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Letter from the Chair
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by Ron Henry | 2011

Dirty snow, gusty wind, the last gasp of winter ailments, the General Assembly in session . . .yes, it must be March! And the Maryland Chapter and its constituent groups are experiencing all of these, most seriously, the 2011 Maryland General Assembly session. We’re lobbying hard to promote the legislative priorities we identified earlier in the year.

Ron Henry’s Letter from the Chair

 

Hello All,

Dirty snow, gusty wind, the last gasp of winter ailments, the General Assembly in session . . .yes, it must be March! And the Maryland Chapter and its constituent groups are experiencing all of these, most seriously, the 2011 Maryland General Assembly session. We’re lobbying hard to promote the legislative priorities we identified earlier in the year.

You’ll find articles about these priorities in this newsletter. You can also anticipate being called upon by our volunteer members through phone banks, e-mails and website postings, asking that you urge your delegates and senator to support our environmental bills.

Being politically engaged this year is extremely important. The economy is still in a very slow recovery; budget cuts are being made in many areas; and our opposition is adamantly blaring that their business-as-usual approach is the only viable solution during a time of economic stress. But we know that the key to economic recovery does not lie in delaying or rolling back environmental laws and regulations. Pollution is not prosperity! So I implore you to get involved. Let your legislators know that you want them to protect Maryland families by protecting our natural environment. Your voice is important, so please, use it.

I have been troubled for some time, as I’m sure you are, by the false dichotomy between economic and environmental vitality. Playing with the fears of citizens who have seen the value of their assets plummet along with their job prospects, a vocal right wing is loudly insisting that only by turning away from regulation can Americans hope to restore a robust economy and the jobs that it would create. But as we know, it was lack of regulation or inadequate regulation which created our economic as well as our environmental problems. Those who brought down the housing market skirted regulation and privatized the profits from their deals as they spread the liabilities among the rest of us. Similarly, our current industrial model “externalizes” environmental degradation by failing to make industry take responsibility for it. Waste is pumped freely into streams and rivers or up smokestacks into the air, and the cost, in impaired human and environmental health, is borne by all of us. 

We will continue to need the industries of the 20th century as we transition into a greener economy. But we cannot let proponents of the status quo use our current economic woes to persuade us that we must postpone the transition. Nor can we allow them to use “jobs-jobs-jobs” as a cover for continuing to externalize the cost of the byproducts of a fossil-fuel-based economy. We need a resilient economy that meets our human needs without destroying the ecosystems that support our biological lives.

Standing in the way of a national commitment to a healthy and healthful economy is a tiny percentage of our population whose wealth and power drive many of our political decisions. Their few  voices are loud and ubiquitous; their wealth buys them allies at every level of government. To counter them, we must join our many voices, and we must be as committed to change as they are to the status quo. Will you join me in this fight? It will take all of us!

I want to conclude on a happy note: our 2010 End-of-Year major donor fundraiser was very successful! Thanks to all donors who were able to contribute to this success. It is most appreciated.

Our primary fundraising effort for the year—our March campaign—is beginning as I write this letter. In the letter you receive from the Chapter we’ll be highlighting the programs we’re conducting to make our environment healthier for all of us. I hope you’ll agree that the programs are worthy of your support, and that you’ll give as generously as you can. We are fighting against the well-heeled advocates of private profits and public liabilities, but we can make our voices heard. Please contribute what you can. Thanks in advance for your consideration and support!

  

Until next time . . .

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