Monday, January 14, 2019

Can Capitalism Save the Bay?

I felt like I needed a Chesapeake Bay post, and pickens was slim.  William Mitchell: Chesapeake Bay cleanup must turn to a business model to get beyond C-
It is easier to treat the symptoms of the bay pollution problem than it is to convince the majority of people to take on their share of the responsibility and do preventative care at home. Cognitive dissonance is the perception that the bay issue is being adequately dealt with by others and does not require any additional effort from the individual. “I know bay pollution is a problem but all the bay cleanup groups are taking care of the problem. Nothing more is required of me.”

Similarly, apathy is the attitude, by some, that cleaning the bay is not a problem they should be concerned about. It is either a problem for the next generation to solve or there is really no problem at all and it is just more “fake news.”

Or, “The problem is too big and anything I do will not make any difference so why should I do anything? Also, “I'm too busy and don't have time for that.”

Inertia is the third reason people do not do their part to clean the bay. “If getting a rain barrel or refraining from using pesticides and herbicides is so important why doesn't everyone do it?” Or, “I've always done things my way and I don't see any reason to change.”

These beliefs are common justifications we use to avoid taking action. Figuring out ways to address these social issues are fraught with difficulty and resistance. It is easier to treat the symptoms of the problem, with technology and engineering, than it is to change peoples attitudes and behavior.

The problem is, unless there is fundamental behavior change, at every home and business, all the investment and effort will continue to fall flat. Many millions of dollars have been spent to solve the problems with the ecology of the bay and the results have been mediocre at best.

To move to the next level, the bay cleanup and restoration movement must go beyond the current “do-gooder” approach. The current effort is not sustainable as long as it relies on government handouts and the donations of a few sincere individuals.

A bay cleanup business, that is promoted and supported by the entire “Save the Bay” community, will create a sustainable income while engaging and unifying the majority to do their part.

A business model is preferable to the current model because it does not depend on limited government resources and the goodwill of a few dedicated citizens. The high tech engineered approach does not address the social issue that is at the heart of the problem.

Bay cleanup services need to be like a utility that everyone pays for. Home services, that provide value while achieving the purpose of repairing and restoring natural bay ecology, is the way to go.

Rain barrel installation and servicing, low carbon footprint landscaping and green space management are only three of many services that, when employed in great numbers, will take the bay restoration program to the next level.
I don't see the market for rain barrels (we have one) and paid landscaping as big enough to make a significant dent on the Bay's issues. I don't really understand where he's going with all this.

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