The Full System of Sustainability: Sonoma Mountain Village

'Green' living sometimes feels like all the craze these days. Cars, cosmetics, furniture, packaging, and buildings are just a few common items marketed and sold as 'sustainable' products. As any person truly concerned with sustainability knows, the greening of the American consumer marketplace has more to do with the other green - cash - than actually fostering an environmentally-friendly lifestyle. As hard as we may try to take care of our planet - be it through reducing hazardous waste, using alternative production materials, etc - there is always a step in the process that can spoil progress. As the LEED-ND program espouses, what good is it to have a platinum rated green building if it is not connected to people and transit? How sustainable is the food and coffee being shipped from South America to your plate in the U.S.?

Luckily, at this stage in the game, green developments are going beyond the superficial level of sustainability. World Changing recently featured Sonoma Mountain Village, a place that is in the process of creating a more-or-less complete community that is about as self-sufficient as possible in today's global economy. Located 40 miles north of San Francisco, the community will rely mostly on energy it generates on site and also re-use and conserve water and waste. Building materials will be manufactured on site, while food for restaurants and grocery stores will be grown locally. Sonoma Mountain Village, though surrounded by conventional sprawl, will soon have a commuter rail station within ten minutes walking distance - allowing residents the ability to work and play without a car.

You can read more about this development from a 2008 CNU blog here.


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