ECO-Tours only purchases trees and dirt to plant them in...

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Open Letter to Mark Zuckerburg

First off, congratulations on your wedding! May your lives compliment one another and benefit one another in ways as yet unimaginable. Secondly, hats off to you on the recent public offering of stock in Facebook! I was trying to conceive of what a valuation of 101 billion would be like. Surely, it is at best arbitrary and as fickle as any other stock that is offered in certain ways, but what if there is something more valuable than profit to future generations? What if a private institution put, for instance, just one billion toward conservation or sustainable travel destinations. I am thinking specifically about the ability to preserve nearly one million acres of Lake Superior Watershed. Making a substantial commitment to conservation would create a platform on which to build the next seven generations of your product line. Certainly, a set aside of any land for watershed protection would put your company in good stead with the truly conservation conscious. As more and more people realize that 90% of native ecosystems have been eliminated. The old business models that always produce boom bust economic cycles. Investment in intact ecosystems that are established as conservation reserves, literally saving acres of both head-water and estuary, along with all the creeks and streams that tie them together

Imagine the slogan, One percent for the Earth. Not only is it funny in light of the occupy movement, but it could be a trend setting business model to jump start more sustainable ventures.

I have never understood the short sighted world view of most corporate entities. There are places for people to invest that pay back benefits far more valuable than mere dollars. If a single river can be protected, would it not be worth investing in? I have long-awaited (since age seven. I'm fifty now) a time when there would be enough wealth in the hands of young people to get investment in improving our relationship with the planet. I hope that this is the time I have been waiting for.
Trees planted nearly twenty years ago now cover about three acres, part of headwaters between the East River, Brown County and the Devil's River, (West Twin) Manitowoc County, Wisconsin.

My dream project is building a series of summer camps for both children and adults. A place that provides therapeutic respite from the hectic pace and pressures of modern life. My wife and I have knowledge, skills and attitudes that would assure success in whatever venture we undertake.  The guests, eco-tourists, campers, or members, would have all inclusive stays, like the best resorts. To keep costs reasonable and maintain our sustainable farm, guests would learn to do some chores and participate in work parties as well as find time alone by a waterfall or hiking along the North Country Scenic Trail. A recent controversy here in Wisconsin is that a tiny minority wants to site a "sulfide overburden" mine upstream of tribal lands. Their best estimate was that about seven hundred jobs would be created. This same outcome could be accomplished with a sustainability school/camp/resort, there just are no big investors standing by to fund eco-friendly development.

My wife and I started a local not-for-profit about seven years ago and since then our group has planted tens of thousands of trees as well as spreading over two million tree seeds across Northeast Wisconsin. I believe, reforestation, especially in the head water areas of the water that we depend upon for our survival makes more and more economic sense. The worse pollution gets elsewhere, the more valuable pristine air and water become. A great man once said, "One day, we will find that we cannot eat money," I believe it to be the greatest gift to learn to nurture nature, share what I have learned from nature and perhaps train others to protect it, to recover the Earth from our arrogant abuses.

I recently heard the term for people like me... we are bioneers. In the early eighties, I built a system for fish, food and filtration that fed and watered my porch garden and my compost closed the loop. What I continue to learn about sustainability is that understanding and appreciating all of our relationships to the Earth and one another echo whether we understand the environment to be sacred, or profane. Sustainability requires that we master the art of the give away. No abundance is  inherently valuable. It only has value when you give it away. Nature has virtually infinite abundance when you treat it well, caring for the planet may be our only hope to sustain our culture, and getting to the business of teaching ECO-Ethics needs to be a

Please let me know what you think of these ideas, anxiously awaiting a response,
Tony C. Saladino-Director, ECO-Tours of Wisconsin Inc. Green Bay, Wisconsin


  1. Well said Tony. I hope your dream becomes reality, soon. Bev