To the editor,

The Covid pandemic has driven more people outside to enjoy parks, gardening, and simply walking. A benefit has been an appreciation of slowing down and smelling the fresh air.

Fresh air, like fresh water is something we take for granted. And yet in all the talk of infringing on various liberties, I am hearing nothing about our right to clean air and water. None of us, no matter sex, race, religious affiliation, or political leaning can survive without clean air or water. 

During every election there are always drumbeats about building a strong economy. But even the strongest economy is absolutely  not possible without clean air and water. Law and order, education, the military, and health care are not possible without the FREE gifts of ecological services such as fresh air and water. 

For nearly twenty years, research at Stanford has sought to quantify the true value of nature and the ecosystem services the natural world provides.  The free ecological services include: clean air, water, flood control, soil building, carbon absorption and storage, decomposition, pollination (1/3 of our food is possible because of pollinating insects), cooling and so much more. Conservatively, they provide a service value of at least $33 trillion dollars each year. That’s $33,000,000,000,000. 

Government typically drags its feet on creating social change. People and businesses usually push the needle and only after kicking and screaming, will the government finally follow.

I am asking that all of us assure the continuation of free ecological services and vote with that in mind. Because all the other issues are not possible without the biological integrity of our amazing home planet. 

Now step outside and take a deep breath.

Tom Anderson

North Branch

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