Typically, when we think about the beginnings of the green movement, we think of people like John Muir, the founder of the Sierra Club, Olaus and Mardy Murie, after whom The Murie Center in Jackson Hole, WY is named, or other notable naturalists and conservationists of European heritage. However, it is the Native American Indians who have been practitioners of conservation and sustainability centuries before Europeans set foot in North America. For most of these native people, using only those natural resources that were necessary for survival, plus having a deep understanding of the relationship between all living things, has been a state of mind for centuries.
I have a good friend by the name of John Potter, an Ojibwe Indian and a well known wildlife artist (http://johnpotterstudio.com) He has shared with me his thoughts and observations regarding the relationship between native American people, nature and wildlife. They have a holistic understanding and appreciation of the individual characteristics, personality and purpose of all plants and animals. One is not dominate over the other. Each is dependant upon the other-hence a mutual respect.
John also never forgets to appreciate his natural surroundings. A couple of summers ago, we hiked to Bald Mountain Lake from our campsite on the Chain Lakes in the Wind River Range here in Wyoming. Upon reaching the lake after about an hour plus hike, John was so impressed with the beauty around him that he brought out his ceremonial pipe to give thanks to the creator for this special place.
In 1995 John and his brother Scott were selected to perform a ceremony immediately prior to the release of the first wolves into Yellowstone National Park since their eradication from the region earlier in the century. This was a real honor for John. He has spoken to me several times about the deep connection between the wolf and man’s evolution. It was the wolf who taught man his social and hunting skills early in man’s history. Seeing them released into the Yellowstone ecosystem once again was a great moment for John and his brother. For the complete story of this event, please read the article in Wildlife + Art Journal. Although humans have developed much more socially, intellectually and physically since the mentorship of the wolf, only the Native American Indian still appreciates the broader significance of this animal and its place in our more urbanized environment.
Our fellow Native American population has a lot to offer to our understanding of the importance of caring for our environment. They do not know it as the “triple bottom line“, but their approach toward nature is just that – an innate understanding of immediate and long term economic, social and environmental impact of man’s daily actions on the land, water and atmosphere and the other people who share it. To any Native American Indians who may read this blog post, your willingness to share your understanding of your relationship with nature with us Europeans has never been more critical than today.
What can the rest of us do?
We can all become better listeners. We can also be participants in maintaining a sustainable environment as a buyer or seller of real estate. As a buyer, be sensitive to listings with green features. As a seller, make sure your agent lists any green features in your home. if updating is required to make your home more saleable, include upgrades that contribute to energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality, durability and sustainability of the environment. And don’t be too shy to ask for help if you don’t fully understand these terms. Please feel free to contact me to learn more about these green terms, green real estate in general and Jackson Hole real estate in particular.
Jackson Hole Sotheby’s Int’l Realty