After reading excerpts from Halfacre’s A Delicate Balance: Constructing a Conservation Culture in the South Carolina Lowcountry, my eyes were opened to an entirely new environmental issue. Well, technically we won’t say “environmental”, we will say “conservational” issue. It is a well-known fact that the city of Charleston thrives on its little peninsula with constant praise from the media reflecting its beautiful beaches, historical richness, excellent cuisines and party-spots, and the dense culture packed tightly into this Holy City.
After reading Halfacre’s book, I was quite shocked by the numbers and statistics. For example, the proportional rate of Charleston’s population growth is twice the national population growth. I also had no knowledge on the story behind the Arthur Ravenel Bridge and its monumental impact on the Charleston community. Hearing that conservationists fought for the walk/bike lane along the bridge gave me hope for future efforts. The bridge expanded and turned Mount Pleasant into a densely-populated city, and some may argue the benefits and others the negatives.
The book also discussed the Lowcountry movement for “Buy local”. I had always seen bumper stickers with this slogan, but didn’t know the real meaning behind it. This movement is something that should be emphasized, considering only 4% of Charleston’s population get their food locally. By growing locally, there are benefits in all disciplines.
The whole idea Halfacre is conveying is the balance between preservation and development. They work in an inverse relationship, and luckily the Lowcountry has numerous conservation activists that work hard to preserve the rich culture South Carolina encompasses. By reading Halfacre’s excerpts, it has encouraged me to join a conservation group or organization and contribute to the cause. It makes me want to help out that farmer that can’t seem to find college students to help pick his vegetables. It makes me want to fight for all of those people that grew up along the coast and lived off the land, the people that appreciate its richness. Once those people are gone, new generations won’t understand why these locals appreciated the land so much, which is where my generation steps in to continue to the fight for conservation.
After reading this book, I realized that the Charleston community is stronger than I ever imagined. There are so many locals who are wanting to preserve the natural beauty of the lowcountry so that their children and future family will be able to participate in the same activities they did as children. Going to the Farmers Market on Saturday is on of my favorite activities because I get to talk to so many amazing local farmers who could talk for days about their fresh produce and where they are from. It really is good quality food.
I agree completely with what you are saying! I appreciate the bike/walk lane on Ravenel Bridge so much more now but at the same time I imagine what it has done to Mount Pleasant and it is a constant mix of mixed emotions. It comes down to what is needed for progress and when is enough is really enough. It really is all about finding that balance between conserving the land and bettering the living standards for all who live here.
I definitely enjoyed your insight to this. One part that really sticks out to me is the “Buy Local” movement. I’ve always seen stickers and signs that say it, but never knew much about it. It’s actually astonishing to me that only 4% of Charleston’s population gets their food locally. I never thought it would be that low. I definitely think it would be more beneficial to grow that number from 4.
Thank-you for sharing your thoughts on the book, Marybeth! I agree that while the numbers are so astonishing in regards to population growth and the small percentage of food that is consumed locally, there is still much hope to be found.