To the Editor:
In recent months it seems we Islanders have been presented with a series of environmentally sensitive proposals: solar panels for Cronig’s, windfarms, and most recently the restoration of the Mill Pond in West Tisbury.
Each of these weighs in on issues of Island sustainability, a word whose meaning has accelerated in a few short years from a fashionable buzzword to a moral imperative, and finally, to a matter of survival. A sustainable place is one from which the amount taken away and given back is in balance. It is self-maintaining and self-perpetuating, able to survive and thrive.
The concept exists in concentric, ever expanding circles. As individuals and families, we try to be self-supporting, not to spend more than we earn. As an Island, we try to live local and recycle. As a country, we search for ways to lower our carbon footprint and our dependence on oil. We are not sustainable as a planet if our natural resources are depleted beyond their ability to recover. This is our last defense. Sustainable streams have a part to play.
It starts small. We are a small Island. We have a chance to do it right, and so far we have made some good choices. Prudy Burt has presented us with a wonderful, timely opportunity.
There is more at stake in this proposal to restore the stream than simply bringing back the trout or saving the money needed to dredge the Mill Pond. It is a proposal which focuses on the future of our stream network, and by extension, the health and connectivity of our streams, springs and aquifer, the freshwater sources of Island life. Our livelihood, our plants, birds, and animals depend on the quality of our streams. As a landscape architect, I have witnessed successful stream restorations and know that the money for these projects exists. Water quality, endangered species, and wetland preservation are important parts of our national agenda.
We speak proudly of the beauty of our Island. True beauty has integrity, or wholeness. Like character, it is more than skin deep, and like good health, it radiates from within. It is important to remain forward thinking in our outlook and to view our streams in context, as part of a life-supporting and sustainable system.
Our Island streams are living waters, a web of connectivity knit together and supporting habitats vital to the survival of the flora and fauna that provide us with so much pleasure and beauty. For this alone they deserve our care and concern.
When confronted with a choice, I try to choose that which is positive and life-affirming. I would love to see a trout-filled stream at the base of my hill, bubbling with life as it winds its way to the sea, just as it did so many years ago – and to know that, as part of a dynamic, balanced system, it will continue to do so for years to come.
In a time when so many decisions seem ponderous, costly, and grave, this one sparkles with new life and excitement and best of all — possibility. Thank you, Prudy, for your efforts and initiative.