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Brice Claypoole

The things that matter most

However you voted in the recent election, there’s probably a certain amount of stress and angst that’s followed.  I’m not immune either, but like so many stresses that make up our lives, I’m reminded that this, too, will pass. I’m also reminded that it’s a good time to move past the vitriol, arguing and blaming and concentrate on the things we all have in common.

As island residents, we all depend on the many gifts our local waters bring us, whether a reflective walk on the beach, a day fishing with friends and family or the spiritual refresh of a morning sunrise or an evening sunset. Beyond that, the economy that supports our businesses and puts food on our tables depends on all of us working together for the common good. If you’re feeling like you are helpless in the face of the political and environmental storms that have rocked our lives recently, I would like to propose a path forward.

While I don’t mean to make this a philosophical discourse, I think it’s important to remember that we only have, at best, a short time on this planet. In that time we have the ability to help create real positive change and make a difference for our children and future generations by concentrating on the things that matter most.

I’ve seen the result of that first hand in the faces of volunteers that help plant clams to clean local waters, who work to enforce environmental regulations meant to keep our waters vibrant and in the letters and posts in the local papers and on social media. My experience has shown me that people care and want to get involved. I think the 71% of Manatee residents who voted for the Water and Land Referendum in an election that revealed the depth of our political divide is proof of that.

Want to get involved? Here is a partial list of organizations that work locally to protect our most precious resource and the fishing it supports!