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Sustainable Communities – Reality ?

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Most people find the word “sustainability” and the fact of trying to live in a sustainable way or community appealing. They believe it is only about recycling or green washing, and not a deep concern for our planet or our ability to reach our life’s goals and live happily.

Well, let’s try to understand it.

A sustainable community is one that is economically, environmentally, and socially healthy and resilient. As a result, this community manages its human, natural, and economic resources to meet current needs while ensuring that adequate resources will be equitably available for future generations.

It is important to keep in mind that this can be done without rejecting the many benefits that modern technology has brought, provided the technology also operates within those limits.

Besides we should be able to share what we have, improve our potential and quality of life meanwhile we try to enhance and protect nature and Earth’s systems.

So, knowing all this, what are the principles that a sustainable community has to look at?

The organization One Planet Living (www.oneplanetliving.org) summarizes these very well:

  1. Zero Carbon:
    Making buildings more energy efficient and delivering all possible energy with renewable energies.
  1. Zero Waste:
    Reducing waste, reusing where possible, and ultimately sending zero waste to landfill.
  1. Sustainable materials:
    Using sustainable and healthy products, such as those with low embodied energy, sourced locally, and made from renewable or waste resources.
  1. Sustainable water:
    Using water more efficiently in buildings and in the products we buy; tackling local flooding and water course pollution.
  1. Equity and local economy:
    Creating bioregional economies that support fair employment, inclusive communities and international fair.


Another excellent initiative to keep an eye on is the Institute for Sustainable Communities (http://www.iscvt.org). They “work in regions where communities are powerfully motivated to make the shift toward sustainability and they have focused more intensely on the biggest GHG emitters (China, India and US)”. In India, they are mostly working on urban systems and sustainable manufacturing because they capability of sustainable change. One of the programs is training factory’s managers to improve health and the environment. Another is training city-level practitioners on GHG monitoring to implement the most effective low emissions development strategies possible. There are significant and good choices to start making a change in this country and everywhere.


Finally, if you have time I totally recommend you this short video by again One Planet Living. It makes you appreciate well what the fundamental principles of sustainable development are. Really interesting and useful! Enjoy!


About the Author

Ariadna Caixach is a passionate about writing, sustainable development and green living.

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