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Gratitude without vigilance is not enough

GUEST COLUMN

What do we envision here? Make a picture. Large paved medical complexes that generate toxic waste? Sports complexes covering 100 acres with 90-foot lights? Peg-board developments covering the steep sloping fields to cliffs and shore? Mini-villages surrounding the lake radiating out from clubhouses, pools, cabanas and tennis courts? Highway roads built over pristine ravines to accommodate single homeowners? Each of these, right now, is in the process of gaining approval to go ahead.

Make another picture. Do we want to see more beautiful vineyards and conscientiously managed farms for cows, horses, sheep and goats and llamas? How about natural amphitheaters for performance? Retreats and camping spaces for families? What might we encourage to develop here that would still keep the land and lake healthy and beautiful and prosperous? Encourage our young entrepreneurs to stay and prosper? Boatbuilding, observatories, clean-energy businesses, artisan cheese making and specialty food processing ... This is a conversation that needs to be developed way beyond this short list of possibilities.

We already have some dairy farmers who are thoughtful stewards of their fields, who have won awards for their innovations and efforts to keep the lake clean and the soils healthy. We have flower farmers and goat farmers and organic vegetable, meat and poultry farmers we might want to make more of a community commitment to support. We have the first municipal building anywhere that is in the process of “going totally green.” We have residents who are using solar power, wind power and geothermal heating and cooling with exciting results. A house tour of these homes is planned for October.

We have a Skaneateles Lake Association and a Finger Lakes Land Trust, both organizations with growing membership that are moving to eradicate milfoil, check water and fish health and secure land to be forever wild. (Here comes the green necklace around our finger lakes! Want to join this effort?) We have a grass roots Sustainable Skaneateles movement which is educating all joiners in energy-saving tactics. Just this summer 62 families participated in the Energy Challenge adventure. A domino effect in imagination-to-action is happening now in our town. You can feel positive energy and it’s contagious. We have people working toward realizing the beautiful potential of Skaneateles. We need your help.

As John D. Barrow said: “May we all do something to this end, so that after another hundred years our successors shall meet together and rejoice, and thank us for what may have been done for the pleasure and honest price of their lives; when Skaneateles Lake shall be, as nature intended it, the loveliest and most alluring of our inland waters.”

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