The West Virginia Community Development Hub will be bringing a new project, West Virginia Sustainable Communities (WVSC), to its focus communities across West Virginia.
This project provides new resources for long-term community prosperity using an all-encompassing community development approach. West Virginia Sustainable Communities is a West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection initiative administered by the West Virginia Community Development Hub with support from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation. Tomoko Tamagawa, a former Sustainability Initiative intern in Fayetteville, is the new project manager for WVSC.
In the coming months, WVSC will invite citizens of the Hub’s focus communities to a free Riverside Sustainability Awareness Program, presented by Bridgemont Community and Technical College. The one-day workshop has received rave reviews from audiences in West Virginia in the past, and has improved the bottom line for many businesses that participated. Community attendees will gain tools to reduce waste (time, energy, water, effort, etc.) and increase efficiency in their communities. Following the Awareness Training, five pilot communities will be selected from the focus communities and be provided with tools to take theory into action. Communities will be challenged to achieve a balance between economic, social and environmental well-being.
WVSC will bring communities new ideas for resource sustainability through outreach and collaborative education. Furthermore, the five communities will receive assistance to create tangible advancements to their citizens. First, each community will establish its own Green Team, which will bring together local leaders and engaged citizens. This team will work with community members and the local government to bring about a more livable and lovable neighborhood. WVSC and the local Green Team will organize community workshops to help community members reduce their impact on the environment and increase their quality of life, while saving money on utility costs and gasoline. WVSC provides a useful platform for involving residents, young and old, in volunteering for projects that add value to their community.
Secondly, the five communities will receive complimentary membership to an international organization, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, which helps communities quantify their current impact on the environment and how it could be reduced. ICLEI helps governments choose sustainability initiatives with reasonable financial paybacks, or, in many cases, with almost immediate positive return on their investment. Initiatives stemming from this process will contribute to financial resilience and improved health and well-being of the residents. WVSC staff will be available with resources on best practices from other municipalities and consultation on tackling local challenges.
The goal of WVSC is for communities in West Virginia to have cleaner air to breathe, safer water to drink, and improved health to enjoy the beautiful landscape in this state. The project will also bring WV families a reduced cost of living through efficiency and conservation tips. Communities become sustainable when poverty is reduced, and citizens are engaged in enhancing their economy, their environment and their social fabric. WVSC will provide communities with tools to help accomplish these long-term sustainability goals.
WVSC will be introduced in February or March 2010 to the Hub’s focus communities. If you would like your community to be involved in this project, please contact Tomoko Tamagawa, WVSC Project Manager, at email@example.com or by phone 304-566-7332.