why it matters

Community Forum on Marsh Buffers & Clean WatersOur Georgia Legislature is piddling with a piece of legislation (SB 101) they’re promoting as an effort to protect the coastal marshes from pollution and predatory humans. But, what this passel of pee words means to suggest is “Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining.”

Oh, one could be charitable and accept the promoters just don’t know what the word “buffer” means. Why else would they announce up front their purpose “to provide for a buffer against coastal marshlands in which certain land-disturbing activities are prohibited”? It makes sense, if it’s just another example of man ranting against the rising tides marching across the marshes to take a bite out of his lands.

That the low and high marshes provide shelter from buffeting winds and wave action has not registered, obvious as it may seem. Perhaps, that the marshes nurture the nascent creatures of the seas — creatures man has, from the beginning, liked to eat — simply doesn’t register either, because they are just too small to be seen.

Whatever the reason, it’s why James Holland, Altamaha Riverkeeper Emeritus and all around guru of our coastal wet and wild lands, is going to do a show and tell about the benefits and beauties of the Marshes of Glynn and, for that matter, the whole hundred miles of the Georgia Coast, featuring his famed photographs, at the Ballard Community Center in Brunswick on March 4th.

And, because such events need to be sponsored and the environment can never have too many friends, we’re organizing a new group, the Sidney Lanier Environmental Advocacy Team or S.L.E.A.T.– sporting the unofficial slogan “Making sure our environment is good to eat.”

If what SLEAT stands for is too hard to remember, just think “So let’s eat!” It’s what Jesus, the fisherman, would have said.

Editor’s Note: This story also published at Hannah’s Blog. Feature image: The Willet by Evangelio Gonzalez via flickr and used a Creative Commons license.

Monica Smith

Monica Smith writes Hannah's Blog. Born in Germany, she came to the United States as a child, living first in California, then after an interval in Chile, in New York. Married to a retired professor at the University of Florida, where she lived for 17 years, she moved to St. Simons Island, Georgia, in 1993 and now divides her time between Georgia and New Hampshire. (New Hampshire, she says, is always interesting during a presidential election.) She and her husband have three children and five grandchildren. Ms. Smith says she "learned long ago that I am not a good team player when I got hired at the Library of Congress, fresh out of college with a degree in political science and proficiency in four foreign languages, to 'edit' library cards and informed my supervisor that if she was going to insist I punch the clock exactly on time, my productivity was going to fall from being the highest to being the same as everyone else's. The supervisor opted to assign me to another building where there was no time-clock. After I had the first of our three children, I decided a paycheck wasn't worth the hassle."