In honor of a royal visit on Friday to Louisville by Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, who will be highlighting issues of sustainability and local food, renowned Kentucky farmer-author-poet-philosopher Wendell Berry and his daughter Mary Berry, executive director of The Berry Center in New Castle, Ky., have written a welcome letter, published in the Courier-Journal. It begins:
Your presence among us honors us. We have taken courage from your courage in opposing those who destroy for short-term profit the substance, health, and beauty of this world, which we did not make and cannot conserve except in obedience to its natural laws and to the divine imperative of human stewardship.
You will not be surprised to learn that in Kentucky, as in much of the world, the ways of conserving the land, the water, and the air are repeatedly blocked by the combination of corporate wealth, political connivance, academic complacency, and a deficit of hope where hope is most needed.
Here as elsewhere, the damages done by surface mining are severe, permanent, and largely unrestrained; the loss of land to "development" is, arithmetically, unsustainable; our use of our forests is for the most part ecologically unsound; our farmlands are eroding under an increasing burden of annual grain crops; those lands are priced beyond the reach of aspiring small farmers; and our streams are everywhere degraded by chemical and other pollutants.
But I believe you will be unsurprised also to learn that in Kentucky, as in places similarly exploited and threatened all over the world, there is a growing number of people and groups of people competently aware of, and determinedly opposed to, the diminishment of the natural health and beauty of our state and our world. We are proud to welcome you into the company of friends and allies who, like you, are unrestingly committed to the work of ecological sense and sanity. (Read more)