There was a Time

There was a time when I could dump my trash out in the woods and nobody could ever notice.

There was a time when I could draw pure water from a river and never know or care how many outhouses—or moose—were upstream.

There was a time when I could burn my autumn leaf pile and my neighbors would only get an aromatic reminder of the season.

There was a time when I could burn coal to heat my stove and the skies remained clear.

There was a time when I could dump my smokestack effluent out into the atmosphere and the wind would dilute it before anyone could ever notice.

There was a time when I could dump all my externalities upon the rest of the world without bothering to account for the infinitesimal degradation it caused.

There was a time when I was given dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over all the earth, and my stewardship thereof preserved it for me and my seed unto all generations. And because I was small, compared to Nature, whatever I did pretty much didn’t really matter in the long run.

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