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Be Thankful You’re Here


Published in the November 2022 Issue Published online: Nov 15, 2022 Articles
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THERE ARE LOTS AND LOTS OF COOL PLACES AROUND THE GLOBE. I know because I have been fortunate enough to visit quite a few of them. Many of them are neat to check out but expensive to visit. Lots of the really neat places like Venice or Bali have incredible sights to see, but very few people can actually afford to live there. We here in Idaho Falls are lucky. We’ve got some incredible sights all around us and people can actually afford to live here.

November is all about Thanksgiving and we here in Idaho Falls have plenty to be thankful for, especially when you look how things are going for people in places like Ukraine. Conditions have also become pretty bad for the citizens of Russia because of all the resources committed to the invasion and the resulting international sanctions. When you consider the global impact of so much of the grain being destroyed or not being able to be shipped, it makes you realize how interconnected we all are.

We in America complain when the cost of things like butter or gasoline skyrockets, but at least we still have a ready supply of all the things we need and want. Every now and then there is still a post-pandemic hiccup in the supply chain and some grocery store shelves are empty, but in a week, things are back to normal. In lots of other parts of the world having store shelves always empty is considered normal.

I know some people here have fallen on tough times. I’ve driven by the community food pantry when there have been dozens of people lined up. Fortunately there seems to be lots of food being given out, though I’m sure it’s never enough. I’ve also seen places out of the general public’s eye where people have camped out along the Greenbelt. As nice as it is, I’m sure they’re not there to enjoy the scenery. While we don’t have encampments like Seattle, Salt Lake or Boise, we still have people with nowhere to go. The Haven and the City of Refuge do their best, but they could always use more help and supplies.

Right now, Idaho Falls is still experiencing a big boom in construction of all types of dwellings. Hopefully, as things settle down and people move around in town, there will be inexpensive housing that becomes available. During the pandemic, Idaho Falls proximity to Yellowstone made vacation rentals very lucrative. With high gas prices and the faltering economy, Yellowstone visitation has dropped off. Maybe this will result in some units going back on to the rental market for local residents. The loss of residences to vacation rentals is a situation that has become an issue worldwide.

When it comes to being able to provide solutions to lots of the world’s problems, the neat thing is that Idaho Falls has all kinds of work and research going on to make the world better able to manage our ever-increasing population and their needs. The agricultural industry in our area not only already cranks out food that helps feed the world, they are also innovators in equipment and practices that are used globally to produce needed foodstuffs. Out at the Idaho National Laboratory (disclaimer – this is my current employer), there are thousands of people focused on diverse types of scientific advances that will help make the world a better and safer place. The biggest challenge is getting people to accept that nuclear energy is a viable and safe way to provide energy to a planet with a population of nearly 8 billion people, and counting!

In 1798, Thomas Malthus wrote a book on the Earth’s population and made all types of dire predictions that panicked many people. But ultimately, he proved to be wrong. In 1968, Paul Ehrlich authored a book called the Population Bomb. He too made all kinds of dire predictions about the world and its growing population. He too panicked lots of people, and he too was wrong. The one thing that both these scholars failed to factor in was human spirit and creativity. People are constantly striving to create new ways to make the world a better place.

Not that we still don’t have lots of challenges to address in the future, but we all should be thankful that all around the world there are places like Idaho Falls where people are working to solve problems and create a better world for us all.


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