04.12.12Kelly Duke

Occupy Watershed – Your Money Or Your Life:

Charles Darwin Charles Darwin In Repose: Natural Selection - Its more than a theory, its a way of life

As a follow-up to my post on the Dry Lands Design Conference I have to confess that the program left me in a very up-beat mood.  This was in spite of the sense that it may be too late to attack climate change at its many contributing causes, but not to late to figure out ways to adapt or lives, diet, means of transit, or ideas of government , commerce, or societal values to it.

The idological future may well become a clash between the concepts of  Manifest Destiny and Charles Darwin‘s theory of Natural Selection.

In any case, the idea that good collaborative design, at virtually any level, can be an effective tool in this adaptive process is reassuring.  We are in interesting if not exciting times and the Arid Lands Institute and their co-sponsors have demonstrated great foresight in advancing the adaptive design dialogue.   That doesn’t mean we should stop efforts to curtail those practices that waste water or that drive global warming.  Hence this post.

I can credit the title of this edition to a small gem buried in the conference’s kick-off presentation by William deBuys, PhD, Author of A Great Aridness.  Oh, and please forgive the Seussian format of this post.  It is not intended to lessen the seriousness of the topic; it is just that my inner Lorax got the best of me.


Water, water everywhere
Or so we’re led to think
But careful as you lift that glass
To lips about to drink

Seventy-one percent of earth ‘tis said
Is covered with the stuff
But please consider a few facts
And calculations rough

Ninety-seven percent of water
Is contained in nature’s sea
Imbued with salts which render it
Unfit for you or me

Two percent is all tied up
In glacial ice and snow
What’s left is in our lakes and streams
And in aquifers below

And yet this one percent
Can be further compromised
With heavy metal nastiness
Or bio-hazardous surprise

Confronted with these salient facts
We gloss over water’s worth
As if it’s an entitlement
Rights granted at our birth

We’ve so long thought our water free
Or so it does appear
And we ignore the hidden cost;
The pipes and pumps to get it here

We ‘re in a  land where magic
Brings fresh water to our sink
Since we don’t have to hike ten clicks
To get our child a drink

Such is the case in other lands
Third world countries and as such
But even in America
There are sad places with as much

The water’s there, it is true
But the living dare not partake
For farming and industrial seeps
Are killing river, stream, and lake

Still there is a brighter face
To this downer diatribe
Found in unblemished watershed
Where Mother Nature likes to hide

Watershed is the term
For nature’s low-tech exercise
To clean and absorb water
When ere a raindrop flies

Left to its own this watershed
Slows ebullient rainfall’s rush
To direct the flow through foliage
Of forest trees and underbrush

Collecting in creeks, streams, and ponds
Where it slowly soaks into the rocks
To be drawn from, over time
Like dividends from stocks

Where city roof and pavement sprawl
Divert water from this bank
We can help by capturing
Rain water in a tank

A Green roof, a water butt
Or a cistern in the ground
A rain garden, a bio-swale
Great ideas can be found

We all have a part in serving
This great watershed machine
Holding soil in place, planting trees
And keeping gutters clean

But with this tactical approach
Long term goals we must provide
So our leaders see the logic
Of setting party lines aside

Alas not all politicos
Deserve our precious vote
When special interest groups
Float their re-election boat

Go beyond Individual acts
Aspire to a larger stage
Hold industry to answer
For their polluting waste outrage

Like that tanker car of toxic waste
As never seems to fail
On a bridge above a pristine stream
When it happens to derail

Or the ship that runs aground
Letting crude oil diffuse
On reef and beach and nesting site
From corners cut for revenues

We’re in a pinch financially
From stuff  beyond this poem
As oligarchs and leaders shrink
From cleaning house at home

So along with all the things you do
On behalf of your our own stead
Forget about Wall Street
Occupy Watershed!

K. F. Duke

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Kelly Duke

Not many people can say that they have dedicated their life to the landscape industry. Kelly Duke can. His diverse background ranging from maintenance to estimating, to design, along with a passionate commitment to his trade has given Kelly a lifecycle perspective to landscaping. As the leader of the ValleyCrest’s Pre-Construction Services team, he analyzes early conceptual designs to determine whether or not and how they can be built within budget while meeting long-term design and maintenance goals. Many of the projects that come across Kelly’s desk require he examine the cost and savings of baseline water use in comparison to high efficiency alternatives.




  1. Thursday, 12:21 Pam

    Sold! I want to join the Occupy movement. (Seriously, this is a cause I do believe in!) Will you be tweeting where we meet for our campout?

  2. Thursday, 2:31 Lorraine DiBacco

    Thank you for that bit of whimsy with a dark side. Scary problems for sure. And let’s not forget the honeybees poisoned off and died. Less pesticides surely is the cure.

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