Friday, July 30, 2010

Boston Harbor Trip

By now, everyone has compiled an elaborate, extremely detailed account of today's trip. And rightly so, considering the approximate three hours of sensory-overload while enjoying a ferry ride that spanned most of Boston harbor. All the while, Professor Berman lectured us in his typical enthusiastic, good-natured fashion about the rich history of Boston harbor and how it has changed dramatically over the past 100 years. Aside from obvious physical observations, such as ferry-boat speed, weather conditions, geographic characteristics and so forth, there were two things that i felt most purposefully represented our Boston harbor trip.

The first was the perception of an overwhelmingly clean environment, in all respects; The water, air and sky all shared the same pristine charisma of a protected national park. More remarkably, however, is the fact that Boston harbor's cleanliness exists in one of the busiest ports, adjacent to one of the busiest cities in the continental U.S. As Professor Berman pointed out, Boston harbor is one of the cleaniest harbors in the entire world; much less could be said for places such as New York City and Los Angeles harbors. As a native New Yorker, (sorry, Bruce) I can attest to unsanitary conditions of the harbors of New York City and I am embarrassed that as one of the wealthiest, largest cities in the world, NYC cannot hold a candle to Boston's harbor. ::cough:: At least the Yankees are still in first place ::cough::

ANYWAY, talking about wealthy cities brings me to the second most notable observation of the trip. Surely, cleaning up any city's harbor that has been influenced by 280 million gallons of sewage disposal, DAILY, would come at a high cost. And in 1985 in the city of Boston, Massachusetts, it did. But how did this change come about? The answer is rooted in a court-case that started with one disgruntled jogger versus the city of Boston (forgive me for any inconsistencies or incorrect information). Eventually, this case gave way to a mandate by a state judge, demanding improvements in the waste disposal system. Roughly 25 years and 5 billion dollars later, Boston harbor is now one of the cleanest harbors in the world, in no small part due to the tireless efforts of non-profit organizations such as Save the Harbor, Save the bay. And of course, taxpayer dollars.

It is unfortunate, although sometimes comical, that in the year 2010 we live in an era where bankrupt CEOs fly their private Gulfstream Jets to bailout meetings with the Federal government while our President optimistically allocates billions of dollars for superfluous enhancements of our country's infrastructure. But in spite of all our governments flaws and short-comings, I am proud that for once, taxpayer dollars and state laws work favorably to protect the ever-improving condition of Boston's harbor.

Looking forward to another great day tomorrow!

-matt heim

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