sustainability

Denveright: A Community Planning for Process for Denver’s Next 15 Years

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Denveright is a community-driven process for shaping Denver’s future over the next 15 years. The first public session was held this morning at McNichols Civic Center Building in Denver.

Open to the public, the Denveright sessions seek strong community involvement. Planning focuses on four key areas: land use, mobility, parks, and recreational resources.

Brad Buchanan, Executive Director, Community Planning and Development at City and County of Denver, opened the session. Buchanan introduced the opportunities for creating a bright and sustainable future.

Brad Buchanan, Executive Director, Community Planning and Development at City and County of Denver, opened the session. Buchanan introduced the opportunities for creating a bright and sustainable future.

Jay Renkens, Principal & Director of Denver Area Operations at the architectural and planning firm MIG, reviewed Denver's previous planning successes and outlined the current planning process.

Jay Renkens, Principal & Director of Denver Area Operations at the architectural and planning firm MIG, reviewed Denver's previous planning successes and outlined the current planning process.

Phase 1, the Kick Off, is currently underway. The process will extend to Phase 4, Documentation and Adoption, in the winter of 2018.

Phase 1, the Kick Off, is currently underway. The process will extend to Phase 4, Documentation and Adoption, in the winter of 2018.

Denveright encourages you to Get Involved. The schedule of upcoming meeting is here.

John Oró, MD

 

First "State of the Planet Declaration"

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Research now demonstrates that the continued functioning of the Earth system as it has supported the well-being of human civilization in recent centuries is at risk. Without urgent action, we could face threats to water, food, biodiversity and other critical resources: these threats risk intensifying economic, ecological and social crises, creating the potential for a humanitarian emergency on a global scale.

Thus begins the first State of the Planet Declaration prepared by the Planet Under Pressure 2012 conference just concluded in London. The report outlines the “key messages emerging from the proceedings” and includes the important framework of planetary boundaries, those Earth systems, such as biodiversity, climate change, and ocean acidification. The report continues:

In one lifetime our increasingly interconnected and interdependent economic, social, cultural and political systems have come to place pressures on the environment that may cause fundamental changes in the Earth system and move us beyond safe natural boundaries. But the same interconnectedness provides the potential for solutions: new ideas can form and spread quickly, creating the momentum for the major transformation required for a truly sustainable planet. (emphasis added)

The “distant ideal of sustainable development” is no longer a guiding vision. The vision is much more immediate:

Global sustainability must become a foundation of society. It can and must be part of the bedrock of nation states and the fabric of societies.

Denial of climate change is in retreat. Unrelated to the conference, General Motors this week announced it will no longer fund the Heartland Institute, “a Chicago-based nonprofit well-known for attacking the science behind global warming and climate change.”

Also, meteorologist Shawn Otto writes:

No, you’re not imagining it: we’ve clicked into a new and almost foreign weather pattern. To complicate matters, I’m in a small, frustrated and endangered minority: a Republican deeply concerned about the environmental sacrifices some are asking us to make to keep our economy powered-up, long-term. It’s ironic. The root of the word conservative is “conserve.”

Those denying climate change for economic or political reasons are becoming marginalized. The movement for action is slowly building. "Will it occur soon enough?" is the question of our era.

Download PDF of the Declaration

The Idea of an Ecovillage

Post by John Michael

Teepee and Cotopaxi: A teepee, which is part of the housing at Comuna de Rhiannon, sits in the foreground, while volcano Cotopaxi looms behind.

There are many opportunities to create systems that work from the elements and technologies that exist. Perhaps we should do nothing else for the next century but apply our knowledge. We already know how to build, maintain, and inhabit sustainable systems. Every essential problem is solved, but in the everyday life of people this is hardly apparent.

Permaculture: A Designer’s Manual by Bill Mollison

I’ve heard a lot about sustainability, and I know that it’s a good thing, but I’ve rarely seen it in practice, and never to the extent that it’s practiced here, at Comuna de Rhiannon, a farming commune located within the Andes Mountains, and about an hour to the north of the Ecuadorian capital of Quito. Sustainability is the operating idea at Comuna de Rhiannon, and it governs the fate of everything that lives within the commune’s boundaries, from the hogs that are used to till Rhiannon’s soil, which is rich in volcanic ash, as the farm is surrounded by several volcanoes, to the food that is leftover from meals, which is either used as animal feed or as compost, depending upon what it is. Sustainability is such an integral part of the culture at Comuna de Rhiannon that on my third day here I found myself being teased by two young British men, who were residents of the commune at the time, because I had double-spaced my texts before printing them, and because I did not print on both sides of a sheet of paper. “That’s not at all sustainable, John,” chided Will. “No, absolutely not,” agreed Rob, who punctuated his statement by shaking his head in tongue-in-cheek disappointment. But, instead of reacting with annoyance, as I tend to do when I’m teased, I was pleasantly intrigued by the exchange, because it was the first time that I’d ever been teased about my sustainability. In fact, it was the first time that I’d ever heard of anyone being teased about their sustainability, and I began to wonder whether the culture of sustainability on display at Comuna de Rhiannon was a sign of the things to come in both Western Culture and, perhaps, Global Culture at large.