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The single most important thing people can do to save the bay

Chesapeake Bay Foundation Executive Director Alison Prost mentioedn some good ideas in her recent op-ed, but what's more important is what she didn't say ("New pollution regulations aren't enough for the Chesapeake Bay," July 15).

She didn't mention, for example, that the bay's poor condition is partly due to the timid recommendations the foundation has been issuing for 45 years, like buying local meat and planting bay-friendly landscapes, which produce only cosmetic reductions in pollutants.

The CBF website rightly criticizes the huge lobbying expenditures of the National Pork Producers Council and the National Chicken Council, but then features a recipe for a sausage dinner.

Ms. Prost could have said that each of us can help cut the meat industry's lobbying power by not buying pork and chicken. She didn't mention that our collective obsession with eating animal protein is the single largest factor in the bay's poor health.

In this region, the largest meat industries are chicken and pork, and whether they are "local" or factory-farmed doesn't matter much. In fact, Maryland chicken producers generate one million tons of untreated manure each year, and the bay doesn't much care if the manure is generated by a factory farm or by the "local" chicken farm in Baltimore County.

We can wait no longer. Based on past history, the bay will degrade even further while CBF re-arranges the deck chairs on our sinking ship and politics corrupts any noble efforts.

The single most important thing anyone can do for the bay doesn't require waiting for new regulations, new policy or new enforcement. Just stop eating pork and chicken, now.

Mark Rifkin, Baltimore

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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