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Batt, James R. (ed.) / Wisconsin Academy review
Volume 20, Number 2 [3] (Summer 1974)

Shifferd, Kent
An environmentalist's manifesto,   p. 16

Page 16

      An Enironmen talists
                             By Kent Shifferd
I am warmed by the heat of trees and plants long buried,
    nourished by foods from distant places and
My thoughts informed by the ideas of men and women from long ago.
My life's existence depends on other people, other places, other times.
I am my Mother's childhood dream of me,
     I am the gentle rains over Kansas wheatfields,
     and the soil of Hoosier truck gardens,
The light of my lamp is the light of the sun from a million years ago,
    and I am Voltaire, Luther, Marx and Plato,
My life fluids are sustained by the snows which melted on the north slope
    the Penokee Mountains, last spring,
My joys and hopes are the hopes and joys of Everyman,
My understanding that of Buddha, and Aldo Leopold.
I am the birds I see, and the footprints of the field mice in the snow,
I am the corn I eat, and the good hot Illinois fields which made it grow.
I am the labor of my fellow men and women,
Hoosier gardeners and Kansas wheat farmers,
The bakers who made my bread and the truckers who hauled it to me,
For without them, without the humble yeast, without the sun I would be nothing.
And I am what I have passed on, of these things, to others-to my children
    and my friends and to those who read these lines.
The great web of life extends into all the reaches of the biosphere
    and the farthest corners of the social world,
It extends back in time, tying us by invisible and unbreakable strands to
    events and peoples of the past.
Individuality and presentness are illusions of infrequent convenience.
We are all what we have been, what we might be and what we will be,
    and we are all extensions of one another and of all things living,
    and non-living.
    Kent Shifferd is on the faculty of the Sigurd Olson Institute of Environmental
    Studies of Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin.

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