When I began to play The Bay Game I was surprised at how little options I had for each round.  They were all simply yes or no answers with some numbers involved.  This made me realize how little options each of these people have.  However, a lot of the options and work come from discussing with the regulators.  During The Bay Game, I initially chose sustainable farming because I knew it would be the best for the Bay and the systems surrounding the Bay.  However, I was rapidly losing money each round because of the operating expenses.  Due to this large loss of income, I was forced to go the cheaper route.  I switched to conventional husbandry and began to gain some money back, slowly.  My regulator then asked me how I was doing.  I told him I was very much in debt and explained the large operating expenses for sustainable husbandry.  He then began to provide more taxes on conventional agriculture and larger incentives on sustainable farming.   This helped me to get out of debt immediately.  Through this experience I realized how important the governing system is on the farmers and those immediately affecting the bay.  The lack of incentives and ignorable taxes on conventional farming made it easy to switch from sustainable farming when it came down to money.  However, after discussing with the regulator I expressed my issues and he helped me get out of debt and help the bay.

The Bay Game includes a limited set of tools for the policy makers and other roles to change the dynamics of the model.

Behavior Change:

Practice more sustainably

  • This is truly the biggest way the Bay can improve.  This can be done through:
    • Nutrient management
      • “Nutrient management is a pollution prevention practice that manages the rate, timing, and method of application of nutrients and minimizes their potential losses through runoff or leaching to groundwater. Nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium are three essential plant nutrients used in significant amounts in intensive agricultural operations. These nutrients are important for satisfactory crop production but, if not managed properly, can easily move from farmland to ground and surface waters.” (http://www.chesapeakebay.net/content/publications/cbp_12297.pdf)
    • Plant cover crops
    • Control pollution from manure
      • Cows are one of the largest producers of methane gas which causes the greenhouse effect, which causes global warming

Get more involved

  • The government needs to continue to publicize how citizens can help protect the Bay.  Whether it is a weekend cleanup or just bumper stickers, people will be willing to help out if they know about it.  A good focus would be on college students.  Through un-paid internships or school trips the bay and students would be able to benefit.

Policy:  

Talk with one another

  • From my experience with the Bay Game, once I started talking with others in my watershed and the regulators, we rapidly progressed.  Without discussing we were second to last on the rankings.  Once we began to work together, we remained the top watershed in the simulation.

Incentives on sustainable practices and higher taxes on harmful processes

  • Such as nutrient management and crop covering

Publish a budget

  • The government should publish a budget for each areas of the bay.  This would provide for better planning and long-term investments (such as sustainable husbandry).

Continue to publicize how citizens can help protect the Bay

  • Through marketing, advertisements, college campuses, etc.

Improvements for the Bay Game:

I would suggest that the game run longer so people can progress from their mistakes.  The game is meant to show what is wrong and the ways to improve the bay.  In the short amount of time we played, we learned a lot, but there is still much more to learn about the different variables affecting the bay.

For more information on the Chesapeake Bay and ways to help please visit:

http://www.chesapeakebay.net/

http://www.chesapeakebay.net/getinvolved.aspx?menuitem=13992

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