The end of turkey season is always bittersweet. The time in the spring woods is truly magical and provides much needed quiet time, but I will not miss the jarring buzz of an alarm clock at 0-dark-thirty each morning. Amid the COVID chaos, I was hungry for time away, both to chase turkeys and to use the quiet to contemplate what this pandemic means for humanity and for the resources the department is charged to steward.
Winston Churchill remarked, “It is not given to human beings — happily for them, for otherwise life would be intolerable — to foresee or to predict to any large extent the unfolding course of events.” It may be merciful to be protected from an exact picture of what is to come, and yet our citizens expect the department to prepare for future threats to our fish and wildlife, such as impacts from climate change, disappearing wildlife habitat, and emerging wildlife diseases.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The first wealth is health.” I would agree, but with this refinement, that it is the health of all things — people, animals, lands, and waters — as we are all codependent on the other. When one of these foundational pillars fail, we now know more than ever that the whole is compromised.
A friend made this connection: COVID-19 reminds us that we are all dependent on the ecosystem, that we have let things slip and that we have a choice about what tomorrow will look like.
May we choose wisely.
Sara Parker Pauley, Director SARA.PAULEY@MDC.MO.GOV
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