Based on the re-emergence of the Eastport Shopping Center project and my observations on the progress of the Annapolis Yacht Club and 110 Compromise Street projects along with the negative impacts they will have on the “feel” and actual functioning of our community, I am reminded of a brief discussion held at a Ward 8 Town Meeting about a year ago.
The discussion was centered on the concept of Limits on Growth. It is interesting to note that since the concept was raised in the Ward 8 public meeting it seems to have disappeared from public discourse.
As long as we view project proposals one at a time, Annapolis will lose sight of the cumulative impact of the net effect of that project/building. Each project is a tactical decision proposed to satisfy some narrow need, usually the opportunistic need of a developer or some self -interest of a select few.
We need to bring the Limits on Growth discussion back into a full and open community-wide discussion. I am not suggesting that all growth should be stopped and limited forever. I am proposing a rational strategic process that requires our planners and local government to be armed with facts before they make development decisions.
Every new project has second and third order impacts on increasing community-wide and natural resources. These resources include but are not limited to: open-space, road networks, public safety support and response capabilities, water/sewer capacity, overall environment and quality of life.
Even though several big project have slipped through the short-comings in our current planning and zoning process, it is not too late to redefine the process. If our elected representatives don’t stand up for the interests of the community beyond the next election cycle, then we have to put them on notice that our horizons extend beyond that.
Strategic thinking supported by facts will be a powerful tool to provide informed decision-making for the future use of community resources for our full community not just the narrow interest of a few.
Last year, the Maryland legislature passed the Healthy Soil Act inspired by the need to counter global warming. The bill specifically addressed the need to sequester carbon in the soil as well as to produce healthy soil and food.
The key to sequestering carbon in soil is providing favorable conditions for the beneficial microorganisms responsible for converting plant sugars secreted by the plant roots into humus, which, if left undisturbed, permanently fixes carbon in the soil. Soil practices favoring carbon sequestration include organic and no-till farming, rotational grazing on grassland, and growing deep-rooted crops like industrial hemp.
One practice that hinders the development of healthy soils is the use of Roundup as a weed killer, used extensively worldwide with Monsanto Roundup -Ready GMO crops, such as soybeans and corn. Roundup contains the herbicide Glyphosate, which kills the beneficial microorganisms that fix carbon in soil. Glyphosate also ties up essential minerals in the soil and plants and even in people as it spreads into our environment.
To create healthy soil, the use of Roundup must be phased out or its impact neutralized by adding essential minerals to the soil. Because of the large amount of GMO soybeans and corn grown in Maryland, many farmers would be affected by these measures, leading to the ultimate banning of Roundup, already banned in many communities and countries. Therefore, these farmers would have to be assisted in converting to more healthy soil practices, which would make their farms more profitable.
The Climate Stewards of Greater Annapolis is sponsoring a meeting on from 2 to 4 p.m. Nov. 17 at the Annapolis Friends Meeting House at 356 Dubois Road to discuss overcoming the damage of Roundup to create Healthy Soils. Michael Locklear, independent researcher and consultant with 30 years experience in organic farming and soil and Alexis Baden-Mayer, political director of the Organic Consumers Association will be our featured speakers.