roadmap to sustainability
From a resource perspective, sustainability is entirely local. The resources you have to manage to sustain a high desert environment (Nevada) are different than those you manage in a costal environment (Florida.) This difference effects how you create your built environment and manage your living world.
Achieving sustainability on the other hand is cultural. It requires a paradigm shift from a disposable society to a society focused on achieving sustainability in all aspects of daily life. We achieve sustainability through ecoliteracy.
Where the Pathway to Ecoliteracy is about the cultural aspects, the Roadmap to Sustainability is about managing our resources to sustain our built environment and our living world.
Nevada has gone a long way to achieve the sustainable energy resources necessary to support our built environment. Our Nevada Portfolio Standard has allowed our utilities to switch from coal to renewable energy. Tax abatements based on the United States Green Building Council’s (USGBC) LEED certification have helped the construction community build some of the largest, most energy efficient buildings in the world. Without the Portfolio Standard and LEED tax abatement legislation, which was passed by the Nevada Legislature and signed by the Governor, none of this would have happened.
Our next challenge will be managing our living world resources. Chief among these resource management challenges is water. Water is critical to every aspect of our daily life, not the least of which is food production. Water, energy and food production are inextricably linked. Solving the water/energy/food crises will require a paradigm shift that looks at how to maximize our gallon per calorie and kilowatt per calorie production.
The new agroecology movement is an example of this new paradigm. From a resource management perspective smart farming practices will help reduce the amount of electricity necessary to pump water from our emptying aquifers. However, smart farms require access to broadband. Rural access to broadband will be critical to Nevada's ability to implement smart farming practices.
The marriage of sustainability in the built environment and the living world is exemplified by the challenges faced in our urban areas. Solutions here include net-zero buildings, building integrated agriculture, urban agriculture, and a host of technologies that improve building efficiencies. Implementing these solutions will require a shift in perspective and leadership. That shift will come about when we institute an ecoliteracy curriculum in our schools. The rewards are a more sustainable Nevada.
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