Should Northfield become an Eco-Municipality?

July 6th, 2006 by Peter Schmelzer

I’m a little late on this one, but according to the Strib, Duluth has become an “Eco-Municipality”. Maybe Northfield should, too.

What does it mean?

Basically, we as a community commit to ecological principles, which, by the way, support human life better, promote biodiversity, and enhance the bottom line.

Sweden’s been doing it for more than twenty-five years. North America is catching on. Pittsburgh, Duluth, Washburn WI, Ashland WI and several others are part of the North American Eco-Municipalities Network.

It’s all based on The Natural Step, a Swedish framework developed to generate consensus on ecological issues and build upward from there. I’ve attended several seminars about the Natural Step; it’s a strong tool to bring people together and to clearly state the issues.

In a nutshell, there are four principles to be followed:

  • Reduce Mining and Use of Fossil Fuels
  • Eliminate Hazardous Substances Produced by Society
  • Protect Biodiversity and Ecosystems
  • Efficient Resource Use to Save Money, Reduce Waste & Meet Human Needs
  • I think Northfield should give it a look. Since both the colleges have gone “green” and we have a strong movement around Just Foods and ReNew Northfield, let’s take the step as a community and go Eco.

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