Tuesday, November 12, 2019

#316 / How To Predict The Future

LandWatch Monterey County is a nonprofit organization based in Salinas, California. Its mission is to promote sound land use policies that benefit the local community — advancing Monterey County's long-term economic vitality, high agricultural productivity, environmental health, and social equity. 

LandWatch is most specifically focused on policies that will provide truly affordable housing, that will protect agricultural and natural lands, and that will ensure that any new development is based on sustainable water supplies. 

Last Friday, I was privileged to attend the annual "LandWatch Lunch," its most famous fundraising event. I always enjoy attending, meeting both old friends and new. This time, I was delighted to be able to sit next to Congress Member Jimmy Panetta, and to greet many more elected officials from Monterey County. Marina Mayor Bruce Delgado, who was there, is a special friend. He and I worked together in the very early days of LandWatch, to establish the City of Marina Urban Growth Boundary, which is now almost twenty years old and is up for renewal. Besides supporting that effort, it turns out that LandWatch is involved in trying to establish a comparable urban growth boundary in the adjacent City of Seaside.

As the large crowd ate lunch, LandWatch Executive Director Mike DeLapa described what LandWatch is doing - and outlined just how LandWatch works to accomplish its mission. One of the slides that Mike DeLapa put up on the screen said this:

The best way to predict the future is to create it.

This is an unpretentious statement, but it is, in fact, profound. The future doesn't have to just "happen to us." We sometimes forget this. In fact, we can make the future happen the way we want. To do that, however, we must work together, not act as individuals, and we must shift our self-understanding, and stop thinking that we best know the future through our role as "observers." 

We are, of course, "observers," but we are "actors," too. When we stop observing, as a way to try to "predict" the future, we may figure out that Mike DeLapa's slide really is a profound statement about human possibility. We can "act," not "just observe," and that is the very first step to helping create the human future that we both want and need.

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