Giving of Oysters and Boots
Now is the time that the locked doors of many hearts creak or swing open with great avail. It is a time of reflection for many and every now and again we become witness to the kindness, sensibility or complete selflessness of individuals we may otherwise have never thought could be possible. Two particular cases on each coast of our great land have displayed both environmental as well as personal concern. It is only two of millions of current stories sweeping across America that give each one of us a continued sense of belief and hope in our fellow humans as well as our political system during this giving season.
The Oysters are Freed
In 1962 The United States Congress added national seashore to the federal parks system protecting approximately eighty miles of California coastline. The office of the Interior Secretary is the sole decision maker as to how this portion of land is regulated. As a result, it was determined that some of this land, particularly the Point Reyes National Seashore in Northern California could be used for cattle ranching and dairy purposes under a specified lease. Within this area several oyster farms began to emerge as well causing, over the years, outcries from environmentalists proving that these farms were disturbing harbor seal pupping and destroying native plants. The lease for these oyster farms was set to expire in 2012 so as to restore the area back to a ‘state of wilderness’. One particular owner sought to fight this mandate even though he knew when he purchased the farm that the lease would expire. Under great pressure, current U.S. Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar, upheld the law and policy and made the decision to let the lease expire so as to bring the shoreline back to its natural state. This decision is a perfect example of how our system can work in favor of nature, against the too often alleged importance of money trumping our environment.
Boots to the Bootless
Across our nation in the middle of Times Square, NYC a homeless man sat, shivering in the frigid evening air, shoeless. As he begged for change a tourist from Arizona turned to offer him something. However, to her astonishment, she saw an amazing scene. A uniformed policeman was kneeling down beside the man putting socks and boots (which he had just purchased with his own money) on him. She immediately snapped a photo and posted it on the NYPD’s Facebook page. In a matter of hours the photo went viral receiving, in the end, over 500 million ‘likes’. The officer commented to the New York Times when questioned about his generosity saying that, ‘he keeps the receipt for the boots in his vest to remind him "that sometimes people have it worse."’
These two stories are proof that there are policies and people out there that see the bigger picture. Whether it is politics or human kindness it is an environment we all should be a part of.