It would be easy to poke a little fun at 1% for the Tetons … pointing out that the “cash-strapped” locals are gazillionaires by land, and that long-term sustainability for most of the valley includes ensuring daily flights of Stilton and sushi-grade tuna.
But they did it … and that’s what matters in the coming sustainability boom. It’s a far cry from NIMBYism and throwing up barriers to whatever comes your way. It’s about “do” as opposed to “don’t.”
Sustainability includes growth, and figuring out how to grow smart. (That’s why it’s going to be a boom). When I heard that Yvon Chouinard suggested closing the Jackson Hole airport as the first step to sustainability in the Teton area … I realized he might not be the right poster child for this one.
Sustainability is not environmentalism. It’s not about preserving wild spaces and free range habitat. It’s about connectivity. It’s about maximizing the ability of people to live near other eachother. And it’s about creating a willingness for change.
Certainly, there is significant crossover between the forces of green and the drivers of the sustainability movement, but there’s a fair amount of doubt as to whether greens are the right foot soldiers. Greens are hardwired to react. Sustainers, to be successful, must act before they’re needed.
I heard a UVM professor speak the other day, commenting sharply on the current Middle East situation and our reliance on foreign oil. “We can either share, change, or fight.” He added, with no irony at all: “and I don’t see Americans sharing anytime soon.”
While it’s clear that we’re perfectly willing to fight – the question of sustainability is are we willing to change? Are we willing to talk to our neighbors about the best way to do it? And are we willing to find the middle ground that must be found?
That’s sustainability. Good luck to 1% for the Tetons.