NewVistas’ Goal: ‘Greenwashing’

Opinion / Sep. 1, 2016 10:02am EDT

To effect positive community change, ask members of the community what they want, encourage local leadership, and support the needs as identified by the community. David Hall’s top-down approach to thrusting his highly regimented NewVistas lifestyle onto our communities takes the exact opposite approach, and the results could not be more damaging.

The NewVistas’ grossly manipulated, homogeneous lifestyle is surrounded by one of the greatest examples of greenwashing I’ve ever seen.

Greenwashing is a term for something that comes across as environmentally friendly but actually hides harmful practices. NewVistas is touted as a model of sustainability and ecological advancement, yet Vermont has long been an environmental leader.

Our communities already enact renewable energy and reduction measures, such as resident, commercial, and community solar panels; composting toilets at the law school; Stagecoach transportation; and electric vehicle plug in stations.

Our farms boast organic farming practices and residents, restaurants, and schools value buying local meats and produce. Furthermore, we already have a number of groups who work on creative solutions for local sustainability. NewVistas is not bringing anything superior to our lifestyle, but it will bring overwhelming abuse of our infrastructures.

Forcing urban sprawl on a massive scale into a rural area without existing infrastructure to support 20,000–1,000,000 new residents (by NewVistas estimates) would completely alter not only our beautiful landscape, but also community control.

If Mr. Hall held any meaningful concern for our global environment (after having already made his millions by harmful drilling), one would think his team of 150 engineers working on mega-development would focus on helping those in immediate need. Turning a happily rural area into the largest city in the state is the most backward way possible to go about community development.

Why not propose some of his ideas to the urban communities of Flint, Michigan, whose water supplies are poisoned and who has the urban populace numbers in place? Why not put out a call across the nation and work with people whose majority of residents actually want NewVistas?

NewVistas is not about saving the environment; it’s about regulating how you live your life.

Vermont has long struggled with how to attract and retain young people. Imagine two newlyweds starting their life together—with all four walls shared with others. Imagine raising your family here—in 200 square feet of space per person.

How many of you are perfectly comfortable with fully abstaining from caffeine, alcohol, and meat, all disallowed in NewVistas. (And don’t try to sneak them in; one of Mr. Hall’s 150 engineers invented a toilet that monitors the dietary output of each resident. I only wish I was making this up.)

Sadly, folks in our community now have to devote their time, energy, and money toward stopping this monstrosity, instead of putting their efforts into volunteering for local organizations or events, or spending time renovating their homes, or any number of things that would directly contribute to our area.

Here’s what Mr. Hall needs to do: he needs to abandon any and all plans to erect his NewVistas “project” in Central Vermont, or any other location where the plan is unwanted for that matter, and sell the land back to people who want to live here on their own terms. To do otherwise is a hostile takeover of our beloved communities.

Courtney Collins

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