To the Editor:
The purpose of this letter is to show my appreciation for the protection of open spaces, the maintenance of wildlife habitats, and the beautiful setting that has been established on our small Island. Furthermore, I would like to remind my fellow Island inhabitants that we are luckier than most to be provided with such a protected natural landscape.
Growing up on Martha’s Vineyard, I was fortunate enough to experience the benefits of protected public lands. The Land Bank, the Vineyard Conservation Society, Felix Neck Wildlife Trust, Polly Hill Arboretum, the Sheriffs Meadow Foundation, and The FARM Institute. These are just a few of the many organizations dedicated to protecting the Vineyard’s open spaces.
In so many parts of the world, this type of public and political interest in protecting open land simply does not exist. As part of a writing seminar at Green Mountain College, I have researched the land security issues in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the problem of overpopulation has led to land shortages. For centuries, the inhabitants of this region made a living and supplied food for themselves through farming. However, they currently face severe land shortages and major conflicts over land rights. Without governmental or public forces implementing regulations on land use and protection, the people are left without access to personal or public property.
Following my research of this region, I began to understand that parts of the world are experiencing land shortages of all kinds. Not only do people lack public land for recreational use, in many cases people do not even have access to land for personal farming or the agricultural businesses necessary for survival. With this in mind I began to ponder the reason behind my ignorance of this all too common problem. I have discovered that throughout my childhood, never being exposed to such conditions allowed me to live in a peaceful world of fun outdoor adventures exploring the open spaces of Martha’s Vineyard. The land-conscious people of our small Island community have provided a wonderful, protected environment for the benefit of all living beings.
With that said, I would like to thank all those that have helped to keep this small piece of the planet so naturally intact, and kindly remind all those that have lost track of this concept to look around and please appreciate what has been done.