Field and Stream
THE MIDAS TOUCH
For nearly three decades, conservation editor George Reiger was the magazine’s moral compass, pointing the way with a mix of indignation, outrage, cutting humor, and plain common sense, as he does here.
Conservationists have always known that some things are beyond price. What good is money when there is no breathable air, no clean water, no fish, game, trees, grasslands, farmlands—or food?
Of course, some development is inevitable. People must have shelter, and they must have jobs. But does that shelter have to be built along the edge of the Hudson River on landfill that would destroy an important breeding estuary for striped bass? Do ski resorts have to be constructed in the midst of important elk or bear ranges? Must water be contaminated with toxic wastes so that industries can make greater profits to share with stockholders so they can buy vacation homes built on land that once was a duck marsh or a woodcock covert?
When profits come first, does anyone really profit? Dionysus gave Midas a materialist’s ultimate power. Belatedly, Midas learned that personal fulfillment means more than wealth. As the old saying goes, you can’t eat money or breathe it or drink it.