Thursday, October 06, 2005

Personal Responsibility and the Bay

Some folks are moved to protect the Bay because they see the Bay as an end in itself. They believe the Bay and the organisms that inhabit it have their own majesty and deserve the ability to make their way in this world as each one of us does. It would be worth saving even if we were not here.

Others choose to help restore the Bay because of the good that it provides to humans. The Bay's "resources" provide a livelihood for watermen, and sustenance for those of us who partake of its bounty. Its grasses and inhabitants clean the water of pollutants, and the Bay itself is a playground for many area residents. Of course, for many, their motivation is some combination of the two.

Some others, perhaps, don't care much about the Bay one way or another. They argue, that since they don't use the Bay for boating or swimming, or eat crabs and oysters from the Bay, they have no particular obligation to protect, restore, or otherwise "save" the Bay. For these individuals, let me take a page out of the "personal responsibility" playbook.

In this day and age, it's almost impossible to get through a political diatribe without some mention of "personal responsibility". The gist being, "our followers have it, yours don't." Never mind the fact that everyone I've ever discussed the subject with professes to have it. The fact is, we all like to think we are "personally responsible". My hope is, we all are. Part of personal responsibility is limiting the harm that we do to others, and to property which is not ours, to zero. Each and every one of us who owns a home in the Bay watershed, and who allows stormwater to leave our property, and flow onto the property of another, or into community property, is currently harming either our neighbors' property, or the property that we hold in common.

The Stormwater Restoration Fund, that has been mentioned here a number of times is, in essence, an effort to get us to take a share of personal responsibility for the damage we have done by adding impervious surface to the land. Please contact your County Council person and tell them that you would like to see County residents start taking personal responsibility for their property by introducing and passing the stormwater restoration fund.

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