We know how important the environment is, unfortunately, we do not often take notice until something in the environment is degraded and it impacts us suddenly and personally. But the environment, and resources that come from the environment are essential to sustaining us in so many ways. Obviously, the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, but it also touches our being, our minds, and our bodies.
I have the privilege of serving on the Citizen’s Advisory Committee of the Santa Clara County Open Space Authority (OSA) which is charged with stewardship of land conservation and all the benefits it brings to our region. I have been appointed to take the Health seat on the Committee and I will include my observations from this point of view as I write here. I’ll also include other aspects of environment and sustainability.
Let’s start with the priorities and aims of the OSA as they state it: “The first priority of open space is the conservation value of the land, such things as streams, forests, animals and plant life. Recreation facilities like trails, restrooms, and parking are designed so visitors can enjoy the natural world with little ecological impact.”
This purpose is quite different from parks, though parks can also be considered open space, especially in urban settings. “Parks provide more intensive recreation and offer highly developed facilities, including playing fields, motor sport tracks, playgrounds, picnic pavilions, and swimming pools. The emphasis is on providing a broad range of visitor activities.”
The OSA provides funding to cities in the county for trails, parks and projects that meet open space aims, as well as, securing available and important undeveloped land. “The Open Space Authority holds title to some lands, has conservation easements on others, and has contributed funding to the preservation of open space by other agencies. All of these actions protect important undeveloped land and contribute to OSA’s total protected acreage.”
I hope to share the work of the OSA with you and bring you further ideas and concepts in environment and sustainability. Their site is www.openspaceauthority.org