Earlier this week I was invited to attend a meeting of the Sustaining Jackson Hole Resource Group. Sustaining Jackson Hole is a program started about four years ago by Jonathan Schechter of the Charture Institute. He describes Sustaining JH as a legacy question:

What legacy does the current generation of Jackson Hole residents want to leave for future generations? Put another way, what qualities that we enjoy today do we want to leave for future generations?

I’m not going to get into the whole thing here (it’s worthy of several blog posts at least—he’s practically written a book for each year of the program), but suffice it to say that Jonathan cares deeply about this community and strives to make it a better place; or rather, to keep it as the place we all know and love. To achieve that end, he smartly enlists others who feel just as passionate as he does about Jackson Hole and gets them to help vision, plan and execute programs that we all hope will make a difference.

In January of this year, the Resource Group (there are, if I remember correctly, 12 Sustaining Jackson Hole groups consisting of representatives from businesses and organizations working in areas of the community including the arts, the environment, civic affairs, education, religion, transportation and others) held a gathering of approximately 80 people who all got together for an event called “Jackson’s Green Actions.” Jonathan describes it as a “brag session” where folks from around the community came together to speak about what they and/or their businesses were doing on the environmental front. I wasn’t there, but from what I understand it was quite a feel-good session that went on for several hours. While nothing necessarily concrete came out of the session, it was an event that will likely become one of the building blocks of the Jackson Hole community’s environmental movement.

Now the group, spurred again by Jonathan, is looking toward the possibility of holding a “Jackson’s Green Actions 2” this coming January. But this time the group wants to do something akin to starting a community-wide movement that would inspire and motivate businesses and individuals to set a goal of reducing the overall environmental impact of this community by a certain amount by a certain date.

Meanwhile, the governmental bodies of both the Town of Jackson and Teton County have made a commitment to reduce each of their organizations’ energy use and waste—their two most measurable impacts on the environment—10% (from 2006 levels) by December 31, 2010. This is an incredibly admirable goal; one that they’re on their way to achieving and will hopefully set a precedent for other communities around the country and maybe even the world. The program is called 10×10 and you can find out more about what the Town and County are doing at this Environmental Initiatives page on the Town of Jackson site.

You can also learn more about the 10×10 Jackson Hole program at jh10x10.org and from my friend Keith over at his blog, Carbon Neutral Journal, where he lays out ways to help achieve 10×10. 10×10 is by no means limited to our two governmental bodies. Anyone and any business or other organization can take the pledge.

At a joint gathering for all Town and County employees (the first of it’s kind, I understand) on January 8, 2008, the Town and County will officially unveil their 10×10 campaign to all their employees (and likely a cadre of local media representatives). Should it chose to do so, the Sustaining Jackson Hole Resource Group will build upon this momentum to launch a similar community-wide campaign soon after at Jackson’s Green Actions 2. Stay tuned…