by Laura Kelley
It’s been 2 1/2 years since we went to CELDF.org. CELDF is a Democracy school that taught 15 Cape residents how to write Rights, Laws, Ordinances, By-Laws. It took us a year and we did write the Barnstable County Bill of Rights. Every other Monday night at my house, we wrote it – we wish for the citizens of Cape Cod to have the right to vote on it. We are scheduled to be on the agenda on February 17th at 4 pm in Barnstable.
I connected with CELDF and brought their teachers to the Cape for an event to educate diverse Cape Codders and the public about what we citizens, in a democratic way, can accomplish to help keep our environment free of pollutants. The resulting work brought about the Bill of Rights for Barnstable County, which has been submitted to the Assembly of Delegates through POCCA advisor Dr. Brian O’Malley of Provincetown.
I’ve written several articles to express our feelings and reasons for going out on a limb in the effort to preserve our drinking water and keep our environment safe and healthy on Cape Cod. “For the Love of Water (Water, article #5)”, my presentation to the Boards of Selectmen, is a speech that grew out of that, and I hope it inspires people to care about our water, care enough to do something to keep it fresh, clean, and chemical-free.
For the love of water ~
WATER, Article #5
THE RIGHT TO CLEAN DRINKING WATER ~
Hello and thank you for allowing us to speak with you today. I’m Laura Kelley, Director of POCCA Cape Cod (poccacapecod.org) ~ An organization created by concerned citizens to Protect Our Cape Cod Aquifer because it’s up to us to do just that! We’ve been educating Eversource and Selectmen for years about lessening the amounts of herbicides used on town owned and privately owned land. We were instrumental in educating town Health departments to monitor and regulate fertilizers and 8 Cape towns joined in that mission.
Being a landscape architect, I specialize in shifting land from a conventional protocol to being non-toxic. I introduced a plan to Provincetown where all their town owned properties have been non-toxic successfully for 5 years now. I’ve been proving we can grow lawns and food without the use of chemicals for over 20 years and it’s cost effective to do so as well.
For those of you who don’t know me, I’m the 11th generation born and raised in East Dennis. Through the centuries it’s great to realize who was a clock maker, a farmer or a sea captain. There are going to be another 11 generations and my propose is to have the forethought to prepare for the long run now.
Enrolling myself into a school called CELDF.org allowed me to see that we can help write Rights, Ordinances, By-Laws and local laws to protect our natural resources which in return protects ourselves. So I invited their teachers here and 15 diverse Cape residents joined the year mission to create This Barnstable County Bill of Rights we present to you today.
As you know, the world is running out of FRESH WATER.
We are so fortunate to live above where we receive our drinking water, aren’t we?
But with that comes responsibility. We CAN make steps to ensure a safer, healthier existence.
~ Without water we have no life
~ Without water the Cape wouldn’t be what it IS today
We are made up of 70% water, 30% solids, and so is the Earth.
There are Hydrological cycles, circulations of water, going on constantly.
It is up to us to do all we can to protect our drinking water for our children and our children’s children.
Our Aquifer is fragile. It’s being impacted daily by unnatural human choices, even more in the Summer due to the amount of visitors.
And it’s the only drinking water source we’ve got!
If our water becomes undrinkable, for whatever reason, it is the Selectmen who are responsible for providing drinkable water for it’s citizens. That is incredibly expensive! We are going through this in Eastham currently.
Why do we need this Bill of Rights?
We want to prevent any exploitation and poisoning of citizens and aquifer such as the recent poisoning of the Aurora River in Colorado and the criminal lead poisoning of the people and especially the children of Flint, Michigan.
Silent Spring Institute proves yearly that fire retardants and pharmaceuticals are prevalent in our drinking water, what can we do to safe-guard our waters ensuring us a longer existence here?
Did you know this past Summer, the World Health Organization labeled Glyphosate a probable carcinogen? That’s the active ingredient in RoundUp which is changing the chemistry in our bodies at extremely low rates, especially in children. We all know there is a wide range of negative implications due to use of man-made fertilizers and pesticides that runoff and travel into our watershed and ultimately circle back into our drinkable water and the food we grow.
THIS IS HAPPENING NOW, not in 5 years or 10 years but today.
What would happen if Nestle came to Hyannis, bought some land, put in a well and bottled Cape Cod Spring Water, then sold it back to us? These are the things we would like to guard against by putting it in writing prior to the possibility of it happening.
Legislation must be put into place.
It is time to do more than protect our natural resources, it is time we preserve them.
Our goal is to have the forethought to take the necessary steps and actually create change now to help for generations to come.
It’s up to us to protect the ones we love.
We are here today to ask the strength of this Assembly to help create a better future for us all.
If you allow this to move forward today it will be put into the hands of the citizens to see if they want this to become our County Bill of Rights. Don’t you think it is up to those who roam here to decide how they wish to live and leave Cape Cod?
Thank you Assembly for the consideration! We have worked hard on this and will continue to by educating along the way. This is a solid beginning to protect our precious natural resources that in return protects us, our health and our livelihoods.
Director, POCCA Cape Cod.(poccacapecod.org)
North Eastham, MA