In politics, there's nothing more powerful than a personal story.
Think about it: From the start of the Iowa primaries until the final polls closed in Alaska, we heard a steady stream of stories about the concerned line worker in Michigan, the parents who couldn't afford college payments in California, and the single mom who waits tables as a second job in North Carolina. And really, who can forget the now infamous plumber who became an overnight political sensation?
These stories work because they give us something to sink our teeth - and our hearts - into, which is why the National Trust for Historic Preservation has launched a new series called Faces in Preservation. As a supplement to our official policy platform, this evolving collection of stories will introduce you and the incoming Obama Administration to the preservationists who are on the front lines of change in our communities and demonstrating that preservation is so much more than just standing in front of wrecking balls.
This week, we start with pioneers in sustainability who are proving that going green puts communities in the black. In anticipation of his Faces in Preservation profile, we had a chance to chat with Mayor Roy D. Buol of Dubuque, Iowa, about a project that is turning 17 downtown blocks of abandoned or misused industrial warehouses into a livable, walkable neighborhood that is green friendly and mixed use.
PreservationNation: What does sustainability mean to you?
We must remember the Native American proverb that says "We do not inherit the earth, we borrow it from our grandchildren." When I think about sustainability, I see the faces of my grandchildren. I see them in school, at the park, near the river, making crafts at the art museum or going to a festival in downtown. I see how connected they are to our community and the lessons that they are already learning about being stewards of this great city. Even at their young age, they are interacting and respecting the native species that make our bluffs so majestic, our prairies so open, and our creeks and rivers full of life. They are meeting new families that come to Dubuque and celebrating the richness that these families bring with traditions and cultures for us to enjoy. And they benefit from quality, local businesses that provide a means to raise healthy, productive families. Sustainability must be about creating stewardship in our children and grandchildren - a stewardship that emphasizes environmental integrity, social/cultural vibrancy and economic prosperity.
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