Native plants have benefits cattle don't

To the editor:

The Project Native/Helia Nursery environmental mission inspires mass "greening" of the region's home gardens. If gardeners use more native plants, that benefits regional water conservation and the reduction of chemical run-offs like herbicides, pesticides and fertilizer. It helps keep alive nature's circle of life of birds, butterflies and less glamorous pollinators. Also, gardens decrease carbon dioxide while, in contrast, beef-raising increase carbon dioxide and methane — more steps to a dead planet.

Project Nature's plants now face bulldozing by the expanding organic beef grower, Sean Stanton. He has won the favor of the state's Agriculture Preservation Restriction Program board. Its decision displacing one grower for another screams for more public scrutiny. Stanton has influence as Great Barrington's Select Board chairman and through his success in farm and real estate dealings.

This speedy land takeover for cattle against endangered native plants follows the pattern where cattle raisers destroy Brazilian and Central American rainforests. Massachusetts isn't supposed to be Brazil. The planet's crowded chaos is supposed to stay under control here, but something bad seems to be winning against the good green planets.


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Richard Greene, North Adams