Sunday, May 20, 2012

What We Take For Granted

Yesterday Sven and I watched a documentary created by the wife of his first cousin Tomas, Gunilla Bresky: Blood Road. It is about the Russian POWs in Norway, who returned home to Russia at the end of the Second World War only to be placed in concentration camps by Stalin. The film made me realize how many things we take for granted in this life: food, water, warmth, relationships with family members whom we love, freedom.

The word “freedom” was used so much by a recent president that it feels like a vintage dishtowel, full of holes and threadbare. But Gunilla’s film made me realize how precious freedom truly is. We have our freedom here in the United States, although the country is ruled by corporate powers that influence Congress through lobbying and often do not make choices that are best for citizens, as, for example, what is happening right now, with regard to fracking, in Pennsylvania and Colorado.

We are free to choose what we eat. We can buy eggs at the Wellfleet farmers’ market, which opens on Wednesday, for example, or opt for the Stop & Shop variety, from a factory farm where the chickens are not allowed to wander through the woods, eating what they want.

As for water, when Sven and I went for a walk at LeCount Hollow yesterday, I watched ocean water run out of a tidal pool and was reminded that Cape Cod's water issue has still not been resolved. Drinking water flows from the tap but comes from our sole-source aquifer. That water is as pure as we allow it to be. Should Northeast Utilities decide to spray herbicides under the power lines, we will need to use sophisticated water filters if we are to avoid cancer and other chronic diseases. How absurd that our outcry two years ago, echoed by legislators, has not been heard and respected by the people in charge, ie. NStar, which merged with Northeast Utilities last month!

I suggested, by letter, to Governor Patrick that he include a provision for the protection of our aquifer in his negotiation with NStar, prior to the recent merger with Northeast. I tried to get an appointment with the governor and was told he does not meet with constituents, even those who supported his campaign. For shame! It would have been so easy to ask NStar to spare our aquifer when he required that they buy energy from Cape Wind.

Drinking water and breathing air are essential to life, as is eating food that does not produce disease, organic food, non GMO-food. We take these things for granted. We should not need to protest to obtain what ought to be a human right.