An Improved Economy for Rural Maine
To appropriately address the challenges of current times, Maine needs to move from an extractive economy to an inclusive, regenerative local economy. History informs us that adopting an extractive economy maintains significant wealth imbalances, poverty (regardless of 'developed' status), and ecological stress. If we continue to compromise our water and environment, our economy will be at risk of collapse. We must continually ask- what state are we leaving our environment in for our future generations?
As global predatory interests focus on freshwater sources, our communities will benefit from a long-term vision and strategy on how best to protect and use local water sources to ensure a sound ecological balance for the long term. The health of our upcoming generations and the economies of the future deserve this investment. Giving up our water sources to private or foreign interests move us away from long-term security for an imbalanced short-term gain. Working together as communities defined by our watersheds and aquifers can offer the best protections to avoid privatization.
In the case of Fryeburg, ME, a Nestlé sponsored groundwater study determined the aquifer's "sustainable yield," based on speculative science. Nestlé (the largest food and beverage corporation in the world) was granted a permit to take the aquifer's "sustainable yield" in a U.S. precedent-setting contract that gives them right to it for the next 45 years. Where does this leave Fryeburg in growth prospective for the next generations based on water needs? This stunts our potential for a robust local economy and places undue risk on the community and watershed.
Decentralizing our food systems has been a critical contemporary feature of the environmental movement. Maine is in a good position to thrive if we are in a right relationship with the water and the land and can be a big boost to our rural economy. Maine boasts small scale agriculture growing at a rate 4 times of anywhere else in the U.S., so we are in a good position. However, this requires that we also adopt good local ordinances and uplift earnest leadership at the state and federal level.
We look forward to a renewed and regenerative shared vision.