Sunday, November 12, 2017
Hello? Puget Sound Partnership?
Guest blog by Pete Haase
Hello? Puget Sound Partnership? Do you suppose you could take a little break from meetings and planning and strategizing and round up some ammunition to send my way?
I am a volunteer, a “Salish Sea Steward.” I’m just one of probably thousands like me, all over the greater Puget Sound region, on the very front lines of the daily battle for the protection and betterment of our special environment. During our “work” we collectively see and visit with hundreds of regular folks, every day, and do our best to help them learn to “do the right things.” They always want to know more about what those “right things” are and they always thank us for the efforts we put forth. But we rarely have satisfying or proper answers.
It would be a big help if we had some crib notes or cheat sheets or little reminder cards that explain the “right things” in a few words and catchy graphics.
Instead, right now, we are needing to attend talks, read long documents, articles and papers, or try to find someone to enlighten us. That takes a lot of time and some of the material is awfully complicated. It is too much to ask of volunteers. I know my brain is already too full. I wind up “winging it” quite a bit! So, for me, it needs to be concise, attractive, and stick to the big “Vital Signs – Targets.” Tell us what we “citizens” need to do to help get to those targets.
I know it is not easy to create these material. Everything is complex and interwoven and you do find out new things all the time. Many of the actions the common citizen can take mean advocating for policy and regulation changes and better enforcement of existing regulations – not just rethinking their own behavior. Sometimes the whole solution is not yet known. Most things are very costly. Besides that there is this terrible need to overload every piece of literature with more pictures and more words.
But you did not sign up for the easy work, and some few examples could be done for us to try out and critique. Possibly the work can be farmed out to regional groups so that the local perspective comes through but with you assuring that the style, the message, and the prescription is consistent everywhere. Certainly key things for citizens to get active about in King County are not the same in San Juan County.
It is well recognized that the “general public” around the Salish Sea must become much more educated, excited about, and engaged with the betterment of it. Here is one of many possible ways. Give it a try. Guys like me will do our best to make it work. These things could become collector’s items!!!
(Pete Haase is an environmental volunteer in Skagit County doing citizen science with others in the hope that it will make a difference.)