Last night 12 Hartland residents gathered at Bin 111 in downtown Hartland to begin a 6 week study circle of The Natural Step process. We sipped Merlot and discussed our ideas of the definition of sustainability and shared frustations and visions we have for our small village.
The Natural Step (http://www.naturalstep.org/) is an international non-profit organization dedicated to promoting sustainability in municipalities, businesses and communities. The concept began in Sweden in the 1980's where there are now numerous sustainable communities and businesses (i.e. IKEA) who have adopted the principles. The movement has since spread around the world and to the United States. Wisconsin has a growing network of communities who are at varying points along the journey. Local resident, David DeCourcy-Bauer participated in the Oconomowoc study circle and is leading the effort here in Hartland.
I love the Natural Step concept as it demonstrates that growth, progress and economic success are not necessarily in conflict with environmental stewardship. In fact, the movement began in a small Swedish town during a time of recession and job loss. We can have communities and businesses and families that are all of these things.
This small citizen initiative has inspired me to start blogging here again. I hope to share some of my reflections and ideas here is hopes that this will be one of many "conversations" we have about sustainability in Hartland and all of our communities.
I will leave you with an inspiring quote from the Natural Step website
"The size of the problem equals the size of the opportunity"