Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

What a summer this has been. I haven’t lived on the Island long enough to remember the old Vineyard, but surely it wasn’t like this.

Three reasons why the Vineyard is in trouble:

1. Overcrowding. During the summer, the population density is greater than India and China combined. Can this Island cope with all the waste that is generated? What about the demands for water, electricity, roads, firemen and police? Where is the limit?

2. Drugs and alcohol. How many people were injured in drunk driving accidents? How many homes were burglarized by heroin addicts? It makes you nostalgic for the good old days when the hippies got stoned and did nothing. Unfortunately, doing nothing is one of the reasons we are where we are today.

3. Pollution. How many beaches and wells were closed because of human waste? There is no easy or cheap way to fix this or it would have been done already. One Vineyard town has voted to study the problem, again. Real action would have cost real money.

Three reasons why it is not too late:

1. Technology. There are ways to have this population without causing damage. Advanced septic systems can prevent nitrogen and bacteria from getting into our water. Let’s not sugarcoat it. These systems are inconvenient and expensive. Composting toilets are a minor annoyance compared to having water that is unfit to drink or swim in.

2. Conservation land. Several groups are struggling to conserve land and limit development. They are fighting the good fight against powerful economic forces. Future generations will see what made the Vineyard a legend.

3. People. We started this problem, we can fix it. If our leaders have vision and the voters can agree, our lives will be better next summer instead of worse.

Do you know anyone who thinks things are getting better? It doesn’t have to be this way.

Jay Ayer