Monday, April 20, 2009

THINK GLOBALLY, ACT LOCALLY -- Ultimately, the most important solution to sustainable design and urban and regional planning is yourself. There is not one solution to sustainability that is the best fit for all communities. Each community has its own unique needs and potentials. The key is citizen activism and commitment to the principal of making their own community sustainable. Out of such citizen activisim around the world are coming the most wonderful solutions. An example is the Danish island of Samso. Covering an area of 46 square miles, or approximately the size of the island of Nantucket, the citizens of Samso decided that they were going to make themselves totally energy self-sufficient. By constructing wind turbines, solar panels, and burning their biomass to produce energy, not only has Samso become totally energy self-sufficient -- but it now exports energy to the Danish mainland! Following the Samso example, the entire country of Denmark has now committed to energy self-sufficiency and produces 20 percent of its total energy needs from wind turbines, and has become the world's leading manufacturer and supplier of wind turbines. This compares to the United States where only 1 percent of our energy comes from wind turbines. Isn't ironic that a country has vast as the United States with its huge potential for wind turbines has to buy wind turbines from Denmark to install in Texas, California and elsewhere throughout the country. Denmark and the people of the island of Samso have learnt the basic lesson that not only does sustainability make environmental sense, but it also makes economic sense.

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