With this Special Edition, Sustainable Montpelier Coalition (SMC) showcases the winners of their What Comes Next? writing contest.

Thanks to the contest's sponsors, a total of $2,000 has been awarded to these talented local writers (listed below) whose entries are in the following pages:

Winners:

CLEOME'S WEDDING
CHANGE
HERE ON THE FARM
A STORY OF SOUND NATURE

Adult Fiction Runners Up:

AFTER JESS
TAVIA'S QUESTION

The contest was designed to encourage creative and innovative thinking about what a future Central Vermont might be. We were curious to see what tools Vermonters would employ to build a vision of a promising future, rising from the chaos of the climate, economic, health and social challenges of today

Vermonters will one way or another-through thoughtful creativity or careless indifference-shape the future of this state. How we do that is the subject of these thoughtful stories. What we all have learned is that it is not only possible but necessary to rethink and rebuild our relationships with each other, our ecosystems and our economy.

The four winning entries and two runners up printed here in this insert offer a vision of innovations and responses that might emerge between now and 2047. These creative solutions serve as inspiration to people here in Central Vermont and beyond. Rickey Gard Diamond, one of the project's jurors reviewed the youth fiction entries. She writes: "This piece provides a gorgeous vision of how sustainable and progressive Montpelier and Vermont could be in the future. I was impressed by the big and quite detailed thoughts of all these young minds, hopeful for what I heard of public banking, awareness of climate problems and solutions both original and potential, and all referred to women in leadership."

What is noteworthy and persistent in these stories is that the strength and flexibility of the social fabric of a population is key to its survival. Bill McKibben, one of our wise What Comes Next? advisors puts it this way: "When survival depends on an ability to handle chaos, the damage that comes from rising temperatures