This started out as a Dear Santa diatribe. It evolved into something of a wish list for the new year, simply because I couldn't bring myself to suggest that I had been even relatively good for the year past.

We all know better than that.

Be that as it may, there are so many different things that I would hope for, either from Santa or for the new year. Rest assured, I won't be the only one benefitting from my list.

At the top of the list is the great outdoors, even though we humans continue to self-destruct, bringing down our Mother Ship in the process

Let's face it, without this hunk of rock we call earth, we don't count for much.

Yet we do all we can to pillage and plunder the environment.

Now, I'm not talking about hunting and fishing, reaping the rewards of what Mother Nature has offered.

I'm talking about our reluctance to recognize global warming or our insistence that something as simple as taking lead out of shotgun shells and fishing tackle should ruffle the feathers of thousands of fair-weather outdoorsmen.

We toss lead out to be lost, for goodness sake. Never mind it's perhaps one of the most toxic elements known. It's only our kids or grandkids or children after that who will suffer.

I'm also talking about doing what we can to slow the spread of chronic wasting disease. Deer hunters love the trophy antlers, something that won't be quite so common as the disease spreads. Leave your deer where it falls; don't spread the disease into new territories.

And what about those who think road ditches are a cheap landfill?

I know I've been hands off on the topic for a while, but I still bristle every time I head down a road and see the legs of a kitchen table sticking up, or perhaps an overused recliner in the ditch. Apparently, the recliner was so good the person was simply too lazy to head a mile or so north to the landfill where it would have cost a few dollars to dispose of.

We simply can't continue taking the environment for granted.

If we don't change our way of life now (if it's not already too late) we will literally have hell to pay.

After all, if average summertime temperatures climb by 10 degrees as some suggest, we'll struggle to head outdoors for a day of fun. Certainly, the idea of cooling off in area lakes will be a thing of the past when they evaporate away.

Think about it. The time is now.