsin’s best and last remaining wetlands. Despite all that work, in just a few short months, Republicans cancelled all our decades of accumulated little “victories” and gutted Wisconsin’s protections. Now, many rare and beautiful wetlands will be destroyed forever, along with their wildlife.

    As Wisconsin’s population grows and resources get scarcer, the number and pace of permanent losses like this will grow. These days, it seems that everyone is torn in 20 directions, trying to respond to multiple crises and negative proposals. It’s overwhelming. Many bad changes like this are slipping through and getting approved, with everlasting impacts.

    As future generations get sucked deeper into their high-tech, video-game worlds, fewer will experience enough of the natural world to know what they’re missing. Who will fight the good fight then?