Should Humboldt Diversify Away From Cannabis?
The following is a guest post by Kyle Keegan.
This piece was written in response to the environmental and social impacts that our watersheds have experienced through the exploitation of our shared resources here on the North Coast. The emphasis was on our local Southern Humboldt area.
I personally feel that the industrial model that our culture has adopted does not fit into these fragile watersheds and that in order to build community that lasts, we must look to diversify our interests and embrace the place that we call, “home.” The cumulative impacts of growing cannabis on an industrial scale, whether indoor or outdoor have hidden costs that I believe we are unable to quantify and as we proceed with our lives in this biologically rich landscape, we might stop to ask ourselves, “Am I living IN my watershed, or am I living OFF of my watershed?” It’s kind of a strange question, but it may reflect the era we find ourselves living here with now.
This time is really no different than the Gold Rush days of the past, where people flocked to an area to get rich quick and fulfill their dreams only to move on as the economic opportunity was depleted. It all may seem innocent enough at first, but in time, it comes at a great cost to the local communities trying to build a foundation that is stable and also comes at a cost to all of the shared organisms that embody the biotic community that many of us have come to call home. My dream is that as we proceed with this evolving vision of the Emerald Triangle’s future, we look far enough ahead to be able to create a stable and resilient human and ecological community that can thrive without resorting to selling itself. I believe that we have more going for us than just our Humboldt name and the one plant we have come to worship. There is no better time than now to break the BOOM-BUST cycles of the past. Let’s diversify!
The industrial model does not fit into our small watersheds and rural communities.
The industrial model does not recognize scale, limits, or the carrying capacity of the land.
The industrial model can not comprehend the subtleties of a fragile, young geology, salmon on the brink of extinction, or the need for the people of the North Coast to re-inhabit the land with a resiliency that builds lasting community.
The industrial model turns its back to the blue-green algae blooms in our rivers, the mined soil and nutrients from far off lands, the unchecked road building, and the diesel that seeps into our grandchildren’s sources of life-giving water.
The industrial model is not sensitive enough to hear the whispers of the Pacific Giant Salamander or Foothill Yellow-Legged Frog.
The industrial model does not have the patience to hear the questions of our children or to listen to the wisdom of our elders.
The industrial model does not celebrate the coming of the rain and is blind to the return of the Band-Tailed Pigeon and Varied Thrush.
The industrial model does not have a memory, and so has forgotten the stories of the Lolangkok Sinkyone, Nongatl, Wailaki, Lassik and Mattole.
The industrial model does not and can not remember the ancient trees, clear water, salmon, grizzly bear, and badger it has consumed.
The industrial model has never felt a sense of place and does not recognize the word, “home”.
The industrial model must continually move on since it eventually destroys the very source of life that it feeds upon.
The industrial model only sees today and can not envision a tomorrow.
The industrial model, without a conscience, can not recognize the true costs and take a full accounting of its actions.
The industrial model’s fuel is the land’s natural capital, the emptiness of its two legged followers, and the fear that it will never attain enough.
The industrial model isolates itself, is alone, and has never felt the warmth and strength of community.
The industrial model, without a soul and without forethought, is doomed to fail again and again without understanding why.
The industrial model is not alive.
The industrial model is not us.
The industrial model does not fit.