An Action Plan for Cape Cod

Part 1.  Are We Better Off?

Part 2.  Sustaining Cape Cod

Part 3.  The Truro Survey

Part  4.  SWOT

Part 5.  Quality-of-Life Indicators

Part 6.  Opportunities for Truro

Part 7.  Confessions to Soothe My Soul and Clean My Dishes

Part 8.  An Academic Chair

Part 9.  A Personal Tool Kit

The Cape Cod Sustainability Scorecard


Perspectives on Sustainability


Sustainability Reference Desk


Articles on Sustainability


Articles on Sustainability Indicators


To download the Cape Cod Sustainability Indicators Report 2003, click here.




An Action Plan to Achieve 
Sustainability on Cape Cod


Part 2.  Sustaining Cape Cod

An editorial by Glenn Ritt


More than 250 readers of the editorial page have responded to our Sustaining Cape Cod survey, and we share the results with you today. 

When asked what areas of concern are your highest priority for the future, you identified pond water quality and ozone levels as numbers 1 and 2, respectively.

Also high on your list: productive shellfish beds. But concern for the Cape’s rate of crime comes in third on the list that contains three dozen “indicators” of the Cape’s quality of life. Rounding out the top 10: traffic volume, affordable housing, access to public transportation, cancer rates, coastline development, and biodiversity.

In developing this survey in partnership with the Cape Cod Center for Sustainability, we had two goals: The first was to sensitize our readers to the concept of sustainability--meeting the needs of the present without endangering the ability of future generations to meet their needs. The second was to make the editorial page as much a "village square" as paper and ink permit. 

We divided our survey into two parts:  First, we asked you to rate areas of concern for the future, choosing from among 36 areas. Second, we asked you to rate 12 indicators used in the past to measure the Cape’s sustainability. Here, you could say, “I care intensely,” “I care moderately,” or “I care very little.” 

The answers to that second question echoed sentiments expressed in answer to the first question. The majority of you felt most intensely about environmental indicators, especially protected open space, drinking water, and recycling. Tourism, interestingly, rated dead last as an indicator of resources considered critical to sustaining the Cape.

Of course, this survey doesn’t pretend to be scientific in any way. We did not reach people randomly. We offered an opportunity to be heard, and 250 readers took advantage of the opportunity. We received not only completed forms from readers across the Cape but also many comments stapled to the surveys. In the weeks ahead, we will share those remarks and ideas with you as well.

One letter, from Mary Hutchings of Truro, talks not only of a particular priority but also excitedly about how to sustain Cape Cod:  

The project for sustainability is certainly an  idea whose time has come. I am especially interested in addressing the issue of energy production and consumption. It seems that Cape Cod is rich in one form of sustainable energy: wind. Why do we not seem to be taking advantage of that gift?

My house faces Cape Cod Bay in North Truro. For the last two months, I have been using an anemometer called the
totalizer to find an average wind speed here. I am also beginning to read about the technology of wind turbines.... As a private citizen, I might be able to erect a turbine on my property, but as part of a larger advocacy group, greater efforts might be able to generate a greater effect.

Hutchings illustrates the ability of a single Cape Codder to make a difference. And her idea, as well as scores of others, can stimulate discussion and debate on these pages in the months to come. 

To further such discussion around "sustaining Cape Cod," we will begin a series of monthly forums in our communities, with Truro first on our agenda. The time and date will be forthcoming. 

Also in future weeks, we will share other results of our survey, including how residents of individual towns across the Cape see the same issues. 


Editor's note:  All of the articles included in "An Action Plan" were published and are copyrighted by the Community Newspapers'  Register, Cape Codder, and Upper Cape Codder.


Next:  Part 3. The Truro Survey