Letters to the Editor

Renewal of Puget Sound should be our No. 1 goal | Letters | Oct. 14

Oh my gosh. It’s depressing, isn’t it, the relentless drumbeat of alarm-driven letters to the editor and guest editorials from some of Bainbridge Island’s shoreline property homeowners? We certainly are getting their message, loud and clear: Be afraid!

The writers are afraid that possible updates to the Bainbridge Island Shoreline Master Program could restrict what they can and cannot do with their property, especially regarding building/rebuilding/expanding/bulkheads/docks/etc.

And, the writers want the rest of us to be afraid too. They warn us that we could be next on this restriction hit-list, and they are threatening to sue the city if these restrictions are enacted.

Fear is so creativity-crushing, so soul-sapping… But, thank goodness, these writers still show signs of hope. Almost all of them remind us that they are, in fact, environmentalists.

Therefore, it’s heartening to assume, for example, that they are careful with the chemicals they might use on their lawns or in their gardens, and that they don’t dispose of yard waste on tide-flats; they know how environmentally toxic run-off and dumping can be. We can trust they make adjustments in their behavior because of this concern. This is good.

So, in the spirit of hope, I’d like to suggest we can all move forward along the path of altering our behavior for the sake of environmental health. We can debate the science forever, but why do so? Why not err on the side of caution? We stand a much better chance that way, don’t you think, of ensuring a thriving environment in the years ahead.

And I’d like to suggest, further, that erring on the side of caution may, actually, help us turn away from fear and turn toward joy. Instead of bemoaning what we might lose by not being able to build/rebuild this or that, we can instead imagine and experience the joy of our children and grandchildren as they appreciate and are grateful for a healthier and renewing Puget Sound. Instead of looking at sacrifice primarily as a potential financial loss, we can look at sacrifice (“making sacred”) as an affirmation of health for the whole of our community/environment.

Let’s act with hope!

Jennifer Merrill

Bainbridge Island

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