Sustainable communities & schools

I have a dream: That humanity will …. Learn to live sustainably within the limits of our finite world. David Wasdell

I think my dreams were not big enough. I was looking for equality, not transformation. … We are all linked, not ranked. Gloria Steinem

We need to keep both hopeful dreams and nightmare scenarios in mind if we are to build a world that can support life and is sustainable. Sally Weintrobe

FDR’s last written words!

Today we are faced with the pre-eminent fact that, if civilization is to survive,
we must cultivate the science of human relationships -
the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together and work together in the same world, at peace. Franklin Delanor Roosevelt

Principled procedures for decision makers in sustainable communities

A sustainable Earth isn’t just the physical matter that is the planet. To be sustainable we must consider the health of all living organisms: their physical, social, psychic systems and their relationships that make them healthy and enduring.

Principled procedures are descriptions of the kinds of actions people will use to guide their decisions and interactions based on their beliefs, wisdom of practice, research, and ethical considerations. In this case for the manner in which people want to be treated and to support a sustainable Earth.

  1. Always ask of any proposed change or innovation: What will this do to our community? How will this affect our common wealth.
  2. Always include local nature – the land, the water, the air, the native creatures – within the membership of the community.
  3. ecological world view
  4. Always ask how local needs might be supplied from local sources, including the mutual help of neighbors.
  5. Always supply local needs first (and only then think of exporting products – first to nearby cities, then to others).
  6. Understand the ultimate unsoundness of the industrial doctrine of ‘labor saving’ if that implies poor work, unemployment, or any kind of pollution or contamination.
  7. Develop properly scaled value-adding industries for local products to ensure that the community does not become merely a colony of national or global economy.
  8. Develop small-scale industries and businesses to support the local farm and/or forest economy.
  9. Strive to supply as much of the community’s own energy as possible.
  10. Strive to increase earnings (in whatever form) within the community for as long as possible before they are paid out.
  11. Make sure that money paid into the local economy circulates within the community and decrease expenditures outside the community.
  12. Make the community able to invest in itself by maintaining its properties, keeping itself clean (without dirtying some other place), caring for its old people, and teaching its children.
  13. See that the old and young take care of one another. The young must learn from the old, not necessarily, and not always in school. There must be no institutionalized childcare and no homes for the aged. The community knows and remembers itself by the association of old and young.
  14. Account for costs now conventionally hidden or externalized. Whenever possible, these must be debited against monetary income.
  15. Look into the possible uses of local currency, community-funded loan programs, systems of barter, and the like.
  16. Always be aware of the economic value of neighborly acts. In our time, the costs of living are greatly increased by the loss of neighborhood, which leaves people to face their calamities alone.
  17. A rural community should always be acquainted and interconnected with community-minded people in nearby towns and cities.
  18. A sustainable rural economy will depend on urban consumers loyal to local products. Therefore, we are talking about an economy that will always be more cooperative than competitive.


Source Wendell Berry. Conserving communities.
In The case against the global economy: and a tune toward local. Sierra Club Books. 1996


Guidelines for green public schools

  1. Curriculums will include opportunities for students to learn about climate change and sustainable solutions to prepare them as global citizens and for good jobs in a green economy.
  2. Public school buildings will run on renewable energy, have healthy air, and clean water, and be prepared for any local climate impacts.
  3. Public school's land will be a sustainable safe place to play and learn. Considering the use of the lands impact on its neighboring community's environment (heat, water runoff, flooding, ...)
  4. Transportation for students will run on clean electricity or cleaner fuels.
  5. Public schools will serve healthy food, with strong consideration for using locally grown. Consider how not to waste food and when food isn't used it is diverted or composted.


Additional resources


Home: Pedagogy - theory, curriculum, learning, human development, & teaching


Dr. Robert Sweetland's notes
[Home: & ]