Environmental Sense


The Town of Mammoth Lakes sits at the heart of one of the world’s last great places, where the Great Basin meets the Sierra Nevada. The range we live in and play in is renowned worldwide as the birthplace of the modern conservation movement. The Town of Mammoth Lakes needs to take a leading role in the stewardship of the area, striving to make this place a model for the way human beings can and should live in concert with the great outdoors.

Sustainability depends upon biological systems enduring and remaining diverse and productive.

In 2011 there was article written about the top  five sustainable cities in the world and a common factor those cities shared were that they all had adopted goals to attain certain achievements by specific dates. Mayor Jamie Lerner of Curitiba, Brazil, one of the named top cities, said “there is no endeavor more noble than the attempt to achieve a collective dream.” When a city accepts as a mandate its quality of life; when it respects the people who live in it; when it respects the environment; when it prepares for future generations, the people share the responsibility for that mandate, and this shared cause is the only way to achieve that collective dream.”

Our town is in need of a sustainability mandate and measures to actively pursue and reward sustainable practices and buildings and to market these achievements. On March 20, 1987 the Brundtland Commission of the United Nations defined sustainable development as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” This was never a consideration of our founders but the time has come for us to make the changed that we can. We are not a town that can easily cut down on cars because biking to the mountain in the winter is hard to do and bringing thousands of people from L.A. to town without the use of cars is unfeasible. But there are changes we can and should be making to improve our town and perhaps become a leader in small, remote town sustainability.  Imagine our town hosting Green conventions and being a peer resort town as well as becoming a top sustainable vacation destination.

Environmental Sense

One of the main reasons we live in a remote mountain town is for our surroundings. Now, imagine watching year after year as these surroundings change or even disappear completely. We have dry lake beds near us and it would be unwise for us to think that we know enough now to not allow this to happen again in the future. We see our lake beds declining. And just because we are surrounded by National Land does not necessarily mean these lands are safely protected. As we saw last year, fiscal issues and government shutdowns could potentially leave these lands unprotected in the future. Humans are living beyond the carrying capacity of the earth and without sustainable practices we will feel these affects, especially in our lake levels which provide summer recreation for our visitors.

If we initiate a sustainability mandate and work towards that goal, we will part of the solution instead of part of our own future problems. And being that our town is so small and host visitors from all over the world, we have the opportunity to show what kind of options are available in creating a sustainable environment and hopefully spark initiatives in other towns around the world.

We’ve seen other communities take steps towards creating a better environment.  These have including getting rid of the use of one time plastic grocery bags; prohibiting the sale of single use water bottles and setting up water refilling stations through town; creating co-housing complexes (this could be a great addition to Mammoth Lakes, especially for single parent families); creating ecovillages and building earthships; creating bike friendly routes; creating viable year round garden structure like green houses or walipinis.  We collectively need to decide what will work here at a town level as well as an individual level and become supportive of these ventures.

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