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Sustainability Toolkit

Sustainability Toolkit

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Published by Shawn Tisdell

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Published by: Shawn Tisdell on Jan 02, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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10/28/2010

 
Toward a
Sustainable
 Community:
“Thefutureisliterallyinourhandstomoldaswelike.Butwecannotwaituntiltomorrow.Tomorrowisnow.”
–EleanorRoosevelt 
A Toolkit orLocal Government
 
Toward a
Sustainable
 Community:
A Toolkit or Local Government
Authors:Sherrie Gruder,
UW-Extension,Madison,SolidandHazardousWasteEducationCenter 
Anna Haines,
UW-StevensPoint,CenterforLandUseEducation
Jerry Hembd,
UW-Superior,NorthernCenterforCommunityandEconomicDevelopment 
Lisa MacKinnon,
1000FriendsofWisconsin
Jane Silberstein,
UW-Extension,AshlandCounty 
Peer review:Andrew Dane, UW-Extension, Barron CountyElaine Andrews, UW-Extension Environmental Resource CenterContribution on ull cost accounting by Jay Moynihan, UW-Extension, Shawano County
©January, 2007. All rights reserved. Available electronically at
www.shwec.uwm.edu
Funded in part by Focus on Energy.SHWEC Pub. No. 625.SG.0701
Coverphotos(toptobottom):S.Gruder,M.Rehwald,1000FriendsofWisconsin,andS.Gruder.
 
This is a crucial time
or people to rethink how we meet our needs today to helpto ensure a desirable uture or ollowing generations. Local government ocials must play theirpart in reinventing our institutions to help communities and residents stay healthy and whole.This is because we have entered an era where human generated pressures on the natural worldare unprecedented and threaten our current way o lie. A ew examples include depletion o nonrenewable resources – 65% o U.S. oil is gone and the world is at or past peak oil; insucientdrinking water or two thirds o the world’s population; consumption o land and loss o topsoil atunsustainable rates; projected loss o 90% o the world’s sheries by 2048; extinction o a distinctspecies o plant or animal, on average, every 20 minutes (qualiying the present period as one o the six great periods o mass extinction in the history o Earth
1
); and the presence o 250 persistenttoxic chemicals not known beore 1945, many o which are now ound in human tissues.Global climate change is considered the most serious threat acing the world today. Dueto human activities, our atmosphere contains 2 percent more carbon dioxide, one o the maingreenhouse gases that keeps heat rom escaping the earth’s surace, than at the start o theindustrial era.
2,
Carbon dioxide is one o the main greenhouse gases that keeps heat rom escapingthe earth’s surace. We put 70 million tons o it into the atmosphere every 24 hours.
4
Global warming,one measure o climate change, reveals a rise in the average global temperatures substantiallyhigher than at any time in the last 1,000 years.
“Climate change threatens the basic elements o lie or people around the world – access to water, ood production, health, and use o land andthe environment.”
5
 
Sir Nicholas Stern, the ormer chie economist o the World Bank, released a report warningthat not ghting global warming now could bring on a worldwide depression, shrinking the globaleconomy by 20%. The report states that i we continue with the status quo rather than taking actionto address global climate change, up to 200 million people could become reugees as their homesare hit by drought or food.
Stern ound that the cost o action to cut emissions is manageableand that the economics show it is urgent to cut emissions now. “Mitigation – taking strongaction to reduce emissions – must be viewed as an investment,” the report states.
Yet,atimeofgreatchallengeisalsoatimeofgreatopportunity.Andlocalgovernmentscanbeinstrumentalinmovingcommunitiestowardsolutions.
Local governments have a key role to play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions byincreasing energy eciency and reducing ossil uel use.
6
Some approaches include phasingout coal plants, expanding renewable energy sources and public transit, and implementing neweciency standards or vehicles and buildings. Local governments can also pass policies thatprotect natural resources, which are climate-sensitive public goods.
1
Levin, Donald, A.,The Real BioDiversity Crisis, American Scientist, January-February 2002 
2
Oreskes, Naomi, Beyond the Ivory Tower: The Scientic Consensus on Climate Change, Science  December 2004: Vol. 06. no. 5702, p. 1686 
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report, Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis, Summary orPolicy Makers, February 2007. With input rom 2,500 o the world’s leading scientists, economists and risk experts, is the most comprehensiveevaluation o climate change. http://www.ipcc.ch/SPM2eb07.pd Also see Union o Concerned Scientists, Global Warming FAQs www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/science/global-warming-aq.html
4
Gore, Al, Transcript: Finding Solutions to the Climate Crisis, New York University School o Law, September 18, 2006 
5
Stern Review: The Economics o Climate Change, Executive Summary, p. vi, October 0, 2006.
6
David Suzuki Foundation, Climate Change: Impacts and Solutions http://www.davidsuzuki.org/Climate_Change/Science/

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