What is Sustainability?
From Introduction of Village of Glencoe Sustainability Study:
“Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.” -- U.N. Brundtland Report, 1987
“The earth has a finite capacity to provide resources and to absorb waste, and human demands already exceed that capacity. Current lifestyles in the developed world, to which many people in the developing world also aspire, rely on depleting natural capital and are unsustainable. The United Nations have stated, in the Millennium Declaration, that "current unsustainable patterns of production and consumption must be changed". Yet weight of information and scientific evidence is often insufficient to produce necessary social change, especially if that change entails moving people out of their comfort zones. There is a wealth of advice available to individuals wishing to reduce their personal impact on the environment through small, cheap and easily achievable steps. But the transition required to reduce global human consumption to within sustainable limits involves much larger changes, at all levels and contexts of society.” -- WikipediaDefinition 2009.
People across America have become aware of the broad importance of Sustainability in their lives. Conservation and efficient use of energy, respect for the natural environment and reduction of waste are all increasingly vital components for our future and simply cannot be ignored any longer. Leadership shown by municipalities is essential to enhancing these local quality-of-life issues that go hand in hand with sustainability. The unique identity of each community will drive public engagement, help formulate goals, establish planning objectives and measure outcomes.
Glencoe has an unparalleled natural beauty of lakefront, ravines, and parkland. Its citizens are educated and affluent, its built environment is architecturally diverse and rich and it is well connected via multiple transportation networks to a great metropolitan area. As we move forward, a more comprehensive approach to sustainability will enhance and preserve these qualities.
Past "Green" Initiatives:
Quite a few of Glencoe's green initiatives date back many years. The Village has been awarded the Tree City USA designation every year since 1985, has had a Tree Preservation Ordinance in place since 2000, has long standing lawn sprinkler regulations and has had a residential recycling program in place since 1990 with consistently high levels of participation. The Village uses impervious surface regulations, adopted in 2007, to reduce storm water runoff and has considered steep slope regulations (draft at this point) to protect sensitive bluff and ravine properties. Hybrid vehicles have been added to the municipal fleet over the years. Recently, the Glencoe Golf Club achieved designation as a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary. The Village regularly promotes Green initiatives via the website, a dedicated section in the Glencoe Quarterly, and through community events.
Recent Sustainability Activities:
In 2009, the "Village of Glencoe Sustainability Study" was completed by the Contextual Design Review Commission (CDRC) in response to a directive received from the Village Board, concluding an approximately 9-month long review and analysis. The Sustainability Study serves as an introduction addressing: the components of a sustainability plan (Chapter I), what sustainable practices Glencoe currently employs, what neighboring communities are or are not doing, and what national communities on the forefront of sustainability are doing. (Chapter II). It concludes with broad recommendations and next steps (Chapter III).
In 2010, the Village Board directed the Plan Commission to undertake sustainability as one of its projects. The Village Board determined that the Plan Commission, based on its broad representation, was well suited to spearhead the kind of Village-wide support and involvement needed for a successful effort in the sustainability area. In particular, the Village Board charged the Plan Commission with reviewing the "Recommended Strategies" and "Next Steps" included in the Sustainability Study. The Plan Commission hosted two Forum Nights in which 15+ public bodies, community groups, organizations, and boards participated in sharing with the Commission their current and future sustainable initiatives, practices, and policies. Following the forums, the Plan Commission narrowed its focus to the following four key initiatives:
1) Develop a user-friendly, intuitive website for residents and students to learn more about best practices;
2) Form a "Green-Alliance", collaborating with public bodies, community groups, organizations, and boards to promote broader sustainable programs;
3) Conduct an internal audit of Village regulations to identify any barriers that may inadvertently impede sustainable efforts; &
4) Pursue pilot projects that educate and encourage residents to undertake sustainable measures in their own households.
In June 2011, the Village Manager formed the Sustainability Working Group (SWG) to assist him, the Plan Commission, and Village Board in advancing sustainability initiatives in the community. Over the course of 18 months the SWG completed the above four initiatives, which are summarized in its Final Report & Recommendations to the Plan Commission. On January 16, 2013, members of the Plan Commission received the Sustainability Working Group’s Final Report & Recommendations and voted unanimously to forward the report to the Village Board.
Members of the Sustainability Working Group are:
Walt Eckenhoff, Chairman
Beth Dunn, Chicago Botanic Garden
Jean Hahn, Glencoe School Board
Hall Healy, Public-at-Large
Andre Lerman, Glencoe Park District
Laurie Morse, Public-at-Large
Dudley Onderdonk, Public-at-Large
Mark Piltingsrud, Public-at-Large
Larry Smith, Public-at-Large