2017-03-02 / Editorial

Sustainability needs a collective effort

There is a popular business catchphrase that companies either change or die.

That’s not always easy as people frequently tend to be adverse to change.

Yet change is exactly what Jamestown residents must be willing to embrace if the town’s sustainability plan ever is to gain traction and succeed. It focuses on sever key areas — climate change, alternative energy, health, conservation, housing, resiliency and business — and how they and their offshoots will reshape the island over the course of several decades.

This likely will include changing the town’s building and zoning codes, as well as major decisions regarding solar power, farmland and the water supply.

The town’s final plan must have clear, concise and specific ideas to be implemented and officials must back those up by taking a hard line on enforcing any needed changes to the town’s codes or laws. Having various incentives and penalties for compliance or noncompliance is one way to do that.

Yet, for any of these ideas to succeed on a broad level, a top-down-only approach of government pushing them is not going to work. They must be embraced and advocated for from the bottom up by residents and various groups in town.

Jamestown has a long history of this type of “social cohesion” and of rallying around ideas that benefit the community as a whole.

Jamestowners must be willing to accept the inevitable changes, knowing some trade-offs likely will be the result.

Our island will not be the same because of it, but it likely will be more vibrant and able to thrive well into the future.

That beats the heck out of dying simply because we were too stubborn to change.

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