Way..... Out there !

Way..... Out there !
Deepest, most colorful Hubble image yet of our universe. Click for info.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Problem With the Bay — It's Us !

Years and years of bumper stickers ("Save the Bay") and cleanup days, not to mention importuning politicians have failed to clean up the Chesapeake Bay. In fact, it's getting inexorably worse. The basic problem, generally ignored until now, is addressed in an article in The Chesapeake Bay Journal written by Lara Lutz.

In the early days of the Bay cleanup efforts, public presentations about the Chesapeake often included an illustration from the comic strip "Pogo," with the character's famous saying, "We have met the enemy, and he is us."

If so, the Bay has more enemies than ever. In the years since those outreach efforts took place in the mid-1980s, nearly 3 million more people have arrived in Bay's watershed. They consume forests and farmland, and generate pollution.

Now, as the human population of the Bay watershed cruises toward 17 million, author and conservationist Tom Horton is asking hard questions about the Bay's biggest long-term problem: growth.

What to do? The article has many suggestions, but may still not address the fundamental problem: there's just too many people around. And if they don't live here, where will they – and all the associated problems – live? And if we don't like the Chinese solution (one child per family, or else...), what will we do?

I hope you will read the article and ponder its implications for all of us. For it isn't somebody else's problem: it's ours.

John L.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

President Shakes Up Chesapeake Bay Restoration

Noting the general lack of progress in cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay (something your editor has also noticed at first hand... the water is like a thick soup of murky sediment), President Obama has ordered a renewed federal effort. His executive order of May 12, 2009, begins:

The pollutants that are largely responsible for pollution of the Chesapeake Bay are nutrients, in the form of nitrogen and phosphorus, and sediment. These pollutants come from many sources, including sewage treatment plants, city streets, development sites, agricultural operations, and deposition from the air onto the waters of the Chesapeake Bay and the lands of the watershed.

Restoration of the health of the Chesapeake Bay will require a renewed commitment to controlling pollution from all sources as well as protecting and restoring habitat and living resources, conserving lands, and improving management of natural resources, all of which contribute to improved water quality and ecosystem health. The Federal Government should lead this effort. Executive departments and agencies (agencies), working in collaboration, can use their expertise and resources to contribute significantly to improving the health of the Chesapeake Bay.

Progress in restoring the Chesapeake Bay also will depend on the support of State and local governments, the enterprise of the private sector, and the stewardship provided to the Chesapeake Bay by all the people who make this region their home.

Follow the link above in the text, or in the headline for this article, to read or download the entire order. Looks as though The Bay may finally see some progress... which is desperately needed!

John L.