Too often, environmental discussions turn into polarizing battles. You’re either 100% in one camp, or 100% in another. This turns the middle ground into a no-man’s land. We fail to grasp, in situations like these, that we’ve created a false dichotomy. When we engage in these crusades—we remember how well those went—we aren’t fighting some great evil, we’re fighting our friends, acquaintances, and future generations. We are directly sabotaging our ability to protect and enjoy a common resource. When we believe the myth that compromise means compromising our values, it really isn’t “us” versus “them,” it’s us versus ourselves.
So, let’s stop wasting our time slinging mud at each other. Let’s reclaim no-man’s land and meet in the middle to solve a problem that is better solved with all hands on deck—pollution resulting from stormwater runoff. We all care about the quality of our water, so let’s protect it.
At the Howard County Office of Environmental Sustainability, we would like to work as a conduit for the good of the entire county. This is why we have programs to deduct percentages from the annual Watershed Protection Fee if you’re already doing your part to help manage water quality. We understand that some of you would like to do your part, but aren’t made of money. That’s why we have reimbursement programs. So, please avail yourselves of these resources and join us in the middle. All we ask is that you open your mind and put down your mud.Rachel Beebe February 2014