ISC-Audubon

 
 
 

The Sustainability Campaign

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By: Ron Dodson

     We believe that in order to achieve the vision associated with a more sustainable society, some things must grow – jobs, productivity, efficiency, wages, capital and savings, profits, information, knowledge and education – and others – pollution, waste and poverty – must not. The Sustainability Campaign is aimed at forging partnerships with businesses, universities, governments and not-for-profits, encouraging the adoption of the ISC Principles of Sustainability.

We are promoting: Conservation - Education - Nature-based Tourism

The Clean Power Plan


In 2009, EPA determined that greenhouse gas pollution threatens Americans' health and welfare by leading to long lasting Power Plant Stackchanges in our climate that can have a range of negative effects on human health and the environment. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the primary greenhouse gas pollutant, accounting for nearly three-quarters of global greenhouse gas emissions and 84% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

The electric power sector accounted for 32% of U.S. total greenhouse gas emissions in 2012. Greenhouse gas emissions from electricity have increased by about 11% since 1990 as electricity demand has grown and fossil fuels have remained the dominant source for generation.

Fossil fuel-fired power plants are the largest source of U.S. CO2 emissions. Fossil fuel-fired power plants use natural gas, petroleum, coal or any form of solid, liquid, or gaseous fuel derived from such material for the purpose of generating electricity.

Unchecked carbon pollution leads to long-lasting changes in our climate, such as:

  • Rising global temperatures
  • Rising sea level
  • Changes in weather and precipitation patterns
  • Changes in ecosystems, habitats and species diversity

These changes threaten America's health and welfare for current and future generations. Public health risks include:

  • More heat waves and drought
  • Worsening smog (also called ground-level ozone pollution)
  • Increasing the intensity of extreme events, like hurricanes, extreme precipitation and flooding
  • Increasing the range of ticks and mosquitoes, which can spread disease such as Lyme disease and West Nile virus

Our most vulnerable citizens, including children, older adults, people with heart or lung disease and people living in poverty may be most at risk from the health impacts of climate change.

We urge you to watch the 2 video presentations presented below to learn more about the plan. We also urge each of you to offer your comments and thoughts on the plan through the EPA Clean Power Plan Portal HERE






Sustainable Communities & Resource Management


ISC-Audubon promotes sustainability, which means that we advocate a balance of economic, environmental and social betterment for the present Moabgeneration, while taking into account the yet to be known needs of future generations.

This is not an easy thing to accomplish because there are many opinions about what is valuable, as there are people on the Planet. But, ISC-Audubon believes that science should be the cornerstone of our decision making process, and to us that means using a Sustainable Resource Management approach and Best Management Practices, coupled with input from citizens who have a stake in the decisions being made. But…since future generations do not yet have a voice, we must try our best to make decisions that include what we believe will leave a legacy for these yet to be born citizens.

An example of how complex this approach is, would be the balancing of the use and enjoyment of public lands. Public lands themselves are a valuable resource that are owned by the American public. Public lands, provide enormous environmental benefits, just because the land and waters that comprise them are there. But, within these public lands there are a wide variety of additional natural resources and therefore a wide range of people have interest in using those resources.  Two examples are recreational resources and energy resources, both of which have economic value. The question is; can both exist, and be utilized in the same location.

This topic is coming to a head in many locations, including Moab, Utah. This is a region that harbors significantly important public lands and public resources. The question being asked is; can we and will we be able to balance the ecological, economic and social benefits of these public lands and resources?




An Open Letter to the Leaders of Golf


 

A Sustainability Proposal for Golf

 

By:       Ronald G. Dodson, Chair

             ISC-Audubon

             July 29, 2014

 

Over the past 4 decades I have been teaching. First in the classroom and then for the past 35 years Sustainability Exitthrough one not-for-profit organization or another. During all of that time I have been teaching about nature, the environment and trying to motivate people to become more aware of and engaged in the conservation of natural resources and protection of the environment.

For the past 25+ years I have been advocating the benefits of properly sited, designed, constructed and managed golf courses as an example of a type of a land use, that can both provide what is typically associated with “development” and what is often thought of typically being associated with parks or even nature sanctuaries. For the past few years I have been engaged in an effort to foster sustainability in golf. This effort is aimed at helping golf build on the previous conservation accomplishments and to move toward economic viability and social betterment, and to compliment the environmental achievements made. This effort resulted in the trademarked ISC-Audubon Sustainable Golf Facility Program. After nearly 3 years of work it is interesting that only 1 golf facility (PGA Golf Village and their 3 courses) has actually participated in the program to the point of earning the designation of Certified Sustainable Golf Facility.

In recent years the terms; conservation and environment seem to have taken a back seat to sustainability. Sustainability is not just about the environment but includes economic and social values as well. I believe that some people believe that because I have promoted the virtues of golf from an environmental conservation point of view, that I also believe that golf is also based in sustainability. Let me set the record straight on this:  Golf is not sustainable.  A sustainable golf course is one that operates from the perspective of economic viability, environmental health, and social benefit.  It is the balancing of these three elements, and their integration into a management approach, that will lead to a firm and productive future for the golf course industry.  While I continue to believe that properly sited, designed, constructed and managed golf courses can offer conservation value to the communities in which they are located, the golf course industry has done little to improve the state of the world, or even their own communities in regard to sustainability issues. 

But, here is the thing….over the past 4 decades hardly anyone has done much to address the issues associated with sustainability. If we had, there wouldn’t be billions of people without access to clean water or basic sanitation services. There wouldn’t be millions of children dying every year from waterborne diseases. There wouldn’t be millions of people “living” on less than $1 U.S. dollar per day. At least a few of Earth’s ecosystems wouldn’t be in a serious state of decline and we wouldn’t be losing species to extinction at a faster rate than any time in recorded history. So, I’m not picking on golf for what it has accomplished in regard to environmental stewardship, I am hounding the golf industry to really step up their game and become a true leader in sustainability.  Yes, I realize that golf is just a game and yes I realize that most golfers really just want to have a fun day on the course and would like to sink every putt. But, Earth and life on Earth is teetering on the brink. Someone…some group of people need to become leaders of change.  Why not the leaders of golf?

So, what would it mean for golf to become a leader in sustainability? What would we do? What would we advocate? Step one in the process is to realize that moving toward sustainability is a continuous effort. There is no end in sight. It is an attitude, but we can’t wish ourselves to a more sustainable future, we must work ourselves there, one step at a time. In addition to walking the walk, golf needs to talk the talk. I’m not talking about spinning PR about how great golf is and all the benefits of turfgrass either. I’m talking about not only taking credit for what golf has done, but to encourage other types of land owners/managers to also get involved in the sustainability movement also. For the leaders of golf to truly embrace sustainability, the industry must really care about their communities and all of the people in their communities. That means golf must care about people who don’t play golf and probably never will. People who don’t know where their next meal is coming from will never worry about a round of golf taking more than 4 hours to play! Should the leaders of golf chose to become catalysts for sustainability, then I believe golf can have a sustainable future.

Below I offer several points of consideration about sustainability that I believe are important to the overall effort. The “golf industry” has an opportunity to truly lead a sustainability movement, not just because it will be good for golf, but because it is critically important for the future of all life on Earth.

Personal Sustainability is Critical

Businesses and communities are made up of individual people.  This is where sustainability begins.  Without an individual commitment to personal sustainability, no business or community can truly be sustainable.  While money is thought of as the power that runs our collective abilities to live, it is the individual that must act on the personal level regarding sustainable ethics, health, purchasing decisions and professional and personal lifestyle choices.

The Role of Government

The role of government is to facilitate sustainability by protecting the freedoms of individuals, so that people can exercise their rights and take actions that will deliver the principals of sustainability.  A free and competitive market allocates resources in the most efficient manner. Each person has the right to offer goods and services to others on the free market. Free enterprise-based sustainability demands that “external costs” regarding environmental and social issues be internalized as costs of producing and delivering goods and services. The only proper role of government in a free enterprise-based economic system is to protect property rights, adjudicate disputes, and provide a legal framework in which voluntary trade is protected. All efforts by government to redistribute wealth, or to control or manage trade, are improper in a free society that is based in free enterprise-based sustainability.

Economic Sustainability is Essential

Cooperation to promote a supportive and open economic system that would lead to economic growth and sustainable development, to better address the problems of environmental degradation is essential. Trade policy measures for environmental purposes should not constitute a means of arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination or a disguised restriction on trade. Environmental measures addressing transboundary or global environmental problems should, as far as possible, be based on an international consensus.

Land Owners Have the Right to use Resources

Land owners have the right to use their own resources pursuant to their own environmental and developmental policies, federal, state and local laws, and the responsibility to ensure that activities within their jurisdiction or control do not cause damage to the environment of other areas beyond their limits of jurisdiction.

An Integrated Approach

Business, education, and the community should work together to create a vibrant local economy, through a long-term investment strategy that encourages local enterprise, serves the needs of local residents, workers, and businesses, promotes stable employment and revenues by building on local competitive advantages, protects the natural environment, increases social equity and is capable of succeeding in the global marketplace.

Vision and Inclusion

Communities and regions need a vision and strategy for economic development. Visioning, planning and implementation efforts should continually involve all sectors, including the voluntary civic sector and those traditionally left out of the public planning process.

Poverty Reduction

Both local and regional economic development efforts should be targeted to reducing poverty, by promoting jobs that match the skills of existing residents, improving the skills of low-income individuals, addressing the needs of families moving off welfare, and insuring the availability in all communities of quality affordable child care, transportation, and housing.

Local Focus

Because each community's most valuable assets are the ones they already have, and existing businesses are already contributing to their home communities, economic development efforts should give first priority to supporting existing enterprises as the best source of business expansion and local job growth. Luring businesses away from neighboring communities is a zero-sum game that doesn't create new wealth in the regional economy. Community economic development should focus instead on promoting local entrepreneurship to build locally based industries and businesses that can succeed among national and international competitors.

Industry Clusters

Communities and regions should identify specific gaps and niches their economies can fill, and promote a diversified range of specialized industry clusters drawing on local advantages to serve local and international markets.

Long-Term Investment

Publicly supported economic development programs, investments, and subsidies should be evaluated on their long-term benefits and impacts on the whole community, not on short-term job or revenue increases. Public investments and subsidies should be equitable and targeted, support environmental and social goals, and prioritize infrastructure and supportive services that promote the vitality of all local enterprises, instead of individual firms.

Corporate Responsibility

Enterprises should work as civic partners, contributing to the communities and regions where they operate, protecting the natural environment, and providing workers with good pay, benefits, opportunities for upward mobility, and a healthful work environment.

Compact Development

To minimize economic, social, and environmental costs and efficiently use resources and infrastructure, new development should take place in existing urban, suburban, and rural areas before using more agricultural land or open space. Local and regional plans should contain these physical and economic development planning principles to focus development activities in desired existing areas.

Sustainable Communities

To protect the natural environment and increase quality of life, neighborhoods, communities and regions should have compact, multi-dimensional land use patterns that ensure a mix of uses, minimize the need for long-distance transport and for individuals, promote walking, bicycling, and transit access to employment, education, recreation, entertainment, shopping, and services. Economic development and transportation investments should reinforce these land use patterns, and the ability to move people and goods by non-automobile alternatives wherever possible.

Center Focus

Communities should have an appropriately scaled and economically healthy center focus. At the community level, a wide range of commercial, residential, cultural, civic, and recreational uses should be located in the town center or downtown. At the neighborhood level, neighborhood centers should contain local businesses that serve the daily needs of nearby residents. At the regional level, regional facilities should be located in urban centers that are accessible by transit throughout the metropolitan area.

Distinctive Communities

Having a distinctive identity will help communities create a quality of life that is attractive for business retention and future residents and private investment. Community economic development efforts should help to create and preserve each community's sense of uniqueness, attractiveness, history, and cultural and social diversity, and include public gathering places and a strong local sense of place.

Regional Collaboration

Since industries, transportation, land uses, natural resources, and other key elements of a healthy economy are regional in scope, communities and the private sector should cooperate to create regional structures that promote a coherent metropolitan whole that respects local character and identity.

 




Statement on Sustainability Educaction


If we are to protect the Earth and its systems and improve the future of life for all people, we need to equip today’s students to be tomorrow’s Students in the woodsenvironmental, economic and societal stewards. Everyone must become life-long learners and teachers, and the “classroom” must become woven into the fabric of business and personal life so that as students we can achieve a deep understanding of the complex, interconnectedness of environmental, economic and social systems and issues.

A forest, for example, may be at one and the same time a place of great beauty; a natural resource critical to the health and well-being of neighboring communities; a local ecosystem, supporting rich plant and animal life; and a vital component in the planet’s great biogeochemical cycles for regulating global climate.

ISC-Audubon seeks to help teachers and learners see and experience this forest and its trees, to become aware of the personal and societal value of the forest, to analyze and evaluate the risk associated with the manner with which the forest is managed, and to understand the limits and opportunities associated with our actions or inactions.




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SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITY

Sponsors are a critically important part to the success of ISC-Audubon. As a non-profit organization dedicated to advocating sustainability, we offer all of our programs to our members free of charge, and are publicly available for download on our website.

ISC-Audubon is proud to extend the opportunity to select businesses and organizations to become sponsors of our sustainability education and advocacy programs. As a sponsor, your business or organization can realize significant value.

Click here to learn more about this opportunity. 

 
 

A Coalition for Good - Spreading the Seeds of Sustainability

ISC-Audubon is a coalition of non-profit organizations and initiatives that include The International Sustainability Council (ISC), Audubon Lifestyles, Audubon Outdoors, Planit Green, Broadcast Audubon, and the Audubon Network for Sustainability. 

Funds generated through memberships and donations are used to provide fruit & vegetable seeds, wildflower seed mix, and wildlife feed & birdseed to urban and suburban communities around the world. These seeds are used by communities to establish fruit and vegetable gardens, bird and wildlife sanctuaries, and for the beautification of urban and suburban landscapes by creating flower and native plant gardens.

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