2001-08-18 / Letters

Save The Marshlands

Save The Marshlands

Dear Editor:

As a photographer and a person very concerned about the environment, who spent many summers at Rockaway Beach with my family, I was shocked to learn that the marshlands of Jamaica Bay and Gateway National Park are dwindling due to wastewater treatment plants that dump 250 million gallons of poisonous material daily into Jamaica Bay.

The tall grasses and vegetation have been dying, along with ribbed mussels and fiddler crabs that help hold the marshes together. It is unbearable that the East Pond and West Pond are so contaminated that baby ospreys, herring gulls and red-winged blackbirds who call this place home, will soon no longer be there.

The fact that Jamaica Bay, one of America’s magnificent wetlands, is being sacrificed for the sake of profit is unforgivable. I learned from Aesthetic Realism, the education founded by America’s great economist Eli Siegel, that the basis of our economic system, which uses so many lives and America’s vast natural resources to profit a few is contempt, the "addition to self through the lessening of something else." When I returned to New York City from a tour of duty in the Air Force, one of the first places I visited was Jamaica Bay. I couldn’t wait to photograph the Greater Yellowlegs Railbirds, swans and the many frogs and turtles.

The fact that people feel that they can dump poisonous waste into this water shows such contempt for life. Ellen Reiss, Class Chairman of Aesthetic Realism, writes in the international journal The Right of Aesthetic Realism to be Known: "To see what American democracy means, we have to see what the United States of America is-the beautiful nation of so many miles, with prairie wheat and corn, and fruits and minerals, and electricity and much more. For America to be democratic, for the people of America to rule America, is for all of us to decide how America is used-and that means her wealth, the kind abundance of her earth."

To learn about the study that can have America fair to all people and natural resources, you can contact the Aesthetic Realism Foundation, a non-profit educational foundation in New York City at 212-777-4490.

DAVID M. BERNSTEIN


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