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Living Within Our Natural World
2nd in a series of short essays
“A man’s got to know his limitations” This is one of the more enduring contributions made to our popular culture by that well-known resident of the Monterey Bay area, Clint Eastwood. And although Clint was not addressing anything but the nearest bad guy, I like to think this maxim of modern life has a broader application.
Lately with the question of whether or not our community should spend tens of millions of dollars on a proposed desalination plant occupying my mind, I have been thinking about what it means to live within the limitations of our natural world. Interestingly, I have found that consideration of this issue raises the additional questions of how we define our natural world and how we measure our consumption. Imponderable though they may be to both Clint and me, I will nevertheless “take a shot” at elucidation.
Some say that living within the limitations of our natural world involves merely consuming only as much as we produce, a concept often called our “ecological footprint”, but surely this is far too simplistic a metric to be of any real world use or enlightenment. Rather we must come to the common understanding that we live in a world of finite resources and we must conserve what exists today and generate what we can for tomorrow in an effort to balance the natural book. This approach is sensible and responsible yet a consensus of thought and action in support of this principle sadly remains beyond our grasp. Indeed, the rejection of such a sensible solution is what has placed our community upon the precipice of desalination.
So maybe Clint’s right and we must all admit that limitations do, in fact, exist. That would make at least wo of us who think that's the right idea, and that's a start.