We are living on a planet with 7 billion people and we will add a billion more every 13 years. We have exhibited a culture of irresponsibility, overconsumption and wasteful use of natural resources. We are experiencing severe financial and ecological difficulties. Globally and locally, an environmental crisis is upon us. To assist the economy we have had bailouts by the government- but Mother Nature does not do bailouts. There are tipping points-turning points- points of no return. Get the point?
There are also lag effects to our actions. Meaning what we do today may not be apparent for years, and what we have done in the past is now, or will become apparent in the near future. We know our actions are harmful and to not act is irresponsible, immoral and quite frankly, insane. We must act now while we have the chance to do so in a reasonable and orderly way-preventative medicine so to speak. In addition, we should seriously look to the Precautionary Principal. (If you have never heard of it, follow this link.)
We must learn to live and interact with nature and each other in a healthy and creative way. We must look and step “out of the box”. Our shared responsibility to the future requires collaborative efforts with full transparency while being mindful of the long-term effects on and health of the environment. Our actions will affect future generations-our reactions should reflect this. We must protect the environment rather than degrade it.
OK get ready- here comes the S word (No, it is not the "S word" that means poop, even though that is the topic of this blog). Sustainability allows the future to enjoy similar benefits of the Earth’s natural resources that we enjoy today. Sustainability is the end and the means- it is a set of principles and values. In order to achieve sustainability, we must leave the short term mind set behind-as it has brought on numerous problems such as the situation we are facing concerning the scavenger waste treatment plant.
What is the right thing to do? What do we do with human waste? Do we adopt laws and regulations which will tell us what to do? Do we look within and allow our values to tell us what we should do? Do you value water? Can we place a value on water? If we, as a community truly value water, would we know what to do? We have had the same water on this planet since its creation four and a half billion years ago. The same water cycles over and over- forever. That is all we have and this is all we get. We cannot afford to make a mistake.
We will be losers or heroes. Which will it be? It is our choice (or is it? hmmmmm). I hope, for East Hampton's future, to be heroes. I do not think there is a middle ground when it comes to water. Do we like partially contaminated water? I think not. However, our water supply is already contaminated with pesticides, nutrients, volatile organic compounds, flame-retardants, pharmaceuticals, petroleum products, and numerous other nasty contaminants. Maybe it is fully contaminated and we shouldn’t even care.
This is insane. Are we going to be heroes and try to get ourselves out of this mess or be losers …looking only to the short term– to the least amount of money we can possibly spend today-without looking out for the future? This crisis can be the door to an opportunity. What we have now is an opportunity. In the face of an ecological and health crisis, we have the opportunity to do the right thing.
Out leaders must rise up and take the challenge before them. They are able-they have the competencies. How do I know? I know because there are many who would like to help them! We can work in collaboration with innovation and out of the box thinking to solve this problem rather than pass it on to the future. (Then we would be losers-bla!) The decisions we make today will determine the future of the water and of this community. This community of diversity has a strong common bond –we, along with all living things in the natural world, share the need for clean water -we all need this to survive.
PS-I have recently learned that the kangaroo rat never drinks water. There may be others...........