Community Supported Sustainability

Anna Zawisza : Tuesday July 16, 1:22PM

Implementing sustainability is a team sport.   We’re not used to this team approach – we want someone else to do the heavy lifting that leads to social change.  But ultimately, unless all of us are participating, sustainability remains elusive.

This was quite evident recently when the Alliance partnered with Pueblo County and the SouthEastern Colorado Renewable Energy Society (SECRES) to hold the Pueblo Regional Sustainability Roundtable on energy and waste.  The Alliance’s last Roundtable in Pueblo was in 2009 and a lot has changed in 4 years.  There are more people interested in sustainability as evidenced by the turnout.  In 2009 we had less than 15 attendees while in 2013, that number jumped to over 40.  More importantly, Pueblo County now has a comprehensive Strategic Sustainability Plan and the County Commissioners are very much in favor of sustainability measures.  This is good news on all fronts – more people interested and a roadmap of how to get to a more sustainable region.

Now for the tough news – we ALL must play a part.  In the Pueblo Roundtable discussions, it was clear that people wanted a full-time Sustainability or Energy Coordinator who would just make things happen.  Even if such a position was fully funded, it still takes the entire sustainability community to come together and help implement certain measures.  One person can’t do it.  One organization or government can’t do it.  It really takes a village.

Pueblo is not alone here.  We, as sustainability advocates, must embrace our role to actively participate in our communities’ sustainability paths.  Otherwise, we are doing what’s easy – being complacent and waiting for things to change on their own.  In my opinion, that’s never a good strategy.

So get out there and make change happen.

Author Bio:

Anna manages programs at the Alliance and also serves as the Deputy Director. She is responsible for advancing sustainability by increasing awareness, creating tools that accelerate progress and activating Colorado’s sustainability network. She is committed to working with people of all backgrounds and from all sectors of society in order to create a greater collective impact on sustainability. Prior to joining the nonprofit sector, Anna spent 12 years in the student loan industry focused on sales and marketing. She earned her B.S. in Management Science at SUNY Geneseo in 1994 and completed her M.B.A at Webster University in 2003. Anna’s passion for sustainability grew out of her love of the outdoors – she skis, hikes, camps and spends as much time as possible in the woods.

One Response to Community Supported Sustainability

  1. Nicole Brown says:

    I was struck by your article about the Pueblo Roundtable. I agree, it takes everyone, a village as you say, to reach the sustainable future we envision. I see in your bio that you are responsible for “advancing sustainability by increasing awareness, creating tools that accelerate progress”. I have an idea that I think would do just that.

    I recently moved here from NJ where I was actively involved in the Sustainable Jersey program and was on the board of trustees of Sustainable Morristown– and, respectively. Both programs worked towards codifying and unifying municipalities over sustainability. They acted as clearing houses for best practices and funding outlets for implementation of programs. I have a vision of bringing a similar program to Colorado. This can be accomplished with the help of the Alliance and other interested stakeholders.

    I would love to come to the center and meet to discuss this further or get involved with similar projects. Please contact me at your earliest convenience. 303-859-2637 or [email protected].

    Nicole Brown