Opinion by William D. Kastning
Monmouth County, like all communities and land divisions, is not a closed system. There is a constant flux of matter, energy, and living things across its boundaries. This is obvious when we consider weather events, coastal interactions, movement of animals and plants, and of course all things that humans transport into and out of the county.
Every aspect of activity within Monmouth County is dynamic. The natural environment is ever changing. Arguably, human activity is the most intense and thus requires constant attention.
Because the human component is so profound, it is important that we keep watch over its impact on the four subsystems that make up the Earth. They are the solid Earth (lithosphere), the gaseous Earth (atmosphere), the liquid Earth (hydrosphere), and the living Earth (biosphere).
Effective management and conservation practices are only possible if there is a continuing, holistic assessment of the interplay between human activity and the other components of overall system.
Mankind’s first venture away from Earth was the Apollo 8 mission to the moon. The distant view of the planet, encompassing nearly all that we know and experience, contributed to a global rethinking of our collective home. It may have been one of the most significant turning points on how we humans view the Earth.
William D. Kastning,
AICP Executive Director, Monmouth Conservation Foundation
This letter was first published in the Aug. 24-31, 2017 print edition of The Two River Times.