Tuesday, 14 June 2011 11:03
In 2001 my then-fiancé and I moved to Tahoe. We figured we would invest a couple of years in Tahoe as we had in any of the other places where we had worked on environmental and civic causes in the 1990s. Between the two of us we had lived in Boston, Salem, Los Angeles, Berkeley, Pleasanton, Paris, Lyon, and Lake Baikal. We consider ourselves citizens of the world. Arriving in Tahoe we thought, “Why would we stop in Tahoe any longer than anywhere else we’ve been?” Now it is 2011, and while we have continued to travel and study in other places during the past decade, Tahoe has been our steady home and center of gravity. Why Tahoe? With the world at our fingertips what made us set up shop here?
Tahoe is a microcosm of the world. Wealth, poverty, innovation, stagnation, drama, politics… all exist against this backdrop of deep blue skies and water, deep green forests and speckled granite. Today, Tahoe is in a search for self in a dynamic, rapidly changing global economy. Tahoe is looking for ways to lighten the environmental footprint while accommodating visitors and being economically vibrant. Tahoe is dealing with the issues that San Francisco, New York, London and Shanghai are dealing with. But in Tahoe one can see the “dealing” as it unfolds. Tahoe is discretely defined by geography. Its power structures are transparent enough to be able to discern what is going on. The population in these four counties and the Carson City rural area is small enough that one can comprehend the dynamics involved in movement and stasis. In this way, Tahoe is a microcosm of the world. If one listens well, looks hard, and thinks about Tahoe issues in a spectrum of relevant contexts, then answers to Tahoe issues come to light in a global context. Apply these same analytic principles to analysis of global issues, and sometimes answers to world problems come from right here in Tahoe.
For these reasons, not long after arriving in Tahoe, I began to think of this region as “the University of Tahoe”. For those drawn to problem-solving, fascinated with the democratic experiment, passionate about the natural environment, dedicated to improving civil society, and motivated by entrepreneurship, I say, “Tahoe is your place”. Then there is the bonus of fresh air, gorgeous waters and infinite recreational opportunity. Tahoe is just small enough that you can get to know just about everybody. At the same time it is big enough that you can spend a week in the wilderness in absolute solitude. So there you have it—why we are still in Tahoe. Through the lens of Tahoe I feel a unique, targeted, useful connection to the world. I am confident that there is much that the world can learn from Tahoe.
The Tahoe Project is a non-profit organization whose mission is to facilitate informed public discourse about Lake Tahoe Basin issues in local, regional, national and international context. The Tahoe Project is about bringing Tahoe into the collective conscious. Tahoe is a bright spot in the world. The community of people who care passionately about Tahoe spans the globe. The Tahoe Project is the corner café for that global community—a place to celebrate success, to reflect on setbacks, to give high fives and to shed tears, to see Tahoe in the context of the world as it is today, and as we hope it will be tomorrow.
Welcome. Have a seat. Let’s talk and think together. There is much to do. Tahoe is ready. The world awaits.