Protect Bell Bowl Prairie for our posterity

"We don't inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children" - Wendell Berry

On Nov. 1, bulldozers will destroy the dry gravel, Bell Bowl Prairie, the most rare ecosystem in our once "prairie state." The prairie is located on land of the Rockford International Airport (RIA), and will be a casualty of a cargo facility expansion project. The plan approved by the RIA FAA will pave most of the remaining 14 acres of this pristine ecosystem that contains federal and state endangered species.

The preservation of Bell Bowl Prairie is more than protecting the endangered Rusty Patched Bumble Bee, large flowered beardtongue, or any one species. Every species in an ecosystem is inextricably intertwined. Endangered species are symbols of a planet errantly treated as inexhaustible to serve the whims of humanity. If we don't preserve the species in Bell Bowl, where and when will we draw the line? After elephants? Rhinos? When we live in a tame world of purely human construct? What's next?

Caring for community is more than a new cargo area under the guise of progress. The false dichotomy perpetuated by industry, "progress versus environment," is worn. Thoughtful, cost-effective, "progress with environment" options are available for Bell Bowl. We may measure economic gain of a new cargo area for an airport, but the loss of Bell Bowl Prairie is immeasurable; our relationship with nature is incalculable relative to dollars we extract.

We are living in the future's past. We will be judged by decisions we make today and by the condition we leave the planet for those living tomorrow. We must protect Bell Bowl Prairie as an example of enlightened awareness, cultivating mutual respect and dignity rightly afforded to all life, our brethren that we share the planet, and for future generations. Information:

Anthony Ippolito

Arlington Heights

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