Most people want Vermont’s treasured lakes to look clean, to be of such quality that we can safely swim in them, enjoy an early evening kayak ride, or find fish that are healthy to eat. Our spirits are fed when we spend time near or on a body of clean water, watching wildlife or play of cloud, sun and reflections on the water. We remember that our bodies contain almost 80 percent water, that we share that water with other life, that we cannot live without water. Thousands in Vermont, New York and Quebec depend on Lake Champlain for household and drinking water. The water binds us together as a large community with other life, and can be considered a “commons,” a gift that no one can possess.
We know that what we do on land affects the water. That has been demonstrated time and again. Unless we act preventively, pollutants from many human activities enter the water. Wouldn’t property values be degraded by lake water polluted by human activity? Conversely, can’t property values be enhanced when communities take preventive action to protect the precious gift of water needed by all, including future generations?
Could our tendencies to persistent individualism, seeing possession as security and attaching monetary value to everything, be getting in the way of much-needed protection of Vermont’s precious lakes? I hope not.
Let’s support the buffer law to protect the “commons” of Vermont’s lakes and ponds.
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