This community can agree on one thing: that the future will bring challenges. Success in facing those challenges will require an acknowledgment that we are, in fact, one Island. Shaping a community that adapts successfully to the limitations of living on an Island requires attention to basic principles of sustainability. The Martha’s Vineyard Commission is empowered by the legislature to help navigate that course, and the regional development of the sports complex is a good test. Both natural-grass and plastic-grass playing surfaces wear out. The difference is that plastic fields are not renewable. They are not sustainable. They pollute the environment with micro-plastics that shed as part of their design life. Natural grass surfaces also wear out. But they can be renewed in a sustainable manner, provided there is community will. The playing-surface issue is a test of whether we will embrace principles of sustainability to minimize negative environmental impacts on our Island. Future generations will expect no less, for this issue and for the many other challenges that are sure to follow.

Brendan O’Neill

West Tisbury

The writer is executive director of the Vineyard Conservation Society.