Big stir over simple request


Are we talking about farm plans here or people’s diaries? You’d think WEAN asked to peek in people’s bedrooms. The stir that has arisen over WEAN’s simple request to look at what people are doing to implement the much touted best management practices (BMPs) to protect our environment, should be met with appreciation not paranoia.

To assert that WEAN’s goal is to shut down farms is absurd. WEAN’s mission is to protect biodiversity and create a platform for a sustainable society. Don’t confuse legal, conscientious data gathering with the illegal efforts to spy on citizens we see happening nationally.

Recently my mug defaced the Christmas edition of the Whidbey News-Times. It was an honor to increase the profile of the Audubon Society’s annual Christmas Count though as I looked over Penn Cove I found it hard to smile. As I scanned the smattering of waterfowl there, I thought of the hundreds that used to be there. I reflected on: the dramatic decline in sea ducks, rock fish and salmon; losses of eel grass beds; toxic contamination of our endangered orcas and the 3,000 acres of contaminated beaches that has occurred in the last 20 years. I thought of our diminishing water quality due to non-point run off (fertilizers, feces and motor oil), failing septic systems, and the costs of all of this for all of us. I thought of the 14 beaches in Island County closed due to fecal contamination; the obstinateness of the county commissioners in their fight against resource protection and land use planning, and of the “farmers” testifying at recent hearings unwilling to appreciate that the “critical” in Critical Areas Ordinance means “indispensable.” Do the math. Salmon, scoters, song birds, and salamanders are increasingly scarce, while the number of horses, cows, cats and people grows.

“It is time to understand “the environment “ for what it is: The national security issue of the 21st century.” (CIA report, White: 1996). Yet, we go blithely forward, our heads in the sand, while irreversible changes are occurring in our life sustaining planet, believing that 19th century strategies will provide solutions to 21st century problems.

Don’t shoot the messenger. Come on, be a conservative.

Coupeville resident Gary Piazzon is president of the Whidbey Environmental Action Network.

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