Letter: Local Governments and the Environment

Liz Marshall writes about her concerns of our local governments and their environmental actions

Liz Marshall writes about her concerns of our local governments and their environmental actions

• Topics: Bellingham, Environment,

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.

Dr. Seuss

These thoughts came to mind after (1) reading Karen Steen's April 28th comment (which I believe and agree with) and (2) upon yesterday's application of Roundup where I live (a Housing Authority project) and a baby cottontail going into seizure:

Inspired by the trees at the City Hall site, what I had read over the years about Mitch Friedman saving forests, and other characteristics of Bellingham, I moved to an apartment in Bellingham because there was a vacancy. I attended Waterfront Futures meetings and related activities with enthusiasm. After about four years of observing the cronyism, nepotism and fruitlessness of citizens' input, and after Hurricane Katrina happened in 2005, I volunteered by blogging for animal rescue nationwide. The muck of physical disasters proved more realistic to try to overcome than political ones. I volunteered in pet rescue networking for 13 years without following local politics much. Then observing routine actions by the Kelly Linville administration and the Port of Bellingham I did not get the impression that Bellingham had progressed in the interim. I thought the election of Seth Fleetwood would be a game changer. Now I don’t see hearty efforts at green construction - just overly dense construction and greenwashing, pollution of the environment, and altars to past industries instead of to the planet.

  Bellingham is located within the Nooksack Basin or Watershed Resource Inventory Area 1 (WRIA1). See  https://salmonwria1.org/. I have volunteered for WRIA1 projects as well as for  the Skagit River system and other watersheds, for example WRIA9, the Green River and Duwamish. Both as an individual volunteer and as a member of groups, I have planted trees, mentored, organized events, published, picked up litter and advocated in other ways. In those other watersheds, Mayors and County Executives as well as government staff, NGOs and businesses were dependably responsive when I communicated with them.

Considering that the climate is croaking, the future of the waterfront and its natural inhabitants looks dimmer than it should be despite cries from citizens who volunteer and speak up. Even with large investment coming from the Federal and other governmental agencies, I agree with those who say there needs to be bigger, braver, more genuine effort at the local level to effect necessary change and respect for the ecology systems that sustain humans as they have sustained the planet’s other residents for much longer. 

Liz Marshall, Downtown Bellingham

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