I believe that the self-image of our city would be infinitely improved if we could hold in our mind’s eye not just the scenic characteristics that define it – waterfront, stream valleys, parks, monuments, architectural landmarks, major thoroughfares – but also the many elements that show a cleaner, greener, safer, healthier Baltimore to be a dawning reality.
The infamous Baltimore crime maps record an accumulation of offenses and their geographic distribution over the course of a year. We gauge progress toward a safer city by the rise and fall of crime statistics and note the neighborhoods most impacted by anti-social incidents. Why should that map be the signature image of Baltimore?
In contrast, let’s Green Map Baltimore. Let’s document our assets – nature + culture + green living resources – in one visual frame. Let’s chart our progress toward the goals defined by our Sustainability Commission and the 1000+ citizens who have participated in its working groups – toward a clean, healthy, energy-efficient, green, mobile, well-informed, locally-invested city, its unique features preserved and enhanced.
Through Green Mapmaking, we can focus attention on the accumulation of positive citizen actions and opportunities: community gardens planted; murals painted; parks’ partnerships activated; “green” schools – eco-conscious in curriculum, management, and community involvement; farmers markets offering fresh, local products; bicycle-friendly roadways; recycling centers; healthy eating venues; social enterprises, like Baltimore Free Store and The Book Thing, that turn our culture of consumption into one of sharing.
Through participation in the Green Map® System, we also connect with the global sustainability movement, mapmakers in fifty countries sharing the common vocabulary of GMS icons to chart their local resources. We know already that our Jones Falls Trail Green Map hangs on walls in South Africa, South Korea and Japan.
Here at home, spurred by the Baltimore Green Map’s graphic reflection of what now exists, we can build a stewardship ethic into the culture of our city. Our many small actions contribute to a tide of change. That tide lifts (and uplifts) us. It strengthens as we communicate and model for each other the ways we contribute to making Baltimore a more healthy, sustainable environment.