This letter in support of the Maryland the Beautiful Act (HB:631 / SB:470), and a list of all signatories, will be sent to all Members of House Environment and Transportation Committee, Senate Education, Energy, and the Environment Committee, and Senate Budget and Taxation Committee. To learn more about the Maryland the Beautiful Act, click here

We people of faith respect the Earth and the web of life, and strive to be good stewards of the Earth's land and waters. We are grateful for the ways the Maryland Assembly has worked to protect our environment, but more needs to be done to create a healthier Bay for future generations. 

Greenspaces benefit humans’ physical, mental, and spiritual health. However, not all Marylanders have easy access to greenspaces. Likewise, many greenspaces are and will continue to be subject to threat of development that could diminish biodiversity. At present, Maryland has permanently conserved just under 30% of its total lands and critical habitats (~24% of land and water) and only annually monitors ~11% of land under easement. This bill sets a conservation goal of 40% of Maryland lands permanently protected by 2040, while also developing a plan for implementation, stewardship, and improved the health of the land. 

These measures also strengthen Maryland’s strategies for fighting climate change, something we are woefully underprepared for and are called upon to act now for future generations’ health and well being.. Preserving land in perpetuity is a key strategy for fighting climate change, because when land is preserved it sinks carbon and creates resilient ecosystems that are otherwise lost if the land is developed. Bolstered funds in the Citizen Stewardship Grant, also included in the Maryland the Beautiful Act, will increase funding to school programs that help develop the next generation of conservation leaders. The Maryland the Beautiful Act is an investment in our lands and Maryland youth, ensuring that future Marylanders will be able to enjoy the bountiful beauty of Maryland. 

Importantly, this bill increases the capacity of small and medium under-resourced land trusts to engage in conservation. The Maryland the Beautiful Act would create a one-time funded $9.5M Land Trust Rapid Response Revolving Loan Fund Program that will enable land trusts to compete for land acquisition for conservation purposes in an ever-competitive real estate market. . This Fund would tip the scale in David-and-Goliath situations where these land trusts may otherwise be unable to secure and protect land from development. Uplifting these land trusts rebalances power in the face of climate change and keeps Maryland focused on a future where all people can thrive. 

We are all called to continually renew ourselves and improve our behaviors to be more mindful of future generations. This is important legislation that will enhance and protect Maryland’s biodiversity, invest in future generations of Marylanders, empower more Maryland land trusts to conserve land, and remind our state leaders for years to come that nothing is more important than preserving greenspace in perpetuity so that all may thrive here. As the Dalai Lama says, “Since climate change and the global economy now affect us all, we have to develop a sense of the oneness of humanity.” As people of faith, we hope that you will take this step to conserve Maryland’s land and invest in Maryland’s youth, for it is one small step in uniting humanity to preserve the dignity and health of us all. 

352 signatures so far. Help us get to 400