Sustaining Cape Cod
January 23, 2007
The next time you go to Anthonyís Cummaquid Inn in Yarmouth Port in the
mid-Cape region, or the Flying Bridge Restaurant in Falmouth, or one of
the wharf restaurants in Provincetown, youíre sure to appreciate one of
the Capeís many majestic views of the wetlands and water that attract
people from every part of the world. In understated ways, these businesses
raise our awareness of the unique ecosystem that is this place. And yet
itís not likely that any one of these establishments could be built today.
The next time you visit Sandy Neck in Barnstable or Sandwich, or Grayís
Beach in Yarmouth Port, or the boardwalk in Sandwich, or the Drummer Boy Park in
Brewster, look out across the Cape Cod Bay and see if you can see the
Boston Harbor Outfall Pipe. It's big. Itís nine miles long, but because it
sits under the surface and doesnít obstruct your view, itís not likely
that youíll give its presence much thought or wonder why it was permitted,
or what its impact may be on fish stocks and the encompassing underwater
ecosystems that scientists say make the bay an ocean sanctuary.
The next time you drive across the bridges, Bourne or Sagamore, or
along the Scenic Highway, or Route 132, or Route 134 for that matter, or
along Route 6, or try to turn into the entrance to the Upper Cape Cod
Regional Technical School, you might wonder why there is such an emphasis
on the bike path. Did you ever wonder if we would now be able to enjoy
this recreational pathway or enhance it with overpasses and street
connections if there had not first been a railroad here?
In each of these cases, there are histories that chronicle what has come
to pass. Anthonyís was once a doctorís house. The outfall pipe was key to
the successful clean-up of Boston Harbor. Traveling along the bike path is
a trip back in time that opens onto vistas that recall the Capeís heritage
of cranberry growing and farming.
Yet, with the passage of time come changes, technological innovations, and
a host of reasons why priorities that were once clear need to be
reassessed and reordered. This process works best when all voices can be
heard, when different opinions can be expressed, and when we can forge a
consensus. However, achieving such an end is not easy because of the
competing values and unique experiences we each bring to any discussion.
Which explains why the collection of objective data and accurate
information helps foster a context of objectivity and prevents decisions
from being based on whims.
All of which serve as the principles that make up the body of thought that
goes by much too big a name: sustainability. To sustain anything is
simply to keep it going, to protect it, to preserve it, to prime it. To
sustain the Cape and islands, we need to connect our economy with our
natural environment. We need to provide health services that at least
satisfy our basic welfare needs. And we need to offer education and
training programs that lead to the stable employment and the career
opportunities that nurture families and relieve their financial strains.
The Cape Cod Center for Sustainability is a nonprofit organization
established with the best of intentions: to build bridges that connect
our natural environment, our economy, our human condition, and our
individual need for personal growth and fulfillment. As an organization, we
work to support the efforts of other Cape organizations and connect people
Itís clear that the Cape is much more than the ocean and the dunes that
attract visitors. There is a vibrancy of life and an independent spirit
here that propel people to tackle our problems and to forge ahead in the
effort to find solutions no matter what the resource limitations may be.
The Cape Cod Center for Sustainability is interested to support these
efforts. We're interested to assist the gathering of accurate information
and data about the Cape region and to encourage its objective
assessment. In any context, we look for a balanced discussion of options
and consequences. We work to connect Cape residents with local
organizations and to find ways to supplement their combined efforts. We appreciate Cape Cod as a place where people live, work, raise
families, and retire surrounded by incredible natural beauty. We
encourage you to simply pitch in however and
wherever you can. And by doing so, you'll be sustaining Cape Cod.
Cape Cod Center for