What’s the best way to understand what becoming a ‘sustainable town’ can do for residents and communities? Three eloquent, experienced, passionate and knowledgeable advocates shared their thoughts on the Green Radio Hour show on March 23rd. Highlights from the discussion follow as told by interviewee Tahirih Smith.
The most important lessons that I took from the show on sustainable towns were that:
In a world where the 4 year electoral cycle works against long-term planning, the sustainable town program is a way for communities to plan for the long-term health of their communities.
It is about the practical, getting things done and problem-solving, rather than the political or ideological. A sustainable town will be a more attractive place to live – and to do business.
It is holistic, not just about traditional ‘green’ issues but about creating communities that are economically, environmentally, physically and spiritually resilient in the face of the multiple challenges that we face.
If we can get this right and get all towns in the US to commit to becoming sustainable, this would be a significant step towards addressing the issues of emissions, waste, poor transport and urban planning etc and would also introduce many people to the practical benefits of being sustainable. Who would not want less traffic? Lower taxes? Better flood planning? A better quality of life attracting businesses? Less waste? More good food grown locally?
This can be done and the sustainable town program can benefit residents, communities and the country as a whole. Over 420 municipalities in NJ alone have started down this road including those run by both Republicans and Democrats, urban, suburban and rural.
We learned what the challenges were, either from activists seeking to equate sustainability with communism (!) or from a lack of resources in small towns. Statewide organizations give great support to such towns but such towns need committed residents to push and support the town leadership, to volunteer their time and energy to making it work.
If you want to learn more and live in the area, attend the Living Local Expo at the National Guard Armory on Saturday. This is also a great opportunity to support local businesses and organizations.
About the Green Radio Hour
The Green Hour is sponsored by Duke Farms. Duke Farms serves as a model of environmental stewardship and inspires visitors to become informed stewards of the land. It is a place of education, enjoyment, and inspiration that enhances the environmental health of the region. To learn more go to dukefarms.org. To listen to the show all this week, go to www.panjradio.com at 3 and 6pm.