Aldo Leopold once said, “Conservation is the state of harmony between men and land.” The coexistence between the two is often threatened and even diverted into a clash of oppositions and misunderstandings.
With various opinions on how to “preserve” our world’s resources, how are we as a population supposed to know who has the correct stand on an issue? How do we, as individuals, know who to side with?
There are so many statistics researched by one company or another, many times contradicting each other, that flash across our TV screens on the evening news. As a general rule, the citizens of this great nation perk up for a brief second, maybe take an interest in the topic, but in reality it will fade from their thoughts as more important things take precedence in their lives.
Let’s stop and think, what is wrong with this picture? Let me tell you. People want to gripe about how much it costs to put fuel into their vehicles, but they won’t make a single trip to town, picking up all of the necessary items on their lists in that one outing.
While I realize the Constitution allows us to have many freedoms, we tend to take advantage of them because we can. If we had better attitudes and every person did what they could, a little bit at a time, think about how much better off we would be.
Our habits are created as young children. We look up to our guardians and see how they behave and thus, follow suit. If we instill in today’s youth the importance of conservation, whether rural or urban practices, it would have a lasting effect.
For many of these youngsters, it is their first time to participate as active members of either organization. Whether they are physically in the show ring or they have their projects on display for the members of the community to glance at as they walk by, these kids are learning more than how to sew, weld or groom a steer.
In addition to responsibility, self discipline, and integrity, these young individuals are learning strong interpersonal and leadership skills. These skills will enable the young men and women to fine-tune their public speaking, confidence and critical thinking abilities. This will allow for great leaders to form not only in their communities, but in their country as well as their world.
Preservation starts with conservation, and conservation starts in our own back yards. Let’s take our own stand on issues in our own communities. Encourage our kids to get involved, for today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders.
(Katie Rauch attended Texas A&M where she studied animal science. Rauch was raised on a commercial beef cattle farm in Washington County, Ohio. She now resides in Belmont County and is Belmont SWCD’s operations manager.)