Easy money

To the Editor:

We, the local residents of Mount Desert Island, ought to be thinking about the long term and what kind of economic growth is comfortable and sustainable for us. We have a serious asset here, a local style and history, that we need to protect. It’s not just the national park that attracts visitors. It’s also the Maine way of life, something made by the people who live here.

When we consider the issue of cruise ships, of inviting investors with huge capital assets, to use our port and share our space, we need to ask if that is in our long-term interests. My fear is that the big cruise ship business will attract other high-end businesses, and that it will become harder for our local home grown ones to survive.

As a craftsperson, I know you can’t market a homespun product, something possibly low key, next to something flashier. It’s not an even playing field. You become invisible, a backdrop, actually supporting someone else’s sales. We stand to lose our traditional place in the market if the marketplace is remade by new, more capitalized businesses.

There are other economic models available; it’s not as if cruise ships are the only option for economic health. We could continue as we have been, with more family-owned businesses that have local connections. And we could continue to attract visitors who have to make some effort to get here on their own, who can take the time to linger and appreciate some details of the place.

The cruise ship model seems more like a flash-in-the-pan idea, the dream of big, easy money. It’s too harsh on the environment, both the human and the nonhuman environment. We need a gentler approach to our economic future, one we can all live with.

Judith Blank

Bar Harbor

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