The goal of community sustainability is to establish local economies that are economically viable, environmentally sound and socially responsible. Achieving this goal requires participation from all sectors of the community, both to determine community needs and to identify and implement innovative and appropriate solutions. This section presents information from a variety of sources on approaches and techniques used successfully in different communities to develop key aspects of their local economies on a sustainable basis.
Agriculture and Food Systems
Community efforts can preserve agricultural land, encourage sustainable agricultural practices, support local food producers, and facilitate the production and distribution of locally produced food through farmer's markets and cooperative food buying programs. This section presents examples of whole systems approaches to sustainable agriculture.
Aquatic wildlife play a major role in sustaining healthy marine and freshwater ecosystems. It is therefore important that communities associated with fisheries and aquatic ecosystems responsibly manage these resources. Community participation can provide support for sound management practices and remedial programs, as well as for persons and industries engaged in commercial and recreational fishing.
Forestry and Wood Products
Trees are important for both urban and rural ecosystems. Mature trees maintain desirable microclimates and shelter wildlife. Trees also have economic value as a raw material used in producing paper, buildings, furniture, and other wood products. Examples of communities balancing these environmental and economic considerations are in this section.
Manufacturing and Industry
Economically healthy businesses and industries with minimal environmental impact on communities should be encouraged. Communities should work to attract and support such industries and to reduce or eliminate negative impacts from existing industries. New approaches are explored in this section.
Small businesses are sources of employment and providers and consumers of goods and services that sustain the local economy. Their operation should support the local ecology, minimize energy use and waste, and utilize recycled products and materials. Examples are in this section.
Technological advances in business, health, education, and the environment provide new opportunities for communities. More information products are available, and some may have environmental implications. Communities must be current and guide their economies accordingly. This section provides examples.
Economics and Finance
Residents from all segments of the community can play a role in the future of their local economy. Working together, business and government leaders, local non-profit organizations, and citizen groups can analyze needs and resources and guide the economy. Local financial institutions can invest in sustainable community initiatives. Examples of innovative approaches are in this section.
Urban/Rural Economic Ties
It is in the interest of urban and rural residents to work together in mutually supportive ways. In this section are examples of cooperative efforts in land preservation, sustainable agriculture, growth management, appropriate development of rural resources, improved trading and tourism, and development of low-impact regional planning and transportation systems.