Moonshots needed on earth
As we celebrate man’s landing on the moon 50 years ago, I am reminded of a conversation I had with a group of people in Paterson, New Jersey in the 1980s. I was with a group from the state’s Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) and something was said that provoked another to question the changes taking place in America, asking, “You think we’re more civilized now?’ The reply: “No, we are not more civilized now, just more technologically advanced.”
Would that we celebrate true accomplishments that improve the community of living creatures on earth, but that is apparently beyond our ability. May we recognize and work for what is truly important, no matter how hard, rather than work mainly for the sensational. I don’t mean to demean the intellectual accomplishment of the moon landing, but we can aspire to accomplish great things here on earth.
It appears it is easier to go to the moon than to feed the hungry, provide health care to all, shelter the homeless, live in harmony with others, etc. We are even running out of water clean enough to drink. We have areas with dangerous air quality, and I don’t even want to think what is in our soil and consequently in our food.
Our scientific accomplishments are vastly out-distancing our accomplishments in constructive social change. We should do better in balancing these two worthy goals.
Right whale editorial adds fuel to political fire
Last week, the BDN Editorial Board wrote about the dangers of politicizing debate surrounding the North Atlantic right whale, which we applaud. However, its endorsement of Gov. Mills’ decision to reject a collaborative framework designed to save these whales from deadly fishing gear entanglements in favor of Maine’s unilateral plan adds fuel to the politicizing fire.
The collaborative conservation framework was developed in April 2019 by a federally-convened stakeholder team of scientists, conservationists, fishing representatives and state fishery agencies. Indeed, the fishing industry holds more seats on the team than the science and conservationists combined. The consensus framework was crafted and received nearly unanimous support at the April meeting — including from the Department of Marine Resources and the Maine Lobstermen’s Association.
Gov. Mills’ decision to pursue state recommendations instead of the consensus framework eschews a science-based, stakeholder-driven process for one that favors private interests over an existential threat to the right whale.
While lobstering is a proud Maine tradition, there is a way to keep the industry thriving while protecting the last surviving 400 right whales. We urge Gov. Mills to keep the politics in Augusta and allow the conservation framework the state itself agreed to come to fruition.
Conservation Law Foundation
Preserving public lands through LWCF
Public lands and outdoor recreation are an essential part of Maine’s culture and a key reason why I love this state so much. Many of these spaces have benefited from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), a federal program that provides funding to public lands and waters. I grew up in Chelsea and some of my favorite places near my house — like Gardiner Waterfront Park, Hallowell Park Landing and Augusta Waterfront Park — are protected because of funding from LWCF. These parks have been central to my enjoyment of the area and are the hub of many community events, including the Greater Gardiner River Festival and Old Hallowell Day.
In addition to the towns close to my house, LWCF benefits areas across Maine, and has supported projects in all 16 counties. Some of my favorite summer spots, like Bar Harbor and Lake St. George, have received funding to improve recreational areas and boat landings.
Public lands make Maine a unique place that differs from any other part of the world. I want to thank the Congressional delegation for their overwhelming support of this program, which continues to benefit Maine.