By Chris Ford

As we begin a new decade, Tennesseans look to elected leadership that will both understand and honor two facts that should appear self evident: Tennessee is both a land mass in which we are blessed and privileged to live and a unique and diverse people who call the land within these boundaries home.

Our state is home to many of the most biologically diverse and beautiful pieces of the planet anywhere on Earth. From the mountains of the east to the mighty Mississippi in the west, we both cherish and rely upon the beauty and bounty of these resources for economic stability, healthy living and a way of life that is unique and worth protecting.

In order to maintain this sustainable balance, we must both rely upon and call upon our elected leadership to begin to protect these resources in a sustainable manner that does not divorce strong economic development from strong environmental protection. Weakened environmental safeguards and shortsighted economic gains will seek to sell our birthright for the proverbial bowl of stew if we do not advocate a sustainable future for those futures of generations that inherit our state.

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