After attending a recent Marin County Bay Friendly Landscaper training session, I was so thoroughly impressed with the curriculum of the Bay Friendly Program and the quality of the speakers for the training session. The Bay Friendly Landscape guidelines form a compelling framework for sustainable landscape construction and maintenance. The one area where the training could be enhanced is with a greater emphasis on the history of the Bay and why Bay Friendly efforts are so important. For anyone who hasn’t seen the 4 part documentary “Saving the Bay,” which aired on KQED, it is an indispensible primer for the ecological, cultural, and social history of the San Francisco Bay. With this in mind, here is one landscaper’s Open Letter to the San Francisco Bay–
First off, we would just like to say we are sorry. Sorry for what we did to your forests and your streams. Sorry to the Grizzly, the Prong Horned Antelope, and the rest of your creatures that roamed long ago. Sorry to Salmon, that we canned by the bargeful. Sorry to the soil, that continues to slip away- only to wait another 10,000 years to form. Sorry to the great San Francisco Bay, estuary of estuaries, harbor of harbors.
We are sorry for the Baylands we filled, the marshes we drained, the streams and rivers we dammed and damned. Sorry for the pollution, the dumps, the garbage, the sewage. Sorry for our brake pads, that with every morning drive hit the road, and from the road flow to the Bay.
We say that we have changed. We say that we will be your friend, or at least that we will be Friendly. You have the benefit of time and experience. You wait with a watchful eye, marking the tides of moon and man.
Before we start on our new way, before we change our ways, let us acknowledge what we and our forefathers have done. See and acknowledge our mistakes, understand what we did wrong. Say we are sorry. Then we can embark on a better way.