Fact: Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to power a television for three hours and burn a 100-watt light bulb for four hours.
Once I get past the reality that I currently have enough aluminum cans in my garage to power every television in my neighborhood, I realize the impact that such an innocuous fact has, not only on my family, but on all of us.
Today, the concept of being eco-friendly has gone far beyond the mandatory recycling programs in place in most communities. Instead of being green, we want to be “sustainable”.
The concept of building a sustainable community is still relatively new, but a simple search on Google for “sustainable communities” yields about 8,120,000 results and it is considered an integral component of many communities’ master plans.
According to Sustainable.org, which provides resources and training tools for communities and schools, the programs that promote social equity and foster broad-based citizen participation in its planning and implementation, are the most successful.
A quick search through RelocateAmerica’s list of Top 100 Places to Live for 2011 turned up five (although there are many more) that are building sustainable communities with longterm benefits.
Buffalo, NY – Residents of Buffalo’s West Side have come up with a way to tackle poverty, and the problems that go with it, head on. PUSH is a grassroots nonprofit community organization, which stands for People United for Sustainable Housing. It works to make affordable housing a reality by revitalizing existing homes, training and hiring the residents to work on the projects, and ensuring that quality schools, healthcare, and transportation are accessible.
Washington DC – The Greening Downtown DC initiative is a longterm project focused on improving energy efficiency, educating businesses and residents on green best practices, enhancing public spaces, and creating transportation options that reduce the dependency on carbon-based fuels. In March 2011, the District became the nation’s first city to partner with PepsiCo’s nationwide Dream Machine recycling initiative. This is a program that places kiosks and bins in high traffic public spaces in an effort to increase the U.S. beverage container recycling rate from 34% to 50% by 2018.
Austin, TX – The city’s Office of Sustainability has identified five themes for creating a sustainable community:
- Austin Climate Protection Program – which is working toward making Austin the leading city in the nation to fight against climate change.
- STAR Community Index –Austin was one of 10 cities chosen to help measure community sustainability
- Austin Green Business Leaders – enables local companies to partner with the City on “green” initiatives
- Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan – outlines the city’s vision for a sustainable future
- Sustainable Communities Grant: Regional Plan for Sustainable Development – Austin was one of 45 communities chosen nationwide to receive a grant from HUD to develop a regional plan for sustainability.
Portland, OR – The city’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability develops creative and practical solutions on issues such as comprehensive, neighborhood and environmental planning, urban design, waste reduction and recycling, energy efficiency, food and solar technologies.
Rochester, NY – This fall, Rochester hosts its first Greentopia Festival, a two day celebration of the green movement. Businesses and organizations will showcase products and programs that help restore the planet, promote green living, and save consumers money. The event is scheduled for September 17-18, 2011.
This is just five of the hundreds of communities throughout the U.S., and the world, that are creating a sustainable future.
What is your community doing? Write and tell us and we’ll feature it in an upcoming blog post.
by Robin Taney
Director, Community Development
RelocateAmerica™ offers relocating consumers a directory of over 6,000 community profiles to research and review useful information about the local housing market, the culture of each community, activities and local businesses. Featuring community specific relocation resources and links to knowledgeable local services to assist with an upcoming relocation.
RelocateAmerica’s Research Team determines the list based on review of various data gathered for economic, employment, housing, education, industry, opportunity, environment and recreation along with feedback from area leaders & residents.
Since 1997, RelocateAmerica has served millions of relocating consumers by providing real estate and moving resources. RelocateAmerica also helps promote small and medium-sized businesses by leveraging the community’s attributes.
RelocateAmerica is headquartered in Brighton, Michigan.
- The 4 C’s of community building (holykaw.alltop.com)
- Sustainable Cities International Welcomes Campbell River to our Network! (sustainablecities.net)
- Tools for Sustainable Cities (blogs.hbr.org)