Sustainability is a hot topic not only on campus, but in our surrounding communities. From Fairhaven to Taunton and New Bedford to Westport, community gardens, energy groups, sustainability plans, and citizen action groups are springing up. Spawned by an awareness of climate change and peak oil as well as by financial necessity, these groups are beginning to collaborate in increasingly structured ways.
The Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development Department (SRPEDD) and UMass Dartmouth's Office of Campus and Community Sustainability co-sponsored a series of regional gatherings designed to 'build a regional collaborative working towards a sustainable future and to give communities the resources they need to move toward economic and environmental sustainability.'
These meetings grew into the formation of a Southestern Massachusetts Council for Sustainability which meets quarterly. Still in the works is an official plan for the Regional Council, though it has been operating now for over a year to bring about sustainable transformation. It's draft plan reads, in part:
The Council will act as a leadership forum and network to connect, facilitate, support and coordinate sustainability efforts and initiatives throughout Southeastern Massachusetts.
The Council will act as a regional coordination point for targeted efforts at achieving sustainability in food and agriculture, transportation, energy, natural resources and economic development. The Council will work to unite these elements into a regional plan for sustainability.
The Council will endeavor to secure and provide technical support by identifying expertise within UMass Dartmouth, SRPEDD and among regional resources for sustainability efforts and initiatives throughout the region. Planned working groups include food, economic development, transportation, energy, and resource use.