Man made rot is eating at the heart of
nature. We are despoiling the heritage of our sons, our
grandsons, and their grandsons.
And now-direct from England-the world's most conscientious
ecology cartoon feature. A little overstated for our
American tastes, perhaps, but full of real meat,
nonetheless. Ah, if we only had a cartoon series like this
on our side of the pond! But, since we don't MOTHER
EARTH NEWS presents Mr. Crabtree Crusades!
Read this issue's entire comic strip here.
Modern farming methods make a pan in the soil — a rock — hard
layer under the top soil. So, when heavy rain comes it does
not sink gently in as used to be so. It pours off, makes
torrents, sending the river into flood and making the coot
build its nest high for the safety of the eggs. The rain
passes and the depleted river sinks sluggishly, leaving the
nest like a tower. Impoverished soil carried off the fields
by the flood, adds to the mud, slows the current further
and encourages rank growth where the clean current used to
flow. So, Mr. Crabtree tells Peter, the river deteriorates
progressively — the more mud settles, the more rank weed
grows to trap more mud, and so on. Thus the river sickens.
Sad change, man-made, has come to the river, but Peter is a
boy as his father and his grandfather were boys, and if
fish are in water he must fish. His catch, triumph to him
but depressing to Mr. Crabtree, is far more significant
than he knows. There is no more finely accurate barometer
of the health of the environment than the rivers that run
in it and the creatures that live in them. Everything in
the land, good or bad, ends in the river and thence to the
sea. So when river life becomes thin and poor, and,
particularly, fish are weak and runted, look sharply at the
land. Most rivers in Britain are less good than they were,
some in creeping decline, some ruined.