Homework Assignment # 2: Sustainable Communities
Part 1: Community Observations
A closer view of my city which is Corvallis Oregon reveals that there is a general lack of sustainability regarding the three dimensions including ecology, social equity, and economy. Most people still get to work using public means of transport which pollutes the environment hence is not sustainable. Further, there are very few locally produced foods available in the community and the number of green spaces like parks, trails and greenways are not that many though there are a few of them around. There is only one gathering place for the community which is a social hall. There is no vibrant local economy as most locals depend on products from other regions. However, there are a few notable areas where my community is practicing sustainability. Some of these include the development of sustainable business challenge through tourism, sustainable forestry practices for landowners and the development of sustainable park systems. Thus, to make things more viable in this area, there is a need for local governments to invest in more sustainable sources of energy, for example, and alternative fuels to save the environment from pollution caused by the industrial plants and transport system. As a study by Konkel reveals, sustainable projects on renewable energy such as the wind-generated power of Alaska have the potential of changing the economic and social lives of communities.
Part 2: Urban Sprawl
Oregon has the Urban Growth Boundary Policy that aims at ensuring efficient and orderly use of farmlands in the urban areas and hence deals effectively with the problem of urban sprawl. The policy also aims at creating stable ecosystems by conserving the scarce resources including forest and farm lands. Also, to help improve the quality of life in Oregon, the policy governs public infrastructural development and land use systems at local and state levels. Further, as a sustainability measure, the UGB policy is intended at creating smart public investments in the highway systems in the country. Several human activities are responsible for urban sprawl phenomenon in Oregon. One of these is the increase in human population and migration from rural to urban areas. Other factors include improvements in infrastructure, the rise in living standards, lack of urban planning and growth in traffic caused by more cars in cities. Some of the consequences to the society due to urban sprawl include an increase in public expenditure, environmental destruction, health complications, adverse impacts on social lives and growth in traffic jams in towns and cities. Yes, I think Oregon’s UGB is an effective land use policy that would help protect farm and forest lands from urban sprawl. This is because it is directed at providing for smart urban development by separating between cities from rural land through a collaborative process.
Part 3: Local Planning for Sustainability
Yes, Corvallis, Oregon, has a sustainability action plan developed by the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition. This plan provides for sustainable facilities, sustainable vehicle carbon footprints, sustainable purchasing and waste reduction or management systems. According to Portney, the availability of a sustainability plan is one of the most significant elements that may be used to assess whether a city is serious about achieving sustainability (43). Through the Community Sustainability Action Plan developed in 2008 provides members of the community with the opportunity to take part in the sustainability process by suggesting additions or changes to the plan. This program also addresses issues such as sustainable transportation system, protection of critical ecosystems including forestlands, health and safety issues, environmental stewardship, social responsibility, energy or fuel use, economic health, land use and infrastructure and climate change. One of the things that this plan does well is the preservation of forestlands and establishment of green parks within the city. What also resonates with me in this program is the fact that it encourages the use of alternative energy sources that have less impact on the environment. However, what surprises me about the scheme is the fact that it does not contain provisions on industrial sources of production.
Part 4: Beginning the Proposal
The purpose of this project is to advocate for the generation of renewable energy sources that would help save the environment from impacts of pollution by the conventional sources of fuel. According to Mazmanian and Kraft, the concept of sustainable communities using the natural capital theory approach in helps in natural resource conservation as humans pursues their economic needs (44). The need for this project is that it will save the community and the city the financial and social costs associated with the use of non-renewable sources of energy. With the current power sources consumption having had significant impacts on the environment, this project will help save the remaining part of the ecosystem. It will help promote a culture of sustainability by supporting the three aspects of sustainability, that is, environmental stewardship, economic vitality, and social equity. Moreover, this project will create such a culture by encouraging sustainability values such as aspiration for zero wastes, more reliance on renewable sources of energy, limit greenhouse gasses and pursue green initiatives. This project will be implemented in Corvallis, Oregon community where apparently there is a great need for such a project to help create awareness about the need for sustainability. The project will have effects on the environmental aspect of sustainability by reducing pollution and creating a richer environment. Socially, it will change lives by reducing impacts of non-renewable sources of energy on people’s health. Economically, it will significantly save the cost of treating illnesses caused by pollution and also minimize the cost of fuels since they will now be generated naturally and cannot be depleted. According to Oukta, energy efficiency through renewable energy is one of the most viable alternatives that would help reduce the consumption of fossil fuels, mitigate climate change and advance energy sustainability goals (62). This is what this project will seek to accomplish.
Value for Project Leaders/Team What I hope to learn from this project is the need for a more sustainable life and environment within my community. Through it, I also hope to find out how the community and local leaders will react to it which will influence the initiation of such other projects in future. It will support my academic, professional and personal learning objectives by helping me evaluate my community’s sustainability practices, the vision of the local leadership for sustainable future and also help horn my expertise in sustainable resource management. Some of the sustainability knowledge and know-how that I hope to again through this project include human safety and health, society and inclusion, environment and ecosystem skills, resilience and whole life issues and design for life. This project will also give me an opportunity to learn more about issues such as climate change or global warming, its causes, effects and solutions to it. I also hope to know more about how sustainability works and the various designs of a sustainability project. Further, the project will give me an insight into the different dimensions of sustainability and how each can be met. Additionally, it will help improve my professional skills in creating a sustainable community and the preservation of the environment.
Project Goals and Outcomes
Some of the goals that intend to achieve through this project include:
In order to accomplish the goal of ensuring energy savings, I will sensitive people on the benefits of using alternative sources of fuel that do not pose danger to the environment
In order to achieve the goal of reducing waste pollution, I will take action to reduce the number of pollutants being released into the rivers by the local communities.
Attainable: Achieving this goal will enable the local communities to appreciate the significance of a sustainable environment
Realistic: This goal will help have a lasting impact on the communities in Oregon region
Time Bound: This goal sets the specific timelines for the completion of the project and hence ensures that al the initial objectives are accomplished
I will measure the impact of my project by carrying out assessment and evaluation of the project to see whether the goals are being achieved or not. I will keep a database of the project objectives and measure their realization against the expectations. I will measure the impact of the project through evaluation measures. These will include assessment of the project’s progress using both quantitative and qualitative data. Some of the evaluation measures for the qualitative data that I will use in this project include environmental impacts, quality of renewable energy resources and the ability of these sources to meet people’s needs in the most sustainable manner. This will also include the project’s impacts, effectiveness and level of sustainability. On the other hand, the evaluation measures for the quantitative data will include livable communities, environmental protection, renewable energy management, safety and costs of the project.
Lasting Impact & Maintenance Plan
Some of the long-term benefits of this project include:
A more sustainable local community of Corvallis, Oregon
Creation and use of more sustainable renewable sources of energy
Reduced costs of accessing and using energy for homes and public transport
More conducive or enabling environment for people to live in
Efficient use of community resources such as land and forests
Yes, the project will continue after the grant period is completed. From then on, the project will be funded by the well-wishers in the community and other organizations with interests in creating a more sustainable community in Oregon area. Some of the groups that are likely to take ownership of the project and the materials involve include the Corvallis Environmental Centre, and Corvallis Sustainability Coalition. The end-of-life plan for disposal of project materials is to preserve the project materials for future use in other projects or to hand them over to other groups carrying out similar projects within the same community. These materials may also be used by the various organizations that support sustainability in Oregon area in their research projects on sustainability. I therefore plan to dispose of the materials in such a way that promotes sustainability such as through recycling.
Collaboration is necessary for the success of any project, and this one is not exempted. Therefore, to help strengthen my project, I will work together with other organizations whose work and missions are related or relevant to my project’s objectives. These organizations will help provide the necessary equipment for the completion of the project where they are lacking and also provide me with the expert knowledge that I require to complete the project successfully. Hence, the following is a list of community groups, organizations, businesses and mentors that I will partner with and their respective roles:
Audubon Society of Corvallis- Will help support natural environmental conservation
Corvallis Environmental Center- Will contribute to educating and engaging people in creation of a healthy sustainable environment
Arcata Education Farm- Will help in awareness creation on sustainable agriculture and best practices in land stewardship
Humboldt Bay Center for Sustainable Living- Will act as the center for carrying out environmental research on the project, organize sustainability conferences and hold workshops on green business incubation
Konkel, R Steven. "Renewable energy and sustainable communities: Alaska's wind generator experience." International Journal of Circumpolar Health 72 (2013). Web. 14 July 2016. <http://www.circumpolarhealthjournal.net/index.php/ijch/article/view/21520>.
Mazmanian, Daniel A and Michael E Kraft. Towards Sustainable Communities: Transition and Transformations in Environmental Policy. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 2009. Print.
Outka, Uma. "Environmental justice issues in sustainable development: Environmental justice in the renewable energy transition." Journal of Environmental and Sustainability Law 19.1 (2012): 62-121. Web. 14 July 2016. <http://scholarship.law.missouri.edu/jesl/vol19/iss1/5>.
Portney, Kent E. Taking Sustainable Cities Seriously: Economic development, the environment, and quality of life in American cities. Cambridge, Massachusetts & London: The MIT Press, 2013. Print.