(Editor's Note:?Hans Appel submitted this information to the newspaper more than 20 years ago. He brought it back so people can read this timely message again.)
To the Editor:
My dad always replied to the question that was often put to him, "What are you going to make of those first born twin sons of yours?"?"One is going to be a preacher, the other a horse trader."
Neither of us fulfilled his expectations, but I'd like to "preach" a little sermon if I may because I am convinced we are long overdue on taking seriously some lessons we can learn from the Bible.
It's sad but it's true, the earth is dying, and it is wearing out because of poor stewardship of our natural resources. The Bible says it is going to do so, but until our generation I believe only a few people took these passages seriously.
Psalms 102:26 tells us that the earth will "wear out" like a garment. Look around you. Don't you see eroded hillsides, gullies, silted in lakes, rivers and streams??We can see forests dying because of acid rains, lakes devoid of fish because of chemical pollution and acid rain, top soil becoming alarmingly thin in many areas. Some areas have actually become deserts - barren, lacking fresh water and devoid of abundant life.
The prophet Isaiah saw it all. The earth mourns and withers, the earth lies polluted under its inhabitants, the earth is utterly broken, the earth is sent asunder, the earth is violently broken. Isaiah 24:4-5. I wonder what he would say today as we view the destruction we have done to the good earth we are to be caretakers of?
I really believe we need to do some soul searching. Just consider two of the ten commandments laid down for us. "Thou shalt not steal." Aren't we stealing from our children, grandchildren, those whom are yet unborn when we allow the soil to erode through wind and water, polluting the groundwater by unwise use of harmful chemicals that will take years to get out of the aquifer??"Thou shalt not kill."?Consider the many species of animals and birds that are on the endangered list or completely extinct because of lack of natural habitat. I think inadvertently we are killing ourselves through possible pollution of our food and water and the air quality problems we have in some areas of our world.
We as farmers have certainly seen the demise of the lowly earth worm and soil bacteria because of poor farming practices. Yes, I truly believe that they also have an important roll in maintaining good soil structure and fertility.
Consider what happened to Israel of Old Testament days, the Promised Land of Milk and Honey. When they arrived in that country, it was a land of green pastures, woodlands, flowering streams and lakes. Since their only source of fuel was wood, they immediately began cutting down the trees and not replacing them, clearing more land for planting, over grazing the pastures and draining the wetlands. It soon became a desert wasteland.
It seems to me that the whole world is following the pattern of Israel. We started destroying the earth before the birth of Christ, but I feel that it has become a higher priority in our age of technology.
In southern California, one out of every eight trees is dying because of air pollution. One in every three trees in the famous Black Forest of Germany is dying because of smog.
I truly believe that we need to get back to sustainable agriculture. It does take hard work, lots of manual labor, and livestock to utilize rotations of legumes and oats, etc. Then, in my humble opinion, we will have a true economic development in?Iowa because we will put more people back to the grain produced by feeding it to livestock. The lowering the costs of inputs because of better utilization of natural resources, you will have more dollars left to be spent in your community.
By doing so, we not only help to preserve the family farm, but we will also slow the death of the earth which has so unwisely been prophesized.