A look at Matt's interest in ecology

Current (pre-2015):


I'm a former Wisconsinite. I was raised in the shadow of many great conservationists, both famous names in conservationism as well as a much larger number of environmentalists who were simple dedicated citizens concerned about this marvelous planet. I now live in Brazil where there aren´t so many readily available ecocentric role models. It is very important that citizens have access to graceful sketches about the lives of both famous and not-so-famous environmentalists such as to have a positive impact on lives that might also be motivated to turn their ecocentric thoughts into action.

As a boy coming of age in the 1970s the big names certainly had their effect on me, but what truly transformed me were the lessor known fellow residents that took up the tasks needed to transform aspirations into reality, changing concepts into legislation and then, most importantly, heading out into our backyards, our wild areas, our run-down and worn out places abused for the resources they contained, to make them better or at least stop their demise. People that were not a part of those initial struggles often take for granted the efforts required and the difficult struggle necessary to create the ethical vision behind such works.

In my youth, graced by living in what so often was dubbed the "the best place to live in the United States,"1 I had access to a naturally bountiful environment with many green spaces (wild and managed) and plentiful water resources. My youthful world was divided into activities that involved:

Of the things (not people) that I miss living in my new place of residence, the northeast of Brazil, I miss those things that I used to do as a participant in the Wisconsin outdoors

Yet another example of youthful exploration was when I came to know the Menominee Reservation (1975) it would become a reference point for many decades to which I would take my dearest friends, family or people from other lands that needed to see what WI really was at one time. From beyond the Earth's atmosphere, the Menominee Reservation is a patch of green that is easily distinguished from the surrounding farmed areas. It is one of the many reference points that Wisconsin has. I made regular visits to the reservation after I came to know it, mostly for the annual Keshena Pow-wow, which would afford me some time to camp under the stars (mostly invisible to city dwellers) and fall asleep to drums (a synapse between what lives on the surface and the Earth's inner workings) and go drift down the Wolf River during the day to marvel at the LACK of development along the banks.

I am grateful to the Menominee for their work in sustainable forestry and offer the following link to a publication titled "MENOMINEE TRIBAL ENTERPRISES, Maeqtekuahkihkiw Kew Kanahwihtahquaq, “The Forest Keepers,”” The Menominee Forest-Based Sustainable Development Tradition, 1997, cooperatively produced by: The Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin (MITOW) - Environmental Services Department, Mr. Gary Schuettpelz, Director, The College of the Menominee Nation - Sustainable Development Institute - Dr. Verna Fowler, President, Menominee Tribal Enterprises, Mr. Lawrence Waukau, President

Authors (just an odd mix) I have found educational:

Here is my short list of Wisconsinites that launched or kept me in eco-centric activities:

"…on a still night sit quiet and listen, and think hard of everything you have seen and tried to understand. Then you may hear it – a vast pulsing harmony - its score inscribed on a thousand hills, its notes the lives and deaths of plants and animals, its rhythms spanning the seconds and years."
[Aldo Leopold, inside the cover of the booklet Madison School Forest2]

Innumerable Wisconsinites, from most every background, take the time to care about the place in which they live, to be stewards to our little space on the planet that future generations of the humans species, as one with plant and animal species so that we all might continue to thrive.

We are in crisis here in Brazil, now rated as the number one user of agrochemicals5.
"O Brasil se destaca no cenário mundial como o maior consumidor de agrotóxicos respondendo, na América Latina, por 86% dos produtos. Em 2005, os estados que mais consumiram agrotóxicos foram São Paulo (54.916,8 t), Mato Grosso (32.112,5 t), e Paraná (25.810,0 t), e os que menos consumiram foram Acre (40,4 t), Amazonas (31,6 t) e Amapá (4,6 t)"

It gives one thought about those long-ago days when we first picked up Rachel Carson's 1962 "Silent Spring" and wondered if our spring could also be silent of the birds returning to their spring/summer homes. Brazil is living a period of economic expansion not unlike Wisconsin in the 50s-70s and it is having a similar effect - yet people here are yet unaware of what this "blessing" potentially causes in their future. Wisconsin can help in this regard IF WISCONSINITES care to take their message FORWARD and beyond the state boundaries.