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July 26, 2009 – How interesting – I had to read The Ecologist online to find out that the Cincinnati City Council passed a law requiring “environmental justice permits” of businesses operating in the city. It’s not clear from the article whether all businesses will have to obtain the permit, or just new ones. The permits are a response to the well-known habit of businesses that pollute locating near the poor. While the new law puts Cincinnati in the forefront with regard to protecting its citizens from environmental injustice, this position could quickly be undermined by the fact that there is incontrovertibly NO money available with which to enforce the law. Was this merely an attempt to give the appearance of having acted on behalf of voters? Sponsoring city council member David Crowley worked on the measure for four years, withstanding aggressive opposition from the business community. Based on the lack of funding, however, it would appear that Crowley’s mettle will continue to be severely tested on behalf of this important, idealistic law.

On a more positive note, it was also reported in The Ecologist online that the Japanese are dealing with this latest economic downturn by simplifying their lives. How so? By growing their own food. It was surprising to me to learn that such an option was even available to the Japanese. I think of their country as being very overcrowded, with little land available for farming. This, in turn, led me to reflect on my own less-than-inspiring experience in the vegetable garden this year. The seasons have been out-of-whack, and my cool weather plants have underperformed spectacularly. I finally pulled up the broccoli today (all foliage, no fruit),

and the lettuce (an unappealing variety with leathery leaves). The snow peas were a huge disappointment. A couple of pumpkin vines that planted themselves are sporting two likely-looking jack-o-lanterns, and

the verdict is still out on the tomatoes. The bean plants have jumped up out of the ground – we’ll see if they actually produce any beans. My daughter, who lives in Connecticut, tells me her husband is so disgusted with their tomato plants he actually went to the store, bought a tomato, and showed it to his derelicts so they would know what they were supposed to be doing. He’s still waiting. Much as I have bewailed the lack of rain during Cincinnati’s typically dry, hot summers, the superabundance of it this year has not been without drawbacks. While there is truly nothing like the “real thing,” it’s easier to make up for the dirth

than it is to deal with an endless supply. My respect for farmers never stops growing, even if the same cannot be said for my garden!!!

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