Multiple reasons can be given when discussing why clean water is vital to the ecologic, recreational, cultural, and economic resources of the Chesapeake Bay. By extension, clean water is important to anyone whose life benefits as a result of the Bay. Still, the most compelling reason is that the quality of our water, and thus the health of the Bay, is a reflection of the culture and values of the people who live upslope of its shores.
In a sense, the Bay is a record of our knowledge, values, and priorities. When we lived in ignorance of clean water, a dying ecosystem reflected a society that lacked the knowledge to recognize our connection to the living environment. When we did not value clean water, we saw corresponding losses in the value of the Bay's resources. And when we did not make clean water a priority, we did not make our obligation to future generations a priority.
We should always aspire to do great things. As a child, I remember the tremendous sense of national pride that Americans felt when we placed a man on the moon. It was a remarkable act that defined greatness. The people and governments of the Chesapeake Bay watershed have an opportunity to create a comparable legacy of greatness. If we are to take pride in ourselves, we can and must find the means to restore clean water in the Bay.