Editor's Note: The following editorial was published by a sister newspaper, the Tribune Star of Terre Haute, Indiana.

In a land of plenty, and despite its numerous problems and deficiencies, America has plenty of reasons to be thankful. And not just because the calendar has rolled around to reveal another Thanksgiving holiday.

The people who inhabit this country and thrive here have long taken advantage of its abundant resources. They are what have fed, sustained and fueled our society. They have fundamentally provided uncountable opportunities to the people who live here and underwritten the many freedoms we enjoy. Because not every geographic location on the globe is endowed with such resources, America has become the envy of many of our neighbors.

America's system of self-governance has produced an economic structure that, while imperfect, has distributed the resources widely for all to access.

There are few, if any, parts of this vast nation that have not contributed significantly to America's economic progress. The resources available in those locations have been the core of that contribution.

When we consider the many blessings this country enjoys today, it's essential for us to acknowledge that this nation would not be what it is without the abundant natural resources it possesses.

For much of the country's brief history, it has used resources available to advance its social and economic interests. The impact of that activity has been enormously beneficial across the spectrum of American life. But it has also taken a toll on the environment. The pollution created by this human activity continues to pose a challenge to this current generation as it prepares to hand over the country's social and economic engines to future generations. We are paying a price for the tremendous prosperity through damage to the environment — our precious land, air and water.

It is right to be thankful for the abundance this nation has provided, and still provides, to the people who live here. But as we reflect on and appreciate the good fortune we feel for being Americans, we should embrace the responsibility we have to preserve the environment of this country, and this planet, for those who will follow us.

The environment is precious. Resources are indeed something to be used, but also something to be protected and defended.

Let us be grateful this Thanksgiving for all this country and this world provide for us. Let us demonstrate that gratitude by pledging to be respectful of our environment and become good stewards of our resources.

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