A fantasy of time travel to save our lakes

When I get frustrated about the sad state of our lakes, I sometimes daydream, and wonder....

What if I could travel back in time 150 years, to when Madison was a small town, before they dumped all that sewage in the lakes.  I have to imagine I could avoid the consternation caused when people learned I came from the future.

I imagine traveling back to that time and saying, "I'm from the future, and I'm here to warn you.... You're about to ruin these wonderful, pristine lakes. Here's what you could do to save them--much as they are now--for your great grand-children. Look--here's a photo of the stinking mess your actions are going to cause."

What would happen? People would probably keep on doing what they were doing.

They would say: "We don't believe you.... We don't want to change.... Who are you to come from the future, and tell us what to do?  My small actions couldn't possibly cause any harm.... It's that guy over there who is really doing the harm. This stuff about phosphorus in the lake--it's baloney!  You say you want more rules to protect the lake? We don't like rules, and we don't trust government. You must be a witch... burn him at the stake!"

But if I were really skillful, charismatic, and persistent--willing to spend the rest of my life in early Madison, well.... it's possible I might make a small difference.

How do I know? Because I tried this experiment. Yes, almost the same thing.  I went to the historic town of Harwich, MA, in Cape Cod, where there's an orphan state park, neglected and abused--but home to a beautiful, still-pristine pond.

Hawksnest Pond in Harwich, MA. Click to enlarge.

I've started to work with the people in Harwich, to save the pond called Hawksnest. But I'm seeing the response described above. Maybe there's a chance Hawksnest Pond can remain as it is. I hope so. But many of the people there are doing their best to turn it into Lake Mendota.

You can find out about Hawksnest Pond here:  Hawksnest needs to become a sister pond to Lake Wingra, so Madisonians can discover what clean water really is--that it's possible.

Otherwise, clean water could become a dim memory, like a wistful mural on the wall of some environmental center.

Message from Hawksnest: It's that band of natural vegetation all along the shore and streambanks that protects water quality.

Slide show of Hawksnest.

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