Speakout

August 26, 2007

THE ISSUE: -- A citizens commission is expected to recommend that Howard County create an Office of Environmental Sustainability, reporting directly to the county executive, and a permanent advisory board to focus attention on environmental issues. Do you support such a move?

A permanent commission favored

I believe that a permanent Howard County Commission is in the best interest of the people in this county, state and nation. Since Maryland is the No. 3 state that will be affected by sea level rise, and since our Chesapeake Bay is loosing ground partly from warming waters that can not hold as much dissolved oxygen, it is important for us to be serious about climate change. I am proud to be in a state that is taking action.

Susan Lower Clarksville

The writer is an Advanced Placement environmental science teacher at River Hill High School

Wholehearted support voiced

As a resident of Howard County for over 30 years, I wholeheartedly support the recommendation to create an Office of Environmental Sustainability. I am pleased, and actually proud, that we, the citizens of Howard County, have elected officials with the insight and the foresight to do something about global climate while there is still time to make a difference.

Donna Naberhuis Columbia

Environmental leadership cheered

I absolutely support the creation of an Office of Environmental Sustainability in Howard County. By now, the urgency of the need to address the global climate crisis has become abundantly clear to all of us. With the creation of this office, supported unanimously by the Howard county executive's Commission on Environment and Sustainability, the county will have a means to address the many complex environmental issues as a whole, as it should. I, for one, am cheered by the demonstration of environmental leadership at the local level, having watched our national lack of response for far too long.

Betty A. Caldwell Columbia

Planned growth, economic benefit

I strongly support an Office of Environmental Sustainability and a permanent advisory board focusing on environmental issues. And here's why: Between 2000 and 2050 more than 70 percent of the nation's population growth and 80 percent of its economic growth are expected to take place in metropolitan areas, according to a 2004 study by the University of Pennsylvania School of Design. Without a concerted effort to preserve and enhance the quality of life we currently enjoy, then development for development's sake will occur.

Population growth for Howard County is inevitable. But it's about growing in a way that's smart -- not willy-nilly. Plan the growth to benefit all inhabitants, which in the end will be the best economic benefit for Howard County.

Mary Klett Columbia

Focusing attention on ecological issues

I support the recommendation that Howard County create an Office of Environmental Sustainability, reporting directly to the county executive, and a permanent advisory board to focus attention on environmental issues.

This structure is the best for accomplishing the recommendations of the commission given the current operations of Howard County government. In a few short years, these recommendations will be standard practice; counties not adopting them will be falling behind.

Mark Southerland Columbia

The writer is a member of the citizens commission

States and localities need to take the lead

I think it is important that the Howard County government establish the proposed environmental office. With the federal government missing in action, the states and localities need to take the lead in mitigating the effect of global warming. If it is successfully implemented, this office can be a source of information and solutions that will focus the work of county government on best environmental practices and energize individuals and business throughout the county to take action.

Bob Jennings Columbia

Self-interest and compassion intersect

I support that the county create an Office of Environmental Sustainability.

Columbia has been my home since 1973, and I am so grateful that Howard County will likely be taking steps (however small given the magnitude of the problem) to reduce its "carbon footprint" and work for climate-change solutions. It is so heartening that this wealthiest of Maryland counties is acting, since global warming will, no is, affecting the poor of the world first -- in limiting the supply of food, in storms, in loss of land mass (island are disappearing) etc.

It is in the county's self-interest to act now, but it also reflects compassion for all human life on this planet, and for the lives (rich and poor) of future generations.

Howard County citizens need to support this effort, and can begin to get involved through a nongovernmental campaign to enlist county citizens in four weeklong, small-group discussions on climate change. These small groups begin this fall in neighborhoods, civic organizations and faith communities.

Kudos, Howard County. Now show that you really care for vulnerable citizens by supporting affordable housing!

Ruth White Columbia

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