It is almost impossible to have not heard something about high cost of housing, if you can find it, here on Cape Cod. The advocates for housing that supports year-round resident s and the economy make a good case and I am not going to repeat it here, as APCC is a part of that discussion in other forums. The point I want to emphasize today is that the need for housing and expanded economic opportunity is all predicated on one critical factor that still does not get the attention it warrants. A clean, healthy, and fully functioning environment is the foundation for everything on Cape Cod.

Without clean drinking water, access to beaches, ponds to swim in, fish to catch, trails to walk, breathable air, open spaces (do we really need to debate their importance after the last 14 months?) and marine waters teeming with life, there is nothing to talk about, or invest in, on Cape Cod. Without these sustaining elements of life there would be no worry about housing shortages and high prices, nor would there be businesses hurting for workers. Why? It’s simple: Our environment drives everything else. Without environmental quality, Cape Cod would be just another example of a place of former glory that consumed and tainted the very things that brought people there in the first place.

We need to remind ourselves while we come together collectively as a community to address issues related to housing and opportunity that the expanded protection of our environmental resources is central to the discussion of how we move forward. While we do things to address our economic future, we must do so in full recognition that it cannot come at the expense of further investment in our environment. Yes, more investment in the protection of important open spaces, more investment in infrastructure to clean our waters, more investment in drinking water protection, more investment in environmental restoration of degraded and altered wetlands and bogs, and greater attention to our role as stewards of the landscape. We need it all because without it, don’t waste your time, energy and resources thinking about building new stuff because without a solid foundation, it will all eventually collapse.