Eco Truckee Tahoe News
Eco Truckee Tahoe founder Ted Lipien (center) with international environmental officials, activists, and eco-friendly entrepreneurs at the University of Nevada, Reno, June 15. 2016
Eco Truckee discusses Squaw Valley and Tahoe Ridge development with environmentalists from 20 countries
JUNE 19, 2016
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Eco Truckee Tahoe (EcoTruckee.org – Facebook.com/EcoTruckeeTahoe) founder and editor Ted Lipien met Wednesday, June 15, 2016, in Reno, NV with a delegation of environmental protection officials, activists, and eco-friendly entrepreneurs from 20 countries visiting the United States under the auspices of the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program.
In a meeting at the University of Nevada in Reno, the international visitors and Ted Lipien shared ideas about the role independent media in small U.S. communities and abroad can play in conducting investigative reporting on environmental issues. Such reporting can alert local residents to long-term economic problems from projects based on exploiting natural resources without paying attention to the ultimate cost to the community and the environment.
Eco Truckee Tahoe briefed the group on controversial Squaw Valley and Lake Tahoe Ridge development plans, sharing with them public relations materials produced by the Squaw Valley developer KSL Capital Partners and other developers.
International visitors also received materials from local Truckee – Tahoe – Sierra environmental groups. Ted Lipien described for the environmentalists from 20 countries some of the activities of Eco Truckee Tahoe, Sierra Watch, Mountain Area Preservation Foundation (MAP), and North Tahoe Preservation Alliance.
Eco Truckee Tahoe highlighted concerns about overdevelopment, including traffic congestion, water supplies, air pollution, noise from private jets, and other environmental and quality of life issues of local residents of the Truckee – Tahoe – Sierra region.
Some of the foreign visitors described similar problems from overdevelopment of scenic areas in their own countries.
Mr. Harsha Yadav Bollaboina from India talked about how unrestrained construction caused a drop in tourism to some of the formerly picturesque Himalayan towns. He noted the difficulty of convincing local politicians and business interests that there is a breaking point to development beyond which long term economic prospects and jobs creation are imperiled.
The international visitors agreed that environmentalists play a critical role in maintaining a healthy environment for a healthy economy through community outreach, education and, when all else fails, legal actions to stop or reduce harmful projects.
Without independent media in small communities, many serious ecological problems and tendency of some local officials to tolerate violations of environmental laws that would not be tolerated at a national or regional level can be hidden from the public.
In some cases, local governments, businesses and even some environmental non-profit organizations can benefit financially from development harmful to the environment through more tax revenues, profits, and questionable donations to NGOs to limit public criticism, Lipien told the group.
Ms. Talia Contreras Tapia from Mexico and Mr. Julius Mugumya from Rwanda and other guests talked about ways of countering harmful development while promoting sustainable growth, eco-friendly business activities and eco-tourism.
In response to concerns expressed about powerful individuals and pro-development interests being able to corrupt some local politicians, NGOs and even media, a representative of the Vatican, Mr. Tebaldo Vinciguerra, Director for Ecological and Development Issues, Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, suggested that environmental officials, activists and residents should form alliances with their local Catholic churches, other religious groups and faith-based organizations.
Ted Lipien had brief private discussions after the lecture with Mr. Wojciech Szymalski, President, Institute for Sustainable Development in Poland, and Mr. Mario Klobucar, Head, Department for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Sources, Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund in Croatia.
Environmental protection officials and activists are visiting the United States at the invitation of the U.S. State Department to examine U.S. energy policies at the international, federal, state and local levels; study climate change indicators, risks and adaptation measures; analyze innovations in clean energy and alternative fuel science; and examine U.S. efforts promoting international cooperation in managing climate change. The group included environmentalists from Botswana, Costa Rica, Croatia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, India, Malawi, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Netherlands, Pakistan, People’s Republic of China, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Tajikistan, Tunisia, and the Holly See.
Ted Lipien is a journalist, internationally published writer and media freedom nonprofit NGO director. He founded Eco Truckee Tahoe after moving to the Truckee Tahoe area in 2010.
His articles have appeared in The Washington Times, The Washington Examiner, National Review, American Diplomacy Journal and in other newspapers and magazines. His investigative journalism work has been noted by NPR, Fox News, Congressional Record, The Washington Post, The New York Times and other publications. Much of his previous work as a former Voice of America journalist and former VOA acting associate director focused on Soviet and post-Soviet states. He is the author of “Wojtyla’s Women: How They Shaped the Life of Pope John Paul II and Changed the Catholic Church,” (London: O-Books, 2008).