It’s ironic that in all of today’s talk about going green — in cars, homes and industry — the smartest green strategy of all tends to get sidelined: preserving open land.
A new policy paper by a Bay Area coalition of open-space advocates helps put the importance of wild lands, agriculture and urban parks into the neo-green context. “Golden Lands, Golden Opportunity” (www.golden-lands.org) is a useful tool to help tie these ideas together and to reinforce the fact that when it comes to going green, there’s no more fundamental consideration than what we do with our land.
Since open-space needs, like clean air and water, don’t stop at city or county borders, the report identifies priorities for acquiring critical tracts across the nine-county Bay Area region. It also recommends regional planning goals, like having a park within a 10-minute walk or bike ride of every home — firmly establishing social equity as a value.
The authors are the Bay Area Open Space Council, the Association of Bay Area Governments and the region’s most effective open-space advocate, the Greenbelt Alliance, known for its pragmatism and its collaboration with industry groups. It’s good work by a good team — but it’s up to public officials to make things happen. We’ll be watching.