Environmentalism should not be a partisan issue. Healthy land, clean air and water – these things benefit everyone. And yet, amid today’s extreme political polarization, there is a fear that our environment is in the crosshairs – and this fear has many in our community understandably worried.
Watching politics at the national level obscures an important point: When you stand on the ground in a particular place, alongside other people who also love that place, you find that people mostly see eye-to-eye. Here in Sonoma Valley, while political opinions may differ, there is much agreement that we should protect the land, water, and wildlife, and often even on how to go about it.
This is true at the county level as well. Consider the success of Measure K last November. With the most contentious presidential election in living memory as a backdrop, residents of Sonoma County approved Measure K – extending and expanding protections on rural land, including in the Valley – by more than 80 percent. Large victories like this are rare even in the best of years.
Measure K’s success shows that we love this place. Wherever we live, we all want this land, this community, to be well. And that points us to the path forward: knowing that Sonoma Valley residents can work together on our challenges, regardless of our political beliefs, is liberating. It means that no matter what happens in Washington or elsewhere, we still have the ability to do something good, something big, right here and now. The language of open spaces, wildlife, and watersheds is a uniting one.
In 27 years of working with our community to improve Sonoma Valley’s environment, we’ve seen the residents of this Valley do great things. And there’s every reason to think we will continue to do them. We’ve always loved the Sermon on the Mount analogy used by pilgrim John Winthrop and candidate Ronald Reagan, the vision of a shining “city on a hill,” a place seen as a beacon for others. For us, that city on a hill is one embedded in and enriched by a natural world that is thriving.