As the days get longer, the marsh begins to awaken from its winter slumber. I pause at the dawn of this spring to wonder how things have changed since the fall. It seems that wherever you look, there is change. The election of a new president certainly appears to be a sign of change and our country is very vocal about what those changes mean. In many ways, I am not sure how much people’s feelings have changed or if as a country, people have found their voices once again.
People ask me what does this new administration in Washington mean for the environment and for our natural resources. Should we be alarmed? I think the answer is it depends. It depends on all of us and how loud our voices are. Conservation need not be onerous to our communities and economies. But it also can’t be political. If we demand that science underpin policy and demand that the common good matters, and we raise our voice for common sense conservation – things may just be ok.
That said, if the pendulum is allowed to swing too far to the right and environmental protections are gutted, we stand to lose precious resources that we can never regain. Apathy is the biggest enemy of the environment and preservation of our natural resources. We must protect natural resources repeatedly and constantly, yet we only need to lose them once – and they are gone forever.
So as we enter into a great debate about the environment and its value, we must collectively demand that science be at the forefront of decisions and we must think for the long term, for our children and grandchildren, and not gamble with the preservation and health of our natural resources.
The Wetlands Institute will stay the course, focus on our mission and be the voice of the plants and animals of these coastal ecosystems. We will continue to work to understand the best ways to protect and preserve these resources. We will continue to train tomorrow’s environmental stewards and scientists. We will continue to help people understand the benefit and value of these resources. Healthy environments are at the root of healthy communities and healthy people.