“Everyone lives downstream” is a truism validated by issues of environmental degradation. Flint, Mich., water contamination has become national tragedy and there are others.
The seventh principle of my Unitarian Universalist faith is, “Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.”
A great concern for water contamination is just upstream. After decades of opportunities to protect public health and the environment, there is insurmountable evidence that manure from Controlled Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOS) — mostly dairies — are causing serious contamination of ground and surface water in the Lower Yakima Valley. The Environmental Protection Agency says more than 20 percent of wells used for drinking water there exceeds levels of nitrates and similar toxins found in the waters in Flint. Numerous very serious health problems result.
The Department of Ecology has a draft permit for CAFOS. This proposed permit sets no clear and enforceable requirements to stop this poisoning of ground and surface water.
We’re all neighbors, people of faith or otherwise, and we all live downstream. Much of our health depends on our choices and behavior.
The Reverend Doak M. Mansfield, Kennewick