Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sustain What?

This past week during our Natural Step discussion we talked about the definition of "sustainability". Ideas included such things as thinking 7 generations ahead, not taking out more of the earth than you put back in, and the concept of balance. As I played with this word in my head this week, I also started to think of the core word "sustain" which can mean "to keep in existence or maintain". It begs the question, "maintain what?" What do we want to keep in existence in Hartland? What is important to us here to preserve?

I didn't grow up in Hartland. Of all the communities in the greater Milwaukee area, my husband and I chose to live here. What is it about Hartland that we were drawn to 8 years ago and have grown to love since? What aspects that pertain to the environment do we care enough about to work toward preserving? Since this is our children's hometown, what do we want to ensure is kept around or even better for them as they grow up.

Here is my list. I'd love to hear what others in our area would add or what you care about in your community.

1. Walkability-schools, businesses, restaurants all within walking distance for those in village. There are days where I can choose to be car-free.

2. Downtown with lots to offer and even more potential. We can choose to support local, family-run businesses and can avoid the strip malls and franchises for many of our needs. Preserving and renovating historic buildings and the downtown is a push for the village right now.

4. Nice park system connected by trails. The fountain at Nixon park with the river made an impression on me when we were house-shopping. I'd like to see more connection between our trails, but we have a nice start.

5. Ice Age Trail, protected marsh area, Bark River. Lots of natural beauty to keep and expand on.

6. The lots in downtown are deep with nice mature trees. I know you could argue that it might be bettter to have humans live on less land (less development) but I also think that if we are good stewards of the land we own that a good amount of green space per human is ideal for our spiritual wellbeing, air quality, water quality etc. Let's preserve the undeveloped woods in Hartland to keep it this way!

7. Possibility of light rail in the future. This is getting discussed again and we would be on the route. How great would that be to go to the Madison farmer's market by train or even commute into Milwaukee for work? If gas prices stay high, being on a train route will make living in our community desirable (with corresponding rise in home values).

8. Yard waste recycling program. How fun is it that you can still get something for nothing?-free compost, free wood chips!

9. Efforts to naturalize the Bark River. I'd love to find out who did this initial effort and how we can continue it.

10. Businesses with sustainability or preventative focus: Hartland Market, Trails to Bridges, Accupuncture/David Bock, chiropracters, LifeWays Childcare, Health and Happiness.

12. lots of good community activities and spirit. This is more than a bedroom community for Milwaukee workers. People care about this community and are likely to want to come together to keep it nice. Can we have the same degree of impact that Positively Pewaukee did as a citizen group?

13. Options for natural, organic and local foods such as Hartland Market, Health and Happiness, community sponsored agriculture (CSA) pick ups and a small Farmer's Market (with bigger ones not too far away).

14. Options for resuse: Desinger Consigner, Lake Country Caring, Waukesha County Freecycle, US drop box (by Health and Happiness).

15. Green movements in area churches (Lake Country Unitarian Universalist and Church of the Resurrection)

16. Environmental club at Arrowhead and past efforts to compost at Hartland North Elementary School. Kids care about the environment-we should follow their lead!


Anonymous said...

Sounds like you have a beautiful sense of community there. It's thoughtful of you to purposefully sustain it.

ddcb said...

1)I think it is hard to find a better "village" feel in the Milwaukee area.

2)The history of the village also makes it have a sense of permanence.