Tom Horton: Growth and the lesson of Covid — what have we learned?

Just as an earthquake mercilessly exposes shoddy building standards, a crisis like the current pandemic lays bare societal flaws. Both present opportunities to rebuild better. Long before Covid-19, some environmentalists and economists worried about our nation’s blind allegiance to unending economic growth. Pursuing infinite physical expansion of the human enterprise on a finite planet can’t […]

Tom Horton: Hopes are eroding hopes for saving Bay

Always, I’ve assumed knowledge equals power. If you do the science that makes sense of a mysterious world, it enables you to comprehend your problems and you’ll eventually solve them. I’ve seen it work here on the Chesapeake Bay to restore rockfish, stabilize blue crabs, improve water quality and make the case for protecting oyster […]

Tom Horton: Images of the Bay Country

Combing the beach, I stoop to pick up an essay for my upcoming college nature writing class. It’s a reddish, roundish pebble, tumbling in the clear lapping waves during a campout to the vanished community of Holland Island. For a couple of centuries, before erosion forced Holland’s people to the mainland, my pebble was a […]

Gilchrest still teaching youngsters about bay’s rivers

It’s just a crease in the landscape, a gully incised by a hundred thousand years of rains, knifing toward sea level through bluffs bulged up by glacial ice, and augmented by sand and gravel spewed down ancient channels of the Delaware and Susquehanna rivers. Where it cut down to access the edge of the Chesapeake’s […]

Tom Horton: The long and short view of the bay’s islands

A few autumns ago, I took the students in my Chesapeake Bay class at Salisbury University to Smith Island to discuss how rising seas, accelerated by a warming climate, will threaten such low-lying communities before the end of this century. I didn’t have to teach much that day. An unforecast nor’easter had covered most of […]

Tom Horton: Paddling through time = Time to think

I once read in a canoe magazine of a famously difficult passage in New England across 50 miles of open water. Most modern paddlers who tried it failed; yet Native Americans had done it routinely. Most likely, it was neither skill nor endurance we moderns lacked. It was time we were short of. Less obliged […]

Tom Horton: With bay, is the glass half full or half empty?

We’re all familiar with the problem-solving technique of simply shifting the lens. Viewing the same thing differently. Glass “half full” instead of “half empty” is an example. When it comes to the Chesapeake Bay, the “glass” I want to talk about, that technique may work better for those who never knew our “glass” when it […]

Tom Horton: Saving the world, yard by yard

Doug Tallamy, noted champion of native plants, won’t tell homeowners to never plant a crape myrtle or two. But he wants them to grasp that the lovely, low-maintenance Asian import is “biologically inert, a beautiful statue. So ask yourself, how many statues do I need in my yard?” On the other end of the spectrum, […]