The Hills at Southampton is a housing development project that has been condemned by many local civic leaders - yet the evaluation process by the Town lumbers forward. The South Fork’s future depends upon a land use plan that strengthens regional agriculture, water quality, and biodiversity; lowers fossil fuel consumption; expands affordable housing options; and adapts to sea level rise. The Hills at Southampton, which avoids these critical issues, would offer a private golf course, high-end housing, and a plan to reduce nitrogen impacts to local waters. In rejecting this project, the Town Board should insist that future projects meet the triple bottom line goals outlined in the Town’s Southampton 400 sustainability plan.
A new Hampton Bays nonprofit is trying to provide this innovative style of leadership. The Ecological Culture Initiative, led by Marc Fasanella, Rachel Stephens, and Jeff Schultz, advocates for economic revitalization efforts that protect and enhance local lands and waters. New development projects should benefit the economy, the local community, and the environment. The rest should be rejected. A permaculture education center and a food forest in Hampton Bays are just some of ECI’s new ideas. An easy way to support ECI is to purchase tickets for the award-winning, 2016 documentary SEED: The Untold Story. If enough people preorder tickets online, SEED will be shown at the Hampton Bays UA theater complex on January 19th, 2017. As Hampton Bays residents know, east end film festivals usually avoid Hampton Bays. Here’s a chance to tell both UA and film festival promoters that Hampton Bays welcomes interesting documentaries as much as other South Fork venues. This event is also an opportunity to learn more about ECI’s plans for building an economic future that is healthy, fun, and inspiring.
Scott Carlin, Ph.D.
Co-Chair, UN DPI/NGO 66th Annual Conference - Director, LIU Post Center for Sustainability
The January 19th film screening of the Documentary SEED sold out at 150 seats and ECI is working with a partner to secure an additional screening of SEED in Hampton bays in the months to come.
The LIU Post Center for Sustainability has formed a partnership with ECI to bring ecology based Certificate and Undergraduate coursework to Hampton Bays.
A previous version of this essay appeared as a letter to the editor in the December 22nd issue of the Southampton Press it appears here courtesy of the author.