Middle River Dispatches is a gumbo of posts about fly-fishing, conservation, politics and days afield.

Nature Bats Last

One of the best Op/Ed pieces I have read in a long time ran this week in the LA Times.

It is an important lesson about the history of our nation when we ignore the facts and let the charlatans run loose akin to Hunter Thompson’s view of the TV business: “as some kind of cruel and shallow money trench through the heart of the journalism industry, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free and good men die like dogs, for no good reason.”

We may live in a post-truth era, but nature does not” was written by Cynthia Barnett; an environmental journalist at the University of Florida’s and the author of  “Rain: A Natural and Cultural History.”

Regardless of alternative facts, fake news or scientific censorship, nature tells the truth. That truth will flood in torrential rains. It will sear in extended droughts. It will sweep into coastal homes, especially where it has been suppressed;

Our history, aptly chronicled by Professor Barnett, shows the folly of betting against Mother Nature.

nature’s truths are bluntest in times when the nation has ignored its best scientists, quashed reports to benefit industries and been awash in fake news. And those times have been frequent.

She points to the Great Plains of 1870’s and the then touted theory that “rain follows the plow.”  It did not as we know and the dust bowl was the punishment for those over hyped but unsubstantiated lies of the day (“alternative facts” in today’s gasthly phraseology.)

“The farmers helpless, with no weapon against this terrible and inscrutable wrath of nature, were spectators at the strangling of their hopes, their ambitions, all that they could look to from their labor,” wrote a young reporter named Stephen Crane at the Lincoln State Journal.“The farmers helpless, with no weapon against this terrible and inscrutable wrath of nature, were spectators at the strangling of their hopes, their ambitions, all that they could look to from their labor,” wrote a young reporter named Stephen Crane at the Lincoln State Journal.

There are many who will opt for the political over the scientific, the short term gain over the long term interest of their fellow man. They will find comfort in those post-truth theories that fit their narrative, facts be damned. As Barnett points out, the Oxford English Dictionary defines it as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.”

In the end, the one truth that will always win out; nature bats last.

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