Sustainability is the careful use of our resources. It is looking for ways to be energy efficient and fiscally responsible. The idea is that we want to do as much as possible with as little as possible so that we can keep our future safe and secure. It also means to maintain the current quality of life that we enjoy or better into the future.
The best example of how I want to see this in action is in bringing solar panels onto Crystal government building. Many cities throughout the metro (Minneapolis, Edina, Eden Prairie, to name a few) have done this. They used available government rebates and had no or very little cost to taxpayers to install these. These cities will see real savings in their operational budget, as they will be able to decrease or eliminate their electricity bills. Solar panels are also being made by Minnesota companies, so we are directly investing into Minnesota’s economy for long-term economic safety. This technology is rapidly advancing and shows real promise into the future.
It also applies to keeping things local. I am an advocate of the local food movement. There are many growers in our area who need venues to sell their produce. A Crystal farmers’ market will connect these growers and their locally produced food with the residents of Crystal. Food options from local sources reduces the need for trucking in as much food from far distances, saving on fuel use and cost. It also helps keep money in our community.
There are many aspects of the local food movement I am in favor of and will try to bring to Crystal. One of the most popular ones from the people I’ve been talking to as well as for me personally, is being able to keep backyard chickens for egg production. This allows for people to produce organic, wholesome eggs in a much more humane setting than that used in corporate agriculture. It also reduces the fuel usage and cost, as well as provide educational opportunities in our community to see the connection that we have with our food.
There are so many ways that I see this as something we can strive for more within our city. We can encourage more composting and mulching of leaves on lawns instead of removal, purchasing hybrid or more fuel efficient city vehicles at the time they need replacement, making more city functions electronic to reduce paper usage and cost, and adding native wetland plants back around our creeks, ponds and lakes to filter pollutants from water, provide habitat for wildlife, and beautify our city. I will always be looking for more ways that we can be doing things differently to really make a difference into the future. I will always want to hear ideas about this from the people of Crystal about other things we can do and other things that cities around us are already doing. These things provide a win-win situation for everyone: improving our environment, saving us money, and investing in Minnesota (and Crystal!).