The end of the year is a good time for reflection. As 2014 draws to a close, I’m reflecting on Project 468 – what I’ve done, what I’ve learned, and how I’ll apply those lessons in the future.
First, let’s do the numbers:
· 3 Lopez Minutes
· 19 blog posts
· 30 Lopez place pages uploaded to Mixby
· 398 photos
· 400(ish) bike ride miles around the island
· One bike accident (no broken bones)
· 600 Paul Allen DVDs
· Dozens of new friends
Stories aren’t about numbers. Stories are about people. The real lessons so far have come from the people who make up this incredible island – the Lopezians. From them I’ve learned about what it takes to be a sustainable community. I’ve learned that Lopez is leading the way to ensure San Juan County, a Leave No Trace “Hot Spot,” maintains its natural beauty. I’ve learned what specific actions my family can take to contribute to a “zero waste” Lopez. I’ve learned that Lopez Island is home to one of the most successful and progressive community land trusts in the world, which is not only helping to build a sustainable community but also spark entrepreneurship. I’ve learned about so many examples of innovation that are inspiring the next generation of these entrepreneurs. I am deeply humbled by these people and their stories.
Speaking of entrepreneurs, I’ve also learned a lot from the folks at Artifact Technologies, maker of the Mixby app. Beyond simply making their app available to help tell the stories of Lopez, they have given me endless guidance over the past few months as I’ve curated these stories. They are big fans of what’s happening on Lopez and have told me they love what I’ve been doing to build out the community aspects of their platform (I think it’s the people of Lopez who should take the credit for that, by the way). And, Artifact is so impressed with the Lopez community that they just agreed to be a sponsor for this spring’s Tour de Lopez bike ride.
Somebody once taught me the steps for reflection, the final of which is action. What action am I going to take based on my learnings? Everything I’ve learned along the way has reinforced my vision for Project 468– to promote a sustainable Lopez by capturing and promoting the stories of the island, via this blog and the Mixby app. After some reflection, I’ve become clearer that the path to that isn’t necessarily about bringing a lot more people to Lopez, which would very likely upset the delicate balance of beauty, community and slower pace that makes this place so special. More important is making the experience of this place even richer and telling the story of Lopez more broadly so that, just maybe, we can inspire others to become more like Lopez – instead of requiring Lopez to become like everywhere else.
As we head into 2015, I clearly have my work cut out for me. My objective remains to get as many interesting places on Lopez Island – along with the stories that go with them – into the Mixby app by the time people register for the Tour de Lopez bike ride in February. I’ve really just scratched the surface. In the new year, I’ll more deeply investigate the multitude of Lopez farms. I’ll talk to more of our community leaders. And, I’ll be paying much closer attention to the sounds of Lopez. What’s up with these Growlers anyway?
To all you Lopezians (residents and Lopezians-in spirit), thank you for following along. I hope your holidays are filled with peace, joy and all the happiness this community can bring.
Thank you to Karlena Pickering from Lopez Village Properties for the amazing photo above of Fisherman Bay.