Twenty-five years from now, my grandchildren will be able to live and thrive here because we will have successfully weaned ourselves from the addictive demands of the tourism “industry.” Milton Mazer pointed out 40 years ago in “People and Predicaments” that the problem with industry on this Island is the cost of shipping. The difference now, which makes all the difference, is that bits and bytes are cheap to ship. Individual entrepreneurs are already working this lode. Creation factories will spring up, ranging from the nuts and bolts of technical writing and illustration to the crafting of apps and program suites, to digital studios and production facilities for arts in every medium. These will be successfully marketed, and will become known and valued abroad. The talents and aesthetic integrity of our Island people, inspired and sustained by living in a still-intact natural environment, will become a resource much in demand by jaded city dwellers. They will order magic from afar instead of coming in eroding waves looking for a Disney World experience.
We will transform tourism to ecotourism, purposefully teaching visitors how to go back and transform their homes, where they came from, to be more like the Vineyard.
By saving our Island from ourselves, we will participate in saving the world from ourselves.
Bruce Nevin is a writer and researcher who works as a linguist helping the Pit River (Achumawi) people of northeast California recover their language. His organizational commitments here include the Martha’s Vineyard Peace Council, Martha’s Vineyard Friends Meeting (Quakers), and Oriental Martha’s Vineyard Lodge (Freemasons). He lives with his family in Edgartown.