Quick take

  • Lots of initiatives, no comprehensive master plan
  • Insufficient sense of urgency and advanced planning
  • Everyone can play a role

Anyone who follows national and international news stories about climate change, sustainability issues, and environmental health needs no reminder that as a species we face enormous challenges. Every indication is that people everywhere are required to act. While we may find ourselves feeling helpless in the face of such huge problems, it’s important to remember that individuals can take meaningful action. The recent Project Drawdown demonstrated this. And more importantly we can demand that our municipalities create policy frameworks that enable entire communities to respond.

Bundling initiatives into a comprehensive master plan

In 2007, the Portsmouth council declared that the city is now an eco-municipality, in other words a community that takes environmental and sustainability issues very seriously. The status requires the city to:

  • Reduce dependence on fossil fuels and extracted underground metals and minerals
  • Reduce dependence on chemicals and other manufactured substances that can accumulate in nature
  • Reduce dependence on activities that harm life-sustaining ecosystems
  • Meet the hierarchy of present and future human needs fairly and efficiently.

Our city is already taking a multi-pronged approach to sustainable practices, environmental stewardship, and action to address climate change. We are a coastal community and we will be affected like coastlines everywhere by sea level rise.

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