Future Perfect : Engaging Local Communities In Sustainability

City of Albany, NY

The Capital Region of New York has recently published a draft Sustainability Plan, (CC, 2010, UpstateNyer)

It is an understandably gloomy beginning to the New Year. Global climate change negotiations have failed yet again, this time at a meet held in Qatar in late 2012, leaving the rest of us wondering why they hold these high-level talks with such depressing regularity. State-side, a crippling drought, wildfires and the incredibly destructive Hurricane Sandy has done precious little to break the stony silence emanating from Washington. Does that mean we start going the way of “climate adapters” and stock up on disaster rations? Thankfully, there is still hope for our future. Local governments, both big and small, are stepping up to the challenge of creating resilient, sustainable and vibrant communities of tomorrow. The US is leading the effort with over 600 state & city governments that have incorporated sustainability into their planning processes. These pioneering communities are part of a network known as ICLEI – Local Governments For Sustainability, working together to transform the climate change debate from the bottom up. Continue reading

A Love Story Can Save Our Planet

Lonesome George, last of the Pinta Island Tortoises. (CC putneymark, 2007)

“100 critically endangered species at the brink of extinction”

“Only 3000 tigers left in wild”

“36 football fields deforested each minute”

Grim, isn’t it? The world we manage seems to get worse every day and all we can do is shake our heads in helplessness. We want to do something, anything, but all we feel is a pervasive sense of gloom and a slow-spreading paralysis. We are fast losing most of our natural wealth and we seem unable to reverse the situation. Why do we not jump up and save the world? If anything, these frightening messages of “irreparable loss” have the opposite effect on most of us. We end up pulling a warm, fuzzy blanket over our heads and try to bury ourselves in a little bit deeper. Continue reading