Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Thoughts about sustainability for Hamilton and for Colgate

by Jessica Graybill
Associate Professor of Geography

How are other towns with liberal arts colleges addressing economic, social and environmental sustainability? Perhaps it is time for a Hamilton-Colgate Project? 

From the Oberlin Project website: 

"Oberlin Project, created in 2009, is a joint effort of the City and the College to develop a model of “full spectrum sustainability.” In plain English, those words mean something like a jailbreak from the conventional silos, boundaries, pigeonholes, disciplines, and bureaucracies by which we have organized governments, economies, education, social movements, and entire worldviews. It is an attempt to “connect the dots” between the various parts of sustainability and thereby give form and operational vitality to the word “systems” in the public realm, and to extend the time horizon by which we judge our successes and failures and our profits and losses. In practical terms, it means having lunch with many different kinds of people and attending lots of meetings to bridge the chasms that divide us by issue-areas, race, class, and political affiliation. In short, we assume that systemic failures that have led us to the present crisis will require systems-level responses, smarter policies, and alert citizens acting with foresight and civic acumen." 

Read more at 

I am interested in pursuing such synthetic ideas for great coexistence before Hamilton acquires a built urban environment that is unfulfilling for multiple kinds of residents. Let’s start talking about how we might work towards a more sustainable and desirable long-term future for many people in the region, from the ground up. This kind of thinking follows the tradition of inclusive, community-driven and sustainable urban planning that the town of Hamilton deserves and for which the Colgate community should strive.

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