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Public Statements

International Conference on Environmental Management

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Date:
Location: Baltimore, MD

Good morning,… Welcome to Baltimore, the original Land of the Free and Home of the Brave. I encourage you to invest in our local economy while you're in town.

To Motuyuki Suzuki and everyone with the International Conference, thank you for choosing Maryland as your host site -- and for the important work that you are doing.

Governor Toshizo Ido, it's an honor to join you here.
Introduction

Our country is in fight for our children's future. This struggle is not just national and international, nor is it entirely economic, it's also very much environmental and very much global. In this struggle between "education and catastrophe," human innovation holds the key to victory: innovation in renewable energy, innovation in resource use and conservation, innovation in green building design, innovation in transportation and urban planning, and innovation in environmental restoration and environmental redesign.

Innovation, really, that redesigns the ways that we human beings continue live as a species as part of this finite living ecosystem known as the Earth.

We are the first generation of humans to see our population double in our own lifetimes; but we are also the first generation to view our finite home from the perspective of outer space,... "mankind progresses in response to adversity."

The great American, Thomas Berry, wrote a beautiful book called The Great Work. He talked about the fact that our planet is moving from the Cenozoic Era of abundant and diverse life and biodiversity, into the Ecozoic Era. It has been pushed to the Ecozoic Era by our human activity, by the traditional choices we've made in terms of fossil fuel use; the traditional choices of building design, combustion engines, food production. And whether that Ecozoic Era is sustainable or not for future generations, depends on a very important and unknown variable, and that is our ability to make innovative and different choices at this critical time: choices that create a better a balance, choices that redesign human living from a depleting force on this one Earth into a renewing force on this one Earth.

And the biggest challenge we face in this great work is not primarily financial nor is technological: it is political. In other words, do we still have the ability as a nation to govern ourselves well, to choose well, to lead well in this community of nations, to make the tough but right decisions and investments that expand opportunity and improve the quality and security of our children's lives? So let's dive right into this light topic by turning to trash and crime,....

The best elected job in America is the that of "Mayor," which is actually a verb -- I had the great privilege of serving the people of Baltimore City as their Mayor for nearly eight years. Many of the performance management tools that helped us take our City back from the throes of violent crime, trash, vacant houses, population loss, and diminished expectations, are the very same tools that can and are making a difference today in the ecosystem restoration of the Chesapeake Bay,...

In the City, we called it Citistat. In the State of Maryland, we call the application of these strategies "StateStat." And it is done on an enterprise-wide level in pursuit of 15 Statewide Goals on Skills, Health, Security, and Sustainability.

One of those big goals is restoring the health of the Chesapeake Bay. This afternoon, I wanted to show you how we are pursuing that goal with a tool we call BayStat.
The Stat Model

Now, BayStat and StateStat -- and all the other progeny of stat -- were born out of the CitiStat initiative we created in the City of Baltimore, which in turn we borrowed from the New York Police Department's, "Compstat." Bill Bratton and Jack Maple started turning around their crime challenge by using GIS and performance measurement -- putting the dots on the map every day where crime was happening and deploying their police resources in order to make their city a safer place with performance measurement.

Performance measurement: the merger of modern technologies like Geographic Information Systems/smart maps, with certain timeless, universal principles of human endeavor -- setting goals,... openly measuring the effectiveness of actions taken by our public institutions, by individuals, and by all of us, together,... broadly sharing information rather than hoarding it,...

Performance measurement -- the willingness to change course when necessary to move our graphs in the right direction to achieve a goal,.... Making decisions based on real experience, and based on actual outputs, as they happen,... as they land,.. on the map; the map we share,...

When I was sworn in as Mayor of Baltimore, our city had become the most violent, the most addicted, and the most abandoned city in America. And she didn't get there overnight. We had a lot of work to do, and we had no systems in place to measure performance but suburban flight.

My friend, the former mayor of New Orleans, Mark Morial, who once said to me jokingly "Kid, if you ever want to hide something, make sure you put it in the city budget or the city charter, because no one ever reads either one." And yet, that was the only regular measurement we had.

It's been my experience that government does a very good job of measuring inputs; how much does it cost this year, what is the budget -- input -- this year. Less often do we measure outputs: how well are we delivering a particular service,... how much closer have we moved to achieving our goal.

Let's get the first slide,… (Slide 2 -- Old Tenets) These are some of the old tenets of city government that we needed to exorcise, if you will,…

(Slide 3 -- New Tenets) To drive progress, we took the CompStat principles and applied them to all of the efforts of city government,… not just police, but potholes, trash, schools, all of the things that define whether or not one's quality of life is improving or declining.

These new tenets became the tenets of CitiStat and eventually of StateStat and BayStat: timely, accurate information shared by all, rapid deployment of resources, effective tactics and strategies, and relentless follow-up and assessment.

We would meet every two weeks, all of the departments on a rotating cycle. We'd gather around the map for not only some critical reflection, but also for critical questions, for critical collaboration, for critical conversations, and, most importantly, for initiating and reformulating the critical actions necessary to drive the graph in the right direction against the map, and to improve performance for all that we serve.

We have come to call these next maps the "kidneys of death" maps (Slides 4-10 -- Kidneys of Death). These maps show the concentration of fatal and non-fatal shootings in our City, which for too many years had been totally concentrated in two areas on either side of town. When President Clinton got us 200 additional police officers in the year 2000, we didn't spread them among the six council districts; we concentrated them to where the shootings were actually happening. And over time, day by day, week by week, we reduced violence.

(Slide 11 -- Baltimore City Violent Crime Reduction) Many of you are familiar with Baltimore's past. What you might not know is that over the last 10 years, Baltimore has achieved the third-biggest reduction in violent crime of any of the major cities in America. Number one was LA; number two was New York. But number three was Baltimore.

When I was first elected Mayor, up in the CitiStat room we would bring in community associations and different groups from all over the City. And it never failed, as I would go through this, showing where the trash complaints are, the 48-hour pothole guarantee and where we were hitting it and how long the time was running,… Invariably, when I would start going through this, after 10 minutes, someone would raise their hand from the back of the room and ask the age-old question, "Can you show me my house?"

I've often wondered why it is that people ask that question. Is it to understand "what's happening around me?" Is it to know that "I matter to my neighbors?" Is it to know that "I matter to my government?" Is it to know maybe that "my government matters to me, that it's working and that it affects the things around me?" Or is it perhaps about a deeper yearning for connection, that innate human instinct to belong, to better understand the bonds that connect us to the forces and people around us, to better understand how the collective decisions of my neighbors affect my house, my life? Is it about how my life, my individual actions affect my neighbors, my community, and the future that our children will share?

Smart maps and GIS, have the power to inform and improve our ability to govern ourselves effectively -- as individuals and as a community. They connect the actions we take together through that common platform of our government,… they better connect us to our neighborhoods, to our neighbors, and the future we share.

Can these same tools help us in the great work of restoring our environment and reconnecting -- in a more balanced and sustainable way -- human living with the other life forms that make up this planet? I think so. I hope so. We are working to make it so.
Slide Show

With BayStat, we are measuring our progress in restoring the health of the Chesapeake Bay.

We started mapping all of the ten major river sheds of the Chesapeake Bay estuary to see where the nitrogen, phosphorous and sediment were coming from, and how we might do a better job of keeping them out of the water stream.

One way we track our progress is the Bay Health Index, which comes out annually, and is determined by the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. You can see that this year, the Bay received a C-. It was a slight downtick from last year.

You can see the trajectory of our progress over the time that we have been using these measures. As you can see, we are somewhat flatlined -- not dying, but not getting a whole lot better. We are walking up a downward moving escalator. We must walk faster. Or slow the downward moving escalator. Or do a combination of both.

From the map, you can see where we're doing better, and where we're doing worse.

Eyes on the Bay offers real-time monitoring -- we can map out an area's water quality over time, and what we're doing to improve it.

Our latest development is called StreamHealth. We have a number of different ways of evaluating the health of our streams, and we map the smaller stream sheds that are in neighborhoods, so people can click and see what the trajectory of progress or degradation is, and which areas are healthier than others.

When we zoom in here, we see that it has a lot of impervious surfaces, and little to no stream buffer. This is a place where with a great deal of urban stormwater runoff with no filtering as it enters the Bay.

There are several things that go into this measure -- bay grasses are one of them. This is a map going in the right direction.

Next is a graph that measures blue crab population in our State, which was in great decline a few years ago because of overharvesting.

With our neighbors in Virginia, we put in some restrictions and, lo and behold, by easing up a little bit, the crab population started greatly rebounding and increasing. The 461 million crabs tallied in the 2011 Winter Dredge Survey is the 2nd highest total since 1997.

Now that we've talked about the current health of the Bay, let's talk about the causes.

Cleaning up the Bay has been likened to walking up a downward moving escalator. What are the things that move the Bay in a downward direction? The causes are manmade -- choices we've made on our land. And these causes grow more harmful as the population grows, and places additional stress on this watershed. As population grows, the escalator moves downward faster, adding more phosphorus and nitrogen into our Bay.

But if we make better choices as a people -- if we choose better sewage treatment, better farming practices, and so on -- we can get that escalator moving in the right direction again.

We have a number of maps that lay out the causes of the problems in the Bay. This one shows you all causes of nitrogen pollution in all areas of our State. The graph at the bottom shows you our progress to decrease nitrogen pollution.

These next few show you the specific causes of nitrogen pollution, and our progress to get rid of them -- for farms,… for wastewater treatments plants,… for stormwater runoff,… and for septic systems.

On this next slide, we can find out about a specific area in Maryland. Here we're looking at the nitrogen flowing to the Bay from the Patapsco Back River as a result of wastewater treatment plants.

In the Lower Eastern Shore, we can see that farms are the cause of the majority of nitrogen pollution flowing from this area.

In the Lower Western Shore, we see that septic systems make up the largest single cause of nitrogen pollution.

So,… what are we doing about it?

This is one of our solution charts. There are about 30 different activities we measure, and one of the most basic is subsidizing our farmers to plant cover crops in the wintertime to reduce runoff into the Bay. We measure the degree to which we're covering more of our acreage with cover crops to keep that nitrogen from flowing into the Bay.

And we've also done something else. We used to measure improvements in the health of the Bay by 20 year time increments. But none of us really measure what we do in 20-year time periods -- we measure daily, weekly, monthly. So we set up two-year benchmarks, which we measure on a constant basis.

Thanks to our work together, we are now 99% of the way toward meeting our first 2-year milestone.

This series of slides shows you our progress on several different solutions: stream protection without fencing,… on manure transport,… on livestock waste structures,… on streamside grass buffers,…. on retiring highly erodible land,… on wetland restoration on our farms,… on streamside forest buffers on our farms,…. on Wastewater Treatment Plants,… on retrofitting our septic systems,… on streamside forest buffers on public lands,…. on our goal for Marylanders to plant trees, which we'll talk more about in a minute,… and on Program Open Space.

Part of the way we measure our progress with Program Open Space is GreenPrint, which maps the green areas of our State that we need to protect if this ecosystem is going to have a fighting chance. We need to preserve the green liver, green lungs, green kidneys that allow her to filter the stormwater and to breathe.

In the past, there was no objective criteria for why we chose one parcel over another. GreenPrint not only allows us to map those parcels that we purchase, but also the darkest green shows you what we have protected, the lighter green shows you unprotected areas we need to protect, and those stars represent the purchases we made through Program Open Space.

We zoomed in here to show the level of detail you can see through GreenPrint. You can look at specific project sites and acquisitions like Rural Legacy, Maryland Environmental Trust, Maryland Agriculture Land Preservation Foundation, or Program Open Space sites. The particular site selected here is a Maryland Agriculture Land Preservation Foundation acquisition.

Similar to GreenPrint is AgPrint. AgPrint tells us where the most valuable and productive farmland is in our State that we need to protect.

GrowthPrint is designed to complement AgPrint and GreenPrint. It maps out our growth as a State, and helps us reduce harmful sprawl and grow smarter.

Two years ago, we launched the Marylanders Plant Trees Initiative with two goals: to plant a million trees by 2011, and to inspire citizens to plant 50,000 trees, on their own, individually, by 2010. We've exceeded both of these goals. This map shows you where we've planted those trees.

That's a brief snapshot of StateStat, BayStat, and some of the things that we are doing to measure our impact on the environment.
Conclusion

I firmly believe that people, together, will mostly make the right decisions if they are mostly informed.

But a government of the people, by the people and for the people must also be open to having its performance measured by the people. It must make the trajectory of its performance visible to the people it serves. It must show the boss, if you will, that progress, in fact, is possible and that there are good and bad consequences for the good and bad decisions that we make as individuals and as a community.

I'll leave you, as I began, with the words of Thomas Berry, from The Great Work: "The historical mission of our times," he wrote, "is to reinvent the human, at the species level, with critical reflection in a time developmental context, by means of story and shared dream experience,..."

One of the biggest questions in this mission of human reinvention is this: can we effectively govern ourselves in the emerging context of this new Ecozoic Era? ... Are we capable, in other words, of making the often tough but right decisions necessary to live not only a more sustainable existence, but a more life-giving and renewing existence?

Our greatest challenge is not technological; it's political. Our highest hurdle is not financial; our highest hurdle is spiritual. Can we forge the precious consensus necessary to meet the challenges of our times? Can we comprehend as individuals, and as a human family, the Light within, the grace to remake ourselves; into a renewing force within the living context of Creation, the built environment, if you will, of nature? ...

For there is more to the pursuit of happiness than simply life and liberty. Expectations do become behavior. GIS and effective governance can change expectations and thereby change behavior -- change expectations of cruelty in our relationship with the other life forms of this earth to expectations of kindness; change expectations of taking to expectations of giving; change expectations of exploiting to expectations of renewing; change expectations of depleting to expectations of restoring and regenerating.

This is our story. This is the dream that we share. This is the great work that you and I choose. And the future is watching. Thanks very, very much.


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