My View: Notes from the Front Row (Opinion)
Stewardship is going to take everyone’s participation. And that means everyone from government agencies to residents to visitors to second homeowners and businesses that interact with visitors.
I attended the city of South Lake Tahoe’s Earth Day, and it was a wonderful event; beautiful day, and great to see the community out there. But it struck me that most of the booths that were there promoted conservation and stewardship with the Earth Day theme were agencies, with very few from private business. All well and good and all very much needed. But for stewardship to be effective as it possibly can be, it will be increasingly important for the business community to get involved at a much greater level.
Often, initiatives start with agencies, which is great as they have the resources, but engaging local businesses is an opportunity for them to be an integrated part of promoting stewardship. While it’s essential to have signs, messages, and website information to inform visitors (and residents) about stewardship and what they can do. Still, there is nothing like the one-on-one interpersonal approach the person at the bike shop, the boat rental, the ski shop, or the hotel front desk to remind someone or give some insight about protecting the environment and taking care of Lake Tahoe.
In a recent Aspen Times article, the Aspen City Council is moving towards having those who rent ebikes watch a short two-minute video on trail etiquette. I am not suggesting we do precisely the same, but it does illustrate the potential to educate consumers right at the point of participating in an activity. Could this approach be reframed to provide environmental education or stewardship information by the bike shop, the boat rental, the hotel, etc.?
We may be at a unique opportunity to also build a ground-up approach to leverage the existing agency efforts to change people’s mindsets about Lake Tahoe and their role in stewardship.
We do well and have done for decades telling people all about this South Shore through the prism we want visitors to see. But we rarely ever explain South Shore through the lens of residents, who we are, our local culture, and how we feel about the environment and protecting it. With a move toward stewardship, we have an opportunity to really get visitors to understand who we are and how we care so much for the environment and that if they really want to emulate locals, it’s not just where we ski or hike or get breakfast, it’s how we see our community, the lake, and the environment.
I often marvel how in South Shore, we disagree on many things, but we all seem to agree on two things: protecting the environment and the love of outdoor recreation, no matter what you love to do. Maybe if we could just communicate those two things, we can make a difference?
It’s election season, vote your choice. County supervisor is an interesting position. All the power and votes are on the west side of the county so one of the most important skills needed are those of a seasoned politician. One who knows how to work with people you may have very different positions with. Losing 4-1 on principle is no benefit. Education, persuasion, the ability to listen are some of the keys to success for this elected official to be effective for us in the basin. I’ll support Brook Laine.
It is a Wrap
I am not sure if you were aware, but May is mental health awareness month. Many of us on the South Shore have struggled with mental health issues. Let’s face it; life situations can be challenging for anyone.
I am here to tell there is no shame in talking to someone. If you broke your arm, you would head to the hospital, the same for mental health. You don’t need to carry what bothers you alone; there are good people to help you. If you feel at all inclined, reach out. El Dorado County Health and Human Services 530-573-7970, call them.
Carl Ribaudo is a columnist, consultant, speaker, and writer in South Lake Tahoe. you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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