Letters to the Editor

A different definition of environmentalist | LETTER TO THE EDITOR

To the editor:

Several of those speaking against the Shoreline Master Program at the recent city council meeting stated that everyone in the room was an environmentalist, which came as a surprise to some of us in the audience.

At a gathering of some shoreline property owners on March 9 to plan strategy for this meeting, one of the featured speakers was Scott Roberts of the Freedom Foundation who was asked to coach attendees in preparation for their public comments.

This is what the Freedom Foundation has to say about environmentalists: “Our government does not care about the little guy, and neither do the ‘environmentalists.’ There is no human empathy there, and they will never care about you.”

The Kitsap Tea Party participated in the march on city hall. I ran into several out-of-towners before they joined the march.

The Tea Party website refers to environmentalists as “eco-fascists.”

Maybe these vocal critics of the SMP had in mind the kind of environmentalism that local right-wing commentator (in my opinion) Gary Tripp seems to espouse when he states that all shoreline property owners want to do is live on the shore and enjoy their property.

The environmentalists I know who devote countless hours each month to keeping our shared environment healthy so that shoreline homeowners don’t find their homes destroyed by rising seawater, their beaches polluted by fish kills, and their bluffs compromised by increased storms, know that just “enjoying” the natural world is not an option for them given the state of our environment. They make real sacrifices, do the hard work and, like four of our city council members, know that taking a stand when it is needed, even if unpopular, is the only way the Sound can be saved.

We environmentalists don’t march with the Freedom Foundation or the Tea Party. We realize the dangers of pick-and-choose science and inciting people with misleading information (e.g. intentionally confusing runoff issues with shoreline protection issues) and inflammatory rhetoric (e.g. gross exaggeration of the effects of non-conforming structure designations).

Above all, real environmentalists care deeply about the little guy, shoreline property owners and the environment on which our lives depend.

ERIKA SHRINER

Bainbridge Island

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