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   What is Sustainability?



Because the City & County are both consumers of our resources and stewards of our environment, we must incorporate the principles of sustainability.

“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 Natural Step (TNS) framework was developed in Sweden in 1983 by a group of scientists led by Dr. Karl-Henrik Robèrt. Dr. Robèrt, a pediatric doctor, analyzed the increases in childhood cancer rates and the environment and made the linkage between environmental quality and human health. The Natural Step approach involves the use of a framework of four system conditions, and a four step planning process. 1000 Friends Overview (pdf)

The following guiding objectives of the American Planning Association’s Planning for Sustainability Policy Guide are based on the Natural Step framework and provide the foundation for how individuals, organizations, and businesses can reduce our carbon footprint and live more sustainability. These four guiding objectives for a sustainable society are to develop policies and practices that ultimately:
  1. Reduce our dependence upon fossil fuels, extracted underground metals and minerals.
  2. Reduce our dependence on chemicals and other manufactured substances that can accumulate in Nature.
  3. Reduce our encroachment upon nature.
  4. Meet people’s needs fairly and efficiently.
The second part of the Natural Step approach is the A-B-C-D planning process, or “The Compass.” The A-B-C-D process can be described as:
A – Raise Awareness and common understanding of what sustainability means and The Natural Step framework.
B – Establish a Baseline map or an inventory of present conditions.
C – Create a Compelling vision of the desired future.
D – Get Down to action by creating an action plan.

Since early 2007 the City and County of La Crosse have been working toward the goal of becoming eco-municipalities. Click here for more information about the La Crosse planning process along with the various projects and click here for accomplishments that have been witnessed to date. (pdf)

Click here for more information about how your community can develop in a more sustainable fashion through The Natural Step framework. (pdf)

City & County impacts:

There are over 220 miles of paved streets within the City of La Crosse.

La Crosse County hauls approximately 125,000 tons of solid waste each year.

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