Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Chesapeake Bay blues

On Friday I was bitching (again) on the state of environmental reporting in the Washignton Post. In particular, I was decrying the fact that a story about development-related runoff did not discuss its effect on the Chesapeake Bay. I felt that the paper had missed a great opportunity to inform people on an important issues affecting our region.

Imagine my surprise, therefore, when I opened yesterday's paper and found this article about educating FFA members about agricultural runoff and the Chesapeake Bay. The article discusses a program that brings FFA members together with Bay watermen and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation to learn about Bay-related industries, how farming affects them, and what can be done on farms to reduce runoff.

Judging from the quotes from participants, atleast some younger members of the Virginia farming community are aware of the link between agricultural run-off and eutrophication in the Bay. Moreover, these young folks have also made the connection between suburban development and runoff:
"Meanwhile, the farmers also said they were struggling. They weren't the only ones at fault, they said, pointing to the big cities closer to the bay and their overflowing sewage plants and coal-fired power plants, and their burgeoning suburbs."

What caught my attention, though, was this amazingly Fox-like quote (i.e. "some have said"), in which the writer hints at the fact that while it's easy to educate a limited number of fairly static farmers and farming communities, it's much harder to reach out the constantly changing and growing suburbs and suburbanites:
"Some have said that the farmers and watermen are in a better place to understand the work ahead than the 100,000 new residents who move annually into the watershed."

In any case, it's nice to see that the Post is hiring writers can read my mind and provide me with properly responsive environmental reporting.