The concerns of the Sun’s editorial board are timely and well-articulated. We know intimately from our work across the Shore that issues of saltwater intrusion, erosion and increased flooding are widespread and increasing at an unprecedented rate. The authors wisely point to “[w]orsening health, rising food costs, heat waves and wildfires, [and] scarcity of clean drinking water” as emergencies the region will grapple with as climate change further alters our landscape.
What does this have to do with land conservation? The answer is right under our feet.
By protecting land, encouraging smart development and increasing individuals’ access to natural areas we can make a difference in saving the Eastern Shore from a more significant loss of natural and community resources. Assuring the economic viability of farming and resource-based industries is essential for long-term retention of land and food security. Similarly, protecting the environmental integrity of the region is vital to our health, our quality of life and a balanced sustainable economy for our region.
To protect the Eastern Shore against the loss of land and species, against the physical and social impacts of climate change, Eastern Shore Land Conservancy is launching a new initiative called Delmarva Oasis. This initiative will bind the conservation goals of the Eastern Shore to those of surrounding regions in Maryland, Delaware and Virginia. Our vision is a whole peninsula that supports thriving rural economies and strong prosperous towns in the face of coming challenges.
To introduce the public to Delmarva Oasis and address issues of climate resilience, Eastern Shore Land Conservancy is hosting a four-part virtual workshop series called Solutions for a Changing Delmarva. These workshops will focus on the positive aspects of current climate policy and projects rather than dwelling on the consequences of inaction. As an overarching theme and backdrop for the workshop series, the Conservancy will highlight its Delmarva Oasis initiative which seeks to permanently protect 50% of the peninsula from development. With these workshops, we hope to excite Delmarva residents to be part of the solution while providing in-depth information on natural protection against climate impacts. For more information on these workshops and event registration, visit www.eslc.org/events/.
Only by taking collective action can we protect the land we love against a changing environment. Together we can avoid becoming another Shechem and create a bright future for the Eastern Shore and the Delmarva Peninsula.
Jim Bass, Easton
The writer is coastal resilience program manager at the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy.