We cannot keep growing forever

Thank you for Robert Wieland's "We need to regard environmental assets as financial assets" and Tom Horton's "U.S. must cure its addiction to growth to save environment, economy" commentaries in the January 2009 Bay Journal's Forum.

I am a retired botanist/ecologist living in Georgia where drought and uncontrolled growth have taken and are taking an enormous toll on the state's natural resources. How much better we would all be, nationwide, if the cautions and advice expressed in these columns were implemented in public policy.

The current yearly population growth of the United States is about 1 percent which means, if this rate continues, our population will double in 70 years. As an ecologist, I can emphatically state that we cannot grow forever, and the sooner traditional economists (and the U.S. public) recognize this, the sooner we can begin to craft a new way to value all of our resources.

We also need to change the outdated formulas for GDP so that we have a far more accurate index that is focused on sustainability.

Your journal is obviously dedicated to the protection of the environment, but until we get the economists on board, we will continue to live in a dream world where the public thinks that "annual growth" is the measure of all things. Please run more commentaries such as these.

Thank you from a former Yankee and a now hopeful Georgia Cracker.

Judy Gordon, Ph.D.
Evans, GA.

For wildlife's sake, dispose of fishing gear properly

The osprey-a herald of spring -is back!

In the early 1970s, these fish hawks were nearly wiped out by the pesticide DDT. Fortunately, the birds have made a comeback since the pesticide was banned. Today, they are found on all continents except Antarctica, proudly perching on the sides of their huge nests of jumbled sticks. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the Chesapeake, where the abundance of osprey has led to the Bay being called the "Osprey Garden of the World."

Now, unfortunately, trash poses a threat to the well-being of these magnificent birds. To help osprey and all wildlife avoid the traps of human trash, please remember to properly dispose of and recycle fishing gear and debris by safely stowing or throwing away any unused fishing line, tackle and other trash so that birds and other animals will not become entangled in these materials.

According to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Chesapeake Bay Field Office biologist Pete McGowan, who has been studying the birds for years, the "potential for entanglement is high and often causes injury or death."

Jennifer Keats Curtis
Arnold, MD