THE LOOK AND FEEL
SANDY HOOK BAY NATIONAL MARINE SANCTUARY
To a large extent, the creation of the Sandy Hook Bay NMS will not physically change the bay, estuaries and rivers as we know it today. However, as is often found with the creation of parks, slowly there will be a different appreciation of our waters. It will become more part of us and it will be something we can point to as one thing. Pointing to something as one thing can be very beneficial for many reasons. Once it become one thing it becomes easier to discuss, it is no longer a mental abstraction, and it actually becomes a mental shortcut. This mental concept is called a meme and has been found to be very powerful in social discourse and decision making. "I live in New Jersey" means something. It is very different from saying "I live in Florida". Neither one, nor the other, is good, or bad, but they mean different things. It is not easy to explain what the difference is, but people that know Florida and New Jersey know the basic differences between the two and there is a mutual understanding in that regard..
To be able to say: "I live near a National Marine Sanctuary" is sort of a meme, and has a certain effect, just like saying "I live near a National Park" has a certain effect. Saying I live near a city park has a different effect than saying I live near a National Park, because they are different memes even though they are both parks. At a certain stage there might be an additional meme, Sandy Hook Bay National Marine Sanctuary, and saying "I live near Sandy Hook Bay National Marine Sanctuary, will have a certain effect.
The question is: What effect will this meme have?
The meme will have different aspects, images, assumptions and reactions such as: