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Letter: We should work together to protect our environment

We should work together to protect our environment

I read with interest the recent front-page article: “A case of nature versus culture.” Since I know only what the article reported regarding the charges against John Volpe, I am in no position to judge their merits and the actions of Department of Environmental Conservation agents who raided his taxidermy shop. Yet his situation gives rise to many questions and concerns.

Due to his reported occasional assistance to the DEC, donations to parks and nature centers, loans to Native American groups for ceremonies, personal environmental research and Native spiritual practices, I can’t help wondering if things couldn’t have been handled differently. Mediation comes to mind. At any rate, one hopes that Volpe and the DEC share environmental protection as a common interest.

Now, when our planet is experiencing exponential destruction due to climate change fueled by faulty human practices, humanity would benefit greatly by bringing together the wisdom of indigenous cultures and the know-how of technological society, in forums that encourage mutuality and sharing rather than the pitting of one culture against another. It seems increasingly evident that our very survival depends on understanding and respecting the whole web of life, which ultimately depends on harmony between different cultures, including human, animal and plant, and the health of our entire ecosystem. What difference might it make to Earth if, rather than placing short-term benefits over long-term costs, we were to adopt the Haudenosaunee wisdom of asking how major decisions being made would impact the seventh generation?

Mary O’Herron