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Does Lafayette face challenges in preserving and enhancing natural and man-made features? If so, what kinds of challenges does Lafayette face?  

  

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Does Lafayette face challenges in preserving and enhancing natural and man-made features? If so, what kinds of challenges does Lafayette face?

This topic was modified 1 year ago 2 times by legacyadmin
4 Answers
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Of course we face challenges.  The easy stuff got done decades ago.  Lafayette has limited resources and we need to allocate those resources to areas in which we get the most bang for our buck.  That's not easy because such investment relies on cost-benefit trade analyses, and it's simply not that hard to make an analysis come out the way you want it to (which is not a slam at the analysts -- it's a recognition that we're  human and we have biases and these biases can show up inadvertantly in our work).  So the trick is to work really hard and self-critically to make sure we invest our limited resources both effectively and efficiently.

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Encourage bike travel with connected (separate) bike lanes. More electric car charging stations. 

The through traffic on S. Public Road is really bad. Cars travel from S. Boulder Road through town to Baseline (and beyond). Need a better solution.

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In my opinion, the greatest challenge in Lafayette (and all communities) related to conservation/sustainability is that our current generation of youth is growing up without a connection to the natural world.  Developing empathy for other living things is a critical precursor to conservation/sustainability actions later in life.  Research shows this empathy is built through repeated interactions with nature at a young age and mentorship (both adult and youth nature mentors).  Today's youth are spending less than 7 min a day outside and more than 40 hours  a week in front of screens.  It is great that those of us who grew up "wild" are pushing the city towards greater conservation/sustainability goals/actions, but what will happen to the gains made in future if we do not start investing in the next generation of stewards.  Kids used to automatically grow up with nature connection, this is not the case in our technological and scheduled world of today.  We need to actively create policy at the local level to change this.  We need better access and more of the type of access kids and families want (including understanding how different demographic groups in our community access the outdoors).  What we don't need is overly burdened open space policies that protect land now that will not be cared for in the future.  There is a balance, and Lafayette is small and nimble enough of a community to find this balance and lead by example.  As a side benefit, we will be building healthy children (social, emotional, physical, and mental health and well being and academic achievement all improve with time outside and nature connection).  This is a simple lens through which to address social and environmental needs and create improved quality of life for EVERYONE in our community (young and old).

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Yes, we have challenges in preserving natural and man-made features. I believe the most pressing challenge right now is the acquisition of the Waneka property. This preserves a field, a little bit of our agricultural history, prevents housing on that site, and provides a buffer from Erie. We are gobbling up nature at such a pace and not leaving important spaces for bees/insects/butterflies, wildlife and our own peace of mind. Particularly, there are no prairie dogs on that property and they should never be allowed to move there as they denude everything.

As far as man-made features, there are many things that need maintenance and attention: the Road of Remembrance WWI Veterans' pillars, the Outdoor Classroom, Waneka Lake, our streets and sidewalks and preservation of our history (Miners Museum), historic homes and the Baseline Motel.

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