Thomas Ramey Watson

More on Environmental and Social Justice

Our culture is moving from the noti on of dominating the world to shepherding it, both views based

on the Bible.

Writers however have long been more perceptive.

They’ve shown us that interactions with nature are more complex. Nature, or God in nature, acts upon us as much as we act upon it.

If we are not careful to respect natural laws—God’s laws—we pay dearly.

My second dog book takes place at my home that I bought new in 1998.  I dared to buck the system by changing all my lights to compact fluorescents, adding a composter, avoiding pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides as much as possible, buying things with little packaging and additives, recycling, and putting in water-wise landscaping.

Some of leading lights here dared to ask what it was like to be down at my end surrounded by Hispanics.

I looked surprised, because I’d never thought about it. I’ve lived among Hispanics my whole life and enjoyed generally good relations.

My family never expressed racist sentiments.  I was encouraged to learn Spanish and explore other cultures–which became a lifelong pursuit.  The movers and shakers of my community also put out their flags and declared those of us who spoke up against the invasions of Iraq as traitors, for Bush and Cheney could not be wrong.  Our country’ s ignoble notion of Manife

st Destiny was showing its ugly head again.

Until our big drought had set in five years after I moved in and landscaped the HOA kept trying to force me to un-xeriscape and put in the rocks and blue grass that they deemed fit—despite the warnings of the Denver Water Board, conservationists, and ecologists. These folks also persecuted my next door Hispanic neighbor who was dying of kidney failure, diabetes, and breast cancer because she failed to keep the weeds in her yard under control.

While I too did not like the weeds, I constantly confronted the persecutors over their inhumanity.  The last thing a dying woman needs to worry about is keeping her yard looking perfect.

Nor did I need to be threatened with fines and lawsuits to force me to conform to unwise ecological and social practices by people who refused to be educated.

So yes, social and environmental justice go hand in hand.  I know all too well.

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