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A Chesapeake Bay Economy

As I struggle to get a market-based grant application out the door by COB on Friday, it seems necessary to review the latest information on the Chesapeake—the television programs, columns, and reports. It’s well, just incredible work. There is though a worldview that I belive is at the least, understated, and at most, missing, from maintstream reporting on the Bay.  It goes something like this—to really get where we need to go, to a return to the water quality and living resources of a half-century ago, we must create a “Bay Economy”.

All the science is essential. All the government programs are too. So too is the non-governmental advocacy. Unfortunately, these are not enough, without a total reconception of the Bay’s economy within the watershed. It seems to me we have to switch from thinking of ourselves “in the Bay” (although that is true), to seeing ourselves “of the Bay”. Being of a place implies a fundamentally deeper connection that just living in it.

As our economy has come to be the sine qua non of current U.S. culture, we need to create a Chesapeake Bay economy. I believe it is possible to do this, but not by our continued path of eating our seed corn. A bona-fide Chesapeake Bay economy would be specially characterized with appropriate economic models and indicators to grow environmental capital in the long-run eventally leading to greater resource flow, a sustainable portion of which would be available for human consumption—the work that Conserv was created to help move along.

Thanks to Treehugger for the Bay image.

- Michael Collins


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