Ky. Voices: Ways to encourage sustainability,
By Jim Embry on Jan 9,
The author, left, helps a high
school student plant at the Winburn Community Art Garden.
I was asked to spend a few minutes
talking with Mayor Jim Gray's transition team to share my thoughts about his
Fresh Start plan.
This is a brief sketch of my
presentation to the Quality of Life Committee, which centered on fresh
solutions for sustainable development.
The full presentation with links is
on our Web site http://sustainlex.org/freshstart.html. The ideas include:
■ Teach all employees of the Urban
County Government, the University of Kentucky and Transylvannia University how
to make a paradigm shift in our way of looking at the world. Use such texts as Leadership
Reconsidered by the Kellogg Foundation and Planet U-Sustaining the World
and Reinventing the University. Then initiate a citywide learning
project for all citizens.
■ Implement Local Agenda 21 adopted
by the United Nations in 1992 as the guiding framework for our comprehensive
action strategy for environmental protection, economic prosperity and community
■ Create a city Food and Agriculture
Division and a GROW Lexington Food Policy Council that would work to strengthen
the local food system and provide food security.
■ Create a Commission on Youth
patterned after the Hampton, Va., Youth Commission that would provide an
opportunity for youth to have a formal role in the city's planning and decision
■ Establish in Lexington an
affiliate of Manchester Craftsmen's Guild founded by Bill Strickland.
■ Create a Sustainable Cities
Commission headed by University of Kentucky professor Richard Levine who
designs entirely new cities for China and who can guide a human systems view
integrated within our eco-system.
■ Create a Youth Green Corps in
every council district with young people involved in planting trees, supporting
garden plots, cleaning up empty lots, creating art installations from recycled
objects and learning environmental literacy.
■ Create a Lexington Ecumenical
Sustainability Council that would articulate ways the faith community can
support our community direction toward sustainable development.
■ Create an Arts and Sustainable
Development Council composed of arts organizations, artists and the media
working collaboratively to create the new songs, poetry, theater, dance and
visuals that help make our transition to sustainable living irresistible.
■ Create a Diversity in Skilled
Trades Commission that would open the closed doors of the commercial
construction skilled trades in Lexington to workers who are African-American
■ Create a Commission on Women to
improve the quality of life for all women and in particular those who are at
risk. Such programs as Vermont Works for Women should be studied as a model for
similar efforts in Lexington.
■ Provide language translation
services on the government Web site like on the Boston website,
www.cityofboston.gov. Many people have come to Lexington from other countries
also seeking a fresh start and should be embraced as an important part of our
■ Use the Dudley Street Neighborhood
Initiative (dsni.org) of Boston as a model for Lexington's East End. DSNI is a
high performing holistic community change effort that began in 1988 and
continues to create a vibrant, high-quality diverse urban village.
■ Study and implement the Mondragon
(Spain) worker cooperative enterprise model. Cleveland, Ohio, is building a
re-localized cooperative economy based on the Mondragon model and recognizes
that worker co-ops are one of the most transformative things communities can
undertake to rebuild the local economy.
■ Institute a Meatless Monday
campaign patterned after the effort instituted by Johns Hopkins School of
Public Health as a way to improve our health and reduce our carbon footprint
that impacts climate change.
A Fresh Start plan can be a
springboard to dynamic activity and purposeful innovation. But it is also an
opportunity to inspire people on their deepest level to change their behavior
and their collective actions to secure a sustainable future on Earth.
To succeed, we must involve all
sectors of our community, and draw from our traditions and new technologies,
from our hearts, our minds and our spirits.
Jim Embry is director of the
Sustainable Communities Network in Lexington.
Read more: http://www.kentucky.com/2011/01/09/1592669/ky-voices-ways-to-encourage-sustainability.html#more#ixzz1AYDUbFtY