The Beloved Boundary Waters And The Battle Against Pollution

The Beloved Boundary Waters And The Battle Against Pollution

How one powerhouse mining company is threatening Minnesota's treasured area.
77
views

If you're from Minnesota, you've either heard of the Boundary Waters or you've visited this immaculate area. Its 1 million acres contains 20 percent of all the freshwater in the entire National Forest System. "Up North," Minnesota captured my adoration as a little girl, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. However, this beautiful area is now threatened by the tempting act of mining.

This tranquil area feels like more than home. It's where the roots of my family's history stem from. It's what being a Minnesotan is all about. It's fishing along the North Shore, laughing with family and friends. It's the smell of burning wood while roasting marshmallows above the crackling campfire. It's my father shushing us children so we can hear the secret call of the loons at night. I can practically smell the fresh pine and feel the warmth of the sun radiating off the never-ending waters. There's even something about the name Boundary Waters that reminds me of Minnesota's native mystery and serenity.

Gov. Mark Dayton referred to the area as "Crown jewel in Minnesota." However, just like the rest of the Earth, this captivating area may soon be destroyed due to greed overpowering appreciation: an exhausting and devastating side to humanity. This issue concerns those who call Minnesota home. Unfortunately, that's not stopping powerhouse mining company Twin Metals from pushing for permission to perform toxic sulfide mining in the Boundary Waters, which has been notorious for destroying environments across the United States.

Sulfide mining has a history of catastrophic effects on the environment. This is because sulfuric acid is produced after it rains on sulfuric ore waste, and "sulfuric acid leaches out metals and chemicals from the waste and creates acid mine drainage which: contaminates lakes, rivers, and groundwater, harms human health, fish, wildlife, and damages entire ecosystems."

Whoa. What?

Doesn't that mean...

Destroying everything that is the Boundary Waters?

Yeah. That's right.

Mining companies have been notorious for promising environmentally-friendly methods but fail to keep those promises. In "The Reliability of Predictions in Environmental Impact Statements" by Jim Kuipers, P.E. and Ann Maest, PhD (2006), they sought to compare water-quality predictions made by mining companies to actual water-quality results. They found that "89 percent of mines that have polluted said they would not."

For example, tragedy struck when Gold King Mine in Colorado began to leak contaminated water by the millions of gallons in August 2015. The contaminated water leaked into Colorado's water supply that many people depended on for drinking and agriculture. Matters worsened as the contaminated water traveled to other states including Utah and New Mexico. The mining companies never predicted such damage.

In a state and federal document review of 14 copper sulfide mines by Bonnie Gestring at Earthworks, she found that of the 14 mines, 100 percent, experienced accidental spills. "Examples of recent pipeline spills include a 2012 spill at the 186,000 gallons of sulfuric acid along 2 miles of Chase Creek -- a tributary of the San Francisco River," reported a recent article.

Many states throughout history have had to file damage claims against mining companies. However, oftentimes taxpayers end up paying for the financial costs, while also bearing the cost of ruining their environment. This was the case for the spill in Colorado, where the EPA contractor received $381 million dollars to cover the damage, all from taxpayer dollars.

I'll never forget one day when my professor asked my philosophy class, "What is nature for?" Some students provided answers like, "for us to escape," and "for our entertainment." However, nature is not ours to use, nor ours to destroy. It belongs to all living things. Maybe it's time to readdress this question and ask how we could be serving the Earth. You wouldn't set fire to your home, so why are we allowing greed destroy the only home of humanity?

To read more and to sign the petition to stop the Boundary Waters mining, visit https://www.savetheboundarywaters.org/sign-petition

You can also donate to the protection of the Boundary Waters here: http://www.friends-bwca.org/donate/

Cover Image Credit: http://loonphotos.com/assets1/loonphotos/800_20779/IMG_5540ar101.jpg

Popular Right Now

8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
56103
views

Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Why The Idea Of 'No Politics At The Dinner Table' Takes Place And Why We Should Avoid It

When did having a dialogue become so rare?

461
views

Why has the art of civilized debate and conversation become unheard of in daily life? Why is it considered impolite to talk politics with coworkers and friends? Expressing ideas and discussing different opinions should not be looked down upon.

I have a few ideas as to why this is our current societal norm.

1. Politics is personal.

Your politics can reveal a lot about who you are. Expressing these (sometimes controversial) opinions may put you in a vulnerable position. It is possible for people to draw unfair conclusions from one viewpoint you hold. This fosters a fear of judgment when it comes to our political beliefs.

Regardless of where you lie on the spectrum of political belief, there is a world of assumption that goes along with any opinion. People have a growing concern that others won't hear them out based on one belief.

As if a single opinion could tell you all that you should know about someone. Do your political opinions reflect who you are as a person? Does it reflect your hobbies? Your past?

The question becomes "are your politics indicative enough of who you are as a person to warrant a complete judgment?"

Personally, I do not think you would even scratch the surface of who I am just from knowing my political identification.

2. People are impolite.

The politics themselves are not impolite. But many people who wield passionate, political opinion act impolite and rude when it comes to those who disagree.

The avoidance of this topic among friends, family, acquaintances and just in general, is out of a desire to 'keep the peace'. Many people have friends who disagree with them and even family who disagree with them. We justify our silence out of a desire to avoid unpleasant situations.

I will offer this: It might even be better to argue with the ones you love and care about, because they already know who you are aside from your politics, and they love you unconditionally (or at least I would hope).

We should be having these unpleasant conversations. And you know what? They don't even need to be unpleasant! Shouldn't we be capable of debating in a civilized manner? Can't we find common ground?

I attribute the loss of political conversation in daily life to these factors. 'Keeping the peace' isn't an excuse. We should be discussing our opinions constantly and we should be discussing them with those who think differently.

Instead of discouraging political conversation, we should be encouraging kindness and understanding. That's how we will avoid the unpleasantness that these conversations sometimes bring.

By avoiding them altogether, we are doing our youth a disservice because they are not being exposed to government, law, and politics, and they are not learning to deal with people and ideas that they don't agree with.

Next Thanksgiving, talk politics at the table.

Related Content

Facebook Comments