It's easy to take for granted the ease with which we turn on the faucet for clean healthy water. Increasingly, changes in the climate are impacting our waters and the watermen of the Chesapeake Bay whose livelihoods depend upon the health of those waters. Severe weather events, such as the recent hurricane Dorian, are happening more frequently, resulting in tragic loss of human and biotic life. Locally, communities on Maryland’s Eastern Shore face rising sea levels and frequent inundation. This threatens houses of worship such as the historic Old Trinity Episcopal Church in Church Creek. Long term, they and nearly 500 communities along the east coast may be under water within 50 years.
Extreme rainfall comes so fast and furious that there's no time for it to soak in, and it all floods into our local creeks and rivers carrying pollutants from our streets and lawns. Flooding in Ellicott City in recent years is a perfect example of this. When the creeks and rivers overflow with muddy waters, looking like chocolate milk, we are witnessing a huge amount of erosion caused by these flash floods. Erosion causes a buildup of sediment that flows along with all the stormwater pollutants into local waterways and the Chesapeake Bay. Sadly, that influx of sediment and pollutants is building up such that watermen call this "bad water" that diminishes their catch of Maryland Blue Crabs. The Chesapeake Bay is now suffering the largest dead zone in 35 years. Just look at how we are all connected to one another in this way.
All that said, our actions can make a difference! We can take action to reduce both our carbon footprint and our water footprint becoming part of the "pollution solution." When Bishop Larry Lee Thomas's congregation Empowering Believers Church in Glen Burnie repeatedly experienced flooding (in photos left) he said, "We need an Ark!" Their "ark" was installing multiple rain gardens all around their property which has reduced the flooding! We too can engage our congregations in forming, caring and going forth actions - see our Menu for Action for ideas - to support the health of our local watershed which will enhance the health of the bay. Read HERE and be inspired by the actions taken by congregations in the One Water Partnership. We can all pitch in to engage in "rising action" by living out our faith's call to protect the well-being of our communities and future generations.
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