“There is growing concern for the issue of sustainability — whether the Earth's resources will be able to meet the demands of a growing human population that has rising aspirations for consumption and quality of life, while maintaining the rich diversity of the natural environment or biosphere.” – American Planning Association (APA)
Communities across the country continue to face the effects and challenges of a changing climate. As we move into the future, there is a pressing need to plan for these changes, and ensure that local, regional, and national efforts are coordinated. The need for community involvement in the planning process has never been greater. Community members are called to provide input, monitor, and evaluate planning processes and make certain that our local governments are taking the proper actions towards achieving sustainability goals in our communities. The Lake Tahoe Sustainability Collaborative (LTSC) provides an exemplary model of how such involvement can be coordinated within a region.
The regional effort needed to protect and enhance the sustainability of the Tahoe basin is critical. The LTSC has recognized this need, and created a multi-stakeholder organization that provides community input in the planning process and works towards meeting its region’s community, environmental, and economic goals. The LTSC says, “The case for a collaborative is fairly simple and direct: absent a coordinated multi-stakeholder process for aligning environmental, community, and economic health, Lake Tahoe will not operate as a “region” but rather as a heavily-regulated environment with separately-governed and highly-local communities of interest.”
LTSC is made up of six workgroups across the Tahoe basin. Each workgroup strives to determine the best sustainability management practices and strategies for the basin, and works with local jurisdictions to achieve these goals. I have had the privilege to see firsthand how effective LTSC workgroups can be. Sitting in on meetings with the Community Mobility workgroup has provided me with insight into how communities can work together with their local jurisdictions to prioritize their needs and promote walkable and bikeable communities.
Some of the many faces of LTSC!
What are your thoughts? What are some other ways communities can work together to achieve local, regional and national sustainability goals?
Credits: Photo by Amanda Christian. Data linked to sources.