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Don’t cuss at Mother Nature

Whitney Childers

So, I’m a potty mouth.

It’s not exactly news to friends, coworkers or me, but I didn’t exactly want the rest of Summit County to know.

Last week, while taping Summit Speakout on RSN with my good buddies Jim Pokrandt, Jim Williams and Biff America S I said a cuss word. My buddies got great pleasure out of my embarrassment and Biff told me in no uncertain terms that they wouldn’t edit it out. I would have to live with the shame.

So, I decided to use this column to do the right thing and apologize for my potty mouth. My mother would be mortified to learn of my transgression into the depths of bad language – especially in public.

But, I’m sure the majority of Summit County residents couldn’t care less if I said a bad word on television. It’s just not the kind of place where people get uptight about profanity. Bad snow year? Yes. Cuss words? Not so much.

So, there’s my weak intro to what I really wanted to discuss – “doing the right thing.”

There’s great potential for public and private entities in Summit County to do the right thing and practice what sociologists refer to as “social capital.”

Here’s a not-so-scientific example of how our leaders, companies and individuals in the community can extend an olive branch to each other and bring a little common sense to this crazy universe we call Summit County.

The drought. We’re in the third year of a statewide drought. It ain’t pretty. Businesses are concerned about sales dropping because of the low water level at Dillon Reservoir. We’re mad because Denver folks are not abiding by water conservation practices, which means our recreational opportunities and vista viewing areas are less than stellar. Yet, we still see signs – on a daily basis – of the disregard for this statewide crisis. Some towns, golf courses, private companies and individuals jumped on the bandwagon a little late in deciding to conserve water. Heck, even here at the Summit Daily News building we had our lawn sprinkler going all day in June.

Yes, maybe we all have plenty of water to go on living life as normal with a plethora of green grass at our toes, but is it the right thing to do?

Towns such as Dillon and Montezuma are practicing water restrictions. Dillon because they have to and Montezuma because, well, those folks up there get it. They’re practicing social capital. They figure, “Why not conserve water? If the rest of our state – or even county – is struggling, maybe we shouldn’t be so gluttonous.”

Of course this is my dream of what Montezuma folks are thinking, but I bet it’s not too far off the truth.

One reader wrote an e-mail a few weeks ago paralleling the drought situation to starving people. “Would you eat a steak dinner in the middle of a room of starving people, just because you can?”

OK, this might be a little dramatic, but I get the reader’s point.

Just because we can doesn’t always mean we should.

Snowmaking. At least one water expert has informed several ski resorts that snowmaking is in jeopardy this year. But, depending on what type of science you believe in, this may or may not be the case.

In reality, the ski resorts probably do have enough water (via their own storage areas) to make plenty of snow this year.

Maybe it’s just me, be I get an icky feeling thinking that we are using water to make snow in a time when some people are worried about feeding their cattle or the well going dry.

Can’t there be balance? Can’t we practice a little social capital and restrain our practice of trying to trump Mother Nature?

Probably not. We’ve painted ourselves into a corner to become dependent on snow to survive financially. I guess we’ll just have to eat our steak and enjoy it.

I just hope we don’t choke on it.

Do you think our area is practicing social capital with drought issues? Do we have a right to use all of our water? Is it the right thing to do?

Whitney Childers is the editor of the Summit Daily News and self-proclaimed potty mouth. She may be reached at 970-668-3998, ext. 227 or wchilders@summitdaily.com.


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