Up to 60% of the human body is water. The world is comprised of 71% water. Simply put— we are beings made of water living on a planet made of water.
If you follow the waters on the globe from the bottom, the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean, and the Pacific Oceans are all connected, and the Atlantic flows to the Arctic Ocean, which connects to the Pacific in that small passage from Alaska to Russia – The Bering Strait. Nothing on this planet is not connected, water is just more obvious. The idea that pollution in one body of water is separate from another, one more pristine, perhaps, is blindingly short-sighted. We need to remedy this notion that we are separate from other places, and other lands, and other water. We are interrelated, and everything we do on land, or in water, affects everyone else on the planet.
What’s concerning to me here is the lack of foresight evinced by negating these facts – or seeing them as less important for the greater area that one waterway in the Northeast is – by virtue of it being one’s home waters as the Great South Bay is to Long Island – more of a concern to us because it fundamentally is the backyard of the entire South Shore, than other neighboring waterways.
One has, of course, more impact on the locals, but to only see that as your ‘turf’ and worthy of your time, talent, and treasure – is a surefire path to failing at the protection it desires.
As a seminal founder of waterway protection organizations such as SaveTheGreatSouthBay.org, and SaveRaritanBay.org, I recognize that while organizations that utilize titles of home waters help get more local attention, those home waters flow to other’s home waters. Whatever you do with one, affects the other.
There is no reason to change these organization’s names, but connectivity is key here. Acknowledging that one feeds the other and affects the other – leads to cooperative efforts that will double efficacy of any and all funds, remediation efforts, and general shared waterway good will. As I have mentioned before, the Great South Bay, Raritan Bay, New York Harbor, and a myriad of estuaries, creeks and the Hudson River – are all related.
It is not coincidental that the waters around the New York and New Jersey areas support the densest population in America. If you have ever seen the dance spectacular Riverdance, you know the first line there we all know – water is life, and life centered around it. Before we knew what it was to experience the ecological nightmare that the industrial revolution wrought upon the land and sea, before we had (of necessity) coined the word ‘ecology,’ and before the waters we depend upon were so greatly at risk – we lived our lives thinking once we put something in the sea – it was gone. A Davy Jones’ Locker of garbage. Now that what we have done is affecting the future of the waters here as it is everywhere, we must take action to bring the water back to life. Back to health. The better condition the waters have, the better conditions we have – we are completely dependent on the water.
All life in the Northeast is connected – from the smallest of streams to the Atlantic Ocean, and that, friends, flows to all the rest of the world’s waters.
I grew up on The Great South Bay, it was my hometown’s water. Streams, rivers, canals all fed to the bay. Billy Joel, another native Long Islander, wrote eloquently about our waters. Our local high schools all had names that were from the land and water, Hampton Bays teams are the Baymen. As a child we could footclam, clam, oysters, mussle, bluefish, crab, lobster trap, and just enjoy the bounty of the sea.
Where I live right now in NJ, I fish the Raritan Bay and Fire Island Inlet area one hundred fifty plus days a year, all seasons. This is what gave us our beauty. Our identity. Our environmental education, our recreation, and finally – our pride. We were people of the water, and we didn’t do right by it. We can remedy that now. YOU can remedy that, and now.
We need to know – we did this. We are all culpable, and we share that. Good news! We can all help the waters now – and share in its renewal. We can share in the ecological efforts of all our waters, and failure to do so is a failure to protect life. Water seeks its own level. It’s time for us to level up and protect what gives us life. Before it’s too late. Fish on! Living The Dream on the Great South Bay and Beyond!