Sustainable and community; two words that have taken on a range of meanings in recent years and when put together create endless opportunities for ensuring a peaceful, healthy planet for generations.
What is a Sustainable Community
Sustainable communities are forward thinking, prioritizing being good stewards to ensure current and future generations have the resources and opportunities to thrive. Inclusivity is a key component ensuring that diversity is welcome and prosperity is for all. In 1995 ISC (Institute for Sustainable Communities) established the following as key elements for sustainable community:
LEADERSHIP, CIVIC ENGAGEMENT AND RESPONSIBILITY
- Equal opportunity for all individuals to participate in and influence decisions that affect each of their lives.
- Adequate access to public information.
- A viable, nongovernmental sector.
- An atmosphere of respect and tolerance for diverse viewpoints, beliefs, and values.
- Encourages individuals of all ages, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religions, and physical ability to take responsibility based upon a shared vision.
- Political stability.
- Does not compromise the sustainability of other communities.
- Satisfaction of basic human needs for clean air and water and nutritious, uncontaminated food.
- Protection and enhancement of local and regional ecosystems and biological diversity.
- Conservation of water, land, energy, and nonrenewable resources, including maximum feasible reduction, recovery, and reuse and recycling of waste.
- Utilization of prevention strategies and appropriate technology to minimize pollution emissions.
- Use of renewable resources no faster than their rate of renewal.
- A diverse and financially viable economic base.
- Reinvestment of resources in local economy.
- Maximization of local ownership of businesses.
- Meaningful employment opportunities for all citizens.
- Provision of job training and education to help the workforce adjust to future needs.
- A reliable food supply that optimizes local production.
- Adequate health services, safe and healthy housing, and high quality education for all members of the community.
- Maintains a place that is safe from crime and aggression.
- Fosters a community spirit that creates a sense of belonging, a sense of place, and a sense of self-worth.
- Stimulation of creative expression through the arts.
- Protection and enhancement of public spaces and historic resources.
- Provision for a healthy work environment.
- Adaptability to changing circumstances and conditions.
There is no one path to a sustainable community the key is to just get started. Whether it is just within your immediate household, neighborhood, or workplace; listen to everyone's needs, research best practices and implement change. Every small change leads to a bigger transformation and do not be afraid to adjust when necessary.
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