County considers sustainable future initiativeCounty Board Supervisor Bob Browne is hoping Douglas County becomes a leader in sustainable living.
By: Shelley Nelson, The Daily Telegram
County Board Supervisor Bob Browne is hoping Douglas County becomes a leader in sustainable living.
Tonight, he’ll explain a program that could give the county a leading edge on the movement to ensure lifestyles today are sustainable for generations to come.
The Early Adopters Project is looking for 12 to 15 Twin Ports groups to participate in the year long program. The project provides training, hands-on application and implementation of sustainability plans for each of the organizations, said Jerry Hembd, one of the project organizers. He is the director of the Northern Center for Community and Economic Development at the University of Wisconsin-Superior.
The project — funded by the Zeppa Family Foundation, the Fund for the Environment and the Mitchell Family Fund of the Duluth-Superior Area Community Foundation — is open to businesses, nonprofit organizations and government entities throughout the Twin Ports.
The Natural Step, a Canadian nonprofit organization that provides advisory and training services in sustainability, provides training to two to five people from each participating organization.
“The training would be sort of learning about the natural step, using some of its principles to do a baseline evaluation of each organization — so these participants would be doing a real hands-on evaluation of their own organization — use that information to do some things they would like to take action on,” Hembd said. “One of the advantages of having this group of organizations and people is they will be getting together periodically over the year … in a peer learning sort of step.”
He said participants would be sharing what they learn, which will enable people to do some things they never thought of before. At the end of the year, when the organizations are implementing their plans, Hembd said they will share what they’ve learned with the community.
Browne likens it to “training the trainer” in sustainability.
“It will be training for the county,” he said. “It will not only be good for the county, but for these people in their personal lives. The idea is they would pass this on to their fellow workers and their neighbors and their families. It’s kind of a bottom-up approach.”
A long-time advocate for the environment, Browne sees benefits that could enhance the quality of life in Douglas County, throughout Wisconsin and the world. He hopes what Douglas County learns through the project can become a model.
“We cannot continue to use our natural resources at the rate that we are because there will be nothing left for future generations,” Browne said.
“It’s meant to sort of provide ideas for people that aren’t early adopters and perhaps this will continue to unfold over time,” Hembd said. “… I’m really encouraging organizations in Superior to step up because this is meant to be a Twin Ports project, so we’re really hoping to have broad representation from both sides of the bridge.”
For more information about the project or an application, see www.sustainabletwinports.org, or contact Hembd at 394-7200 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Jan Karon at 722-7200 or email@example.com. Applications are due April 22.
Contact Shelley Nelson at (715) 395-5022 or snelson