Editorial: Marshes must be protected

March 9, 2015

It would be nice if, for a change, state lawmakers did not always look at or toward the coast with dollar signs in their eyes. A vital resource to Georgia, yes, but it is not one that should be taken for granted or recklessly handled.

The General Assembly’s action on a bill dealing with the designation of clearcut marsh buffers will reveal to all just how the state perceives the coast and its future. Better yet, it will be an indication of what they think about the welfare of all mankind.

Protecting rich, productive marshlands from development, from further encroachment of man, meets the very definition of critical. The marsh sustains life in the world’s oceans, a vital source of food on a planet that is becoming more and more populated by the hour, literally. Or hasn’t anybody noticed?

Monkey with the marshes, put them at risk for destruction simply so a handful of people can have a better view of the very resource they are helping to destroy, and you monkey with the world’s food supply. See any basic science textbook for a fuller explanation of how marshlands sustain life.

There is also the important role they play in protecting people and property from storm surges and higher reaching, moon- and-wind driven tides. Ruin marshes, and you’ll take away Mother Nature’s way of keeping life on land safe from her own fury. Again, see any basic science textbook for a deeper explanation of this key fact.

They say knowledge is power, and it’s true.

Knowledge is power. Question is, will lawmakers use the knowledge available to them through decades of observation and study to protect the planet’s food supply and the state’s coastal residents from the kind of politics that is more about increasing earnings potential than protecting people?

Question is, are legislators smarter than fifth graders? These youngsters know how important marshes are. They read about it in the textbooks the state — the taxpayers of Georgia — purchased for them.