Ron Case ’62 addressing community concerns
Growing up in the small paper mill town of Brokaw, Wisconsin, Ron Case ’62 of Lincoln, Nebraska, experienced the joys of the environment and outdoors first-hand. He taught wildlife biology and was director of the Environmental Studies Program at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln for three decades.
Case’s concern for sustainability continues in retirement. He is serving his third term on the board of the Lower Platte South Natural Resource District, dealing with issues that include bicycle trails, soil and water conservation, urban storm water and flood protection.
“Right now, we are working on sustainability issues in water,” he says. According to Case, Nebraska irrigates more acres than any other state. This is a big issue as growing urban areas are requiring more water, and both surface water and groundwater have had depletion problems.
“We are looking at ideas as to where we can get our future water,” Case says. “It’s an interesting challenge trying to meet the demands of both agricultural and domestic water users.”
He says several factors come into play when looking at more cautious use of natural resources. Some relate to religious choices and individual freedoms. He says the tremendous growth of the world population and environmental issues such as climate change will take education and public acceptance to address.
“Our economic model is based upon growth and consumption,” he explains. “They’re very shortterm aspects to growing an economy. How do we switch from a consumptive economy to more of a service economy?”