2020 will be remembered as a year that changed everything. Alongside Pearl Harbor Day, the Kennedy assassination, and 9-11, the Spring of 2020 will take its place among the most seismic and transformative times experienced in the United States.
What does this mean for the Big Bend and Far West Texas region?
It is way too soon to tell what the lasting impacts will be for this unique and mysterious desert landscape. BBCA reached out to 45 insightful individuals across the region to get an early glimpse of what might be coming and what new ways of thinking might be helpful to move forward.
A series of one-on-one, in-depth phone interviews were conducted with a diverse mix of scientists, teachers, musicians, oil and gas executives, ranchers, mayors, water district managers, park superintendents, tourism promoters, journalists, river guides, store owners and philanthropic foundations.
Together, these interviewees make up a mosaic of people who are noted in their field of expertise, who know the region intimately, and who in their own ways are growing, protecting and fiercely loving the Big Bend region.
This research summarizes what these thought leaders have to share about the future at this pivotal moment in history.
2020 represents an unprecedented, once-in-a-lifetime chance for the region to forge a new vision and the new relationships necessary to solve its longstanding conservation challenges—economic stability and energy security without environmental degradation or disrespecting private property rights.
To move forward, the research suggests the following series of achievable steps:
Celebrate the Dark Skies Model as a stunningly effective case study. Learn how to replicate this success in other areas and educate the region on its key principles. Explore how water security and conservation can fit this model.
Focus on a unified vision of a new, more stable economic paradigm that includes investing in solutions for protecting water, expanding tourism, and investing in significant upgrades in health care and education, along with responsible energy production.
Strengthen cross-discipline partnerships across the region, including industry, advocacy and educational/public health infrastructure.
Focus time and community energy toward understanding and dismantling historical racial intolerance and rebuilding highly inclusive relationships and communication networks that can ensure a far more equitable and shared regional vision.
Rapidly accelerate ways for the next generation to work together on the kind of future they deserve.
BBCA and its research partners would like to express our deepest appreciation to the 45 regional thought leaders who agreed to be interviewed for this project and expressed a desire to continue dialogue and meaningful engagement. We dedicate this research to the next generation who will inherit the fruits of our efforts.
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