Letter about the Monocacy River Plan to elected officials in Frederick and Carroll counties

I sent the following email on Friday, February 15th, to the Frederick County Executive and County Council, and to the County Commissioners of Carroll County.

Monocacy River and Aqueduct

Dear Council Members and Commissioners:

The turf war over the Monocacy River Plan has really gotten me thinking not just about how we can become better mutual stewards of the River, but also about the broader effect that human activities have on the overall health of the planet, and what we can do to improve it.

So I’ve jotted down some thoughts I’d like to share. My hope is that maybe they will broaden people’s perspective on the environment and sustainability, and perhaps kindle a more cooperative spirit of stewardship between our counties. We have serious environmental problems to address and I am very concerned that not enough people are taking them seriously.

Humans do not exist in harmony with the Earth. Unlike any other species that’s inhabited this tiny biosphere, we quite literally consume it on a global industrial scale as a way of life.

We consume the carbon sequestered in oil and coal for energy and to manufacture consumer products, much of which are disposable plastics that we either bury or burn, or which have escaped the landscape and consolidated into giant vortexes of garbage in the oceans that eventually break down into tiny pieces which end up in the fish we eat and the water we drink.

We clear cut and then consume the bare top soil to grow our food to feed an increasing population, manufacture clay into bricks, tile and earthenware, and melt sand into glass that we mostly discard.

We mine the rocks and elements and use them to construct buildings and machinery, produce chemicals, create artificial landscapes, and to wire an increasingly technologically dependent world.

We consume and fragment huge swaths of once forested landscape to make way for infrastructure, recreation, homes and industry; to manufacture paper, lumber, and fuel; and to bury our garbage and even ourselves when we die. The lack of green infrastructure disrupts the natural cycling of air and water on the planet.

We consume and pollute the water to generate power in a variety of ways, to disperse chemicals, to clean ourselves and our possessions using toxins, and to process our waste.

We consume the air to burn the fossil fuels in our cars and power plants and then return it to the atmosphere loaded with toxins and greenhouse gasses.

And in the process of all this Earthly consumption, we have caused the extinction of countless species and have even changed the climate. We’ve left contaminated much of the remaining essential natural resources we need to survive, and critically impaired ecosystems across the globe.

In short, we are mining the planet into permanent disrepair and perhaps to the eventual point of our own extinction.

Something is fundamentally wrong with this picture.

The deleterious effects of our shortsighted over consumption are only just beginning to present themselves in the form of unprecedented natural disasters, disease, drought, and famine. Much of this misery occurs far from our shores here, but it will impact us eventually.

So what do we do?

We need to heed the warnings and advice of scientists with respect to climate change and put faith and action into their proposed solutions. We need to consume less and be conscious of what we consume and how we discard it. We must encourage industry to adopt more eco-friendly practices, and if they refuse, we need to impose regulations based upon sound science and best practices. We have to re-think the way we develop, grow our food, and produce our energy so that our remaining natural resources aren’t further destroyed. We need to restore compromised ecosystems and protect the remaining habitat of all species. Other species can live without us, but not the other way around.

But most importantly, we need to trust one another and work together to preserve and protect the natural beauty and environmental integrity our common home. We have a great opportunity to do so with environmentally sound management of the Monocacy River.

Thank you,

Matt Seubert

monocacy scenic river management plan cover