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| Resources | UW-Extension Tools | For more information about The Natural Step Framework | Local community eco-municipality group websites | Resources in communities that are exploring the eco-municipality model and The Natural Step | International Eco-Municipality events |


  • NaCo’s Green Government Initiative
    NACo’s Green Government Initiative (GGI) provides comprehensive resources for local governments on all things green—including energy, air quality, transportation, water quality, land use, purchasing and recycling. GGI serves as a catalyst between local governments and the private sector to facilitate green government best practices, products and policies that result in financial and environmental savings. Through the initiative, NACo: develops strategies to save counties money while going green; educates counties on techniques for implementing green strategies; provides tools for counties to educate their communities on all things green; promotes environmentally-preferable purchasing; and facilitates an open exchange with the private sector.

  • Managing Wet Weather with Green Infrastructure; Municipal Handbook; Incentive Mechanisms
    The latest in­stallment in the Municipal Handbook series: Incentive Mechanisms. This EPA document describes a number of incentives that communities can use to encourage the use of green infrastructure on private properties. It includes an annotated list of communities across the country, the types of incentives being used, and links to additional information about those programs.

  • Planning for a Sustainable Future: A Guide for Local Governments
    This handbook, which includes information gathered from more than two dozen cities, towns and counties across the United States, will provide answers and provide a roadmap for developing effective plans for a sustainable future.

  • A First Generation of Eco-Municipalities in Wisconsin
    A four page PDF by Lisa M. MacKinnon (2008) on eco-municipality resolutions.

  • Grounding the Vision: The Eco-Municipality Education Guide
    by Torbjörn Lahti
    132 pages, 25642KB eBook download available for purchase.

  • Swamp Yankee Planning for Sustainability: A Bottom-up Process for Becoming an Eco-Municipality
    by Sarah James and Philip B. Herr
    75 pages, 12606KB eBook download available for purchase.

  • Policy Link
    PolicyLink relies on the wisdom, voice, and experience of local residents and organizations. Lifting Up What Works focuses attention on how people are working successfully to use local, state, and federal policy to create conditions that benefit everyone, especially people in low-income communities and communities of color. The web site shares findings and analysis through publications, website and online tools, national summits, and in briefings with national and local policymakers.

  • Synopsis of Eco-Municipality
    by Torbjörn Lahti and Sarah James, May 2005
    Adapted and updated by Lisa MacKinnon, August 2008

  • The Natural Step Study Circle Facilitator Guide
    Developed by Sustain Dane.

  • Institute for Eco-Municipality Education and Assistance (IEMEA)

  • Smart Growth Resource Library web page on the North American Eco-Municipality Network

    Resources for local governments on sustainability.

  • National Association of Counties
    National Association of Counties (NACo) has extensive resources available for county governments.

  • NACo Green Government Database
    A searchable database of county programs & practices.

  • NACo Electronic Green Government Network
    The NACo Electronic Green Government Network is a source for the latest news and information on county sustainability efforts. NACo utilizes the network to keep county officials, staff, and public and private sector leaders up to date on: Grant Opportunities, Upcoming Events (trainings, workshops, and webinars), New Publications and Tools and Sustainability Best Practices.

  • Policy Guide on Planning for Sustainability

  • Minnesota GreenStep Cities
    This is a program and website administered by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. There is a downloadable spreadsheet listing 168 unique actions for 28 best practices. Those cities that implement a minimum number of best practices that fall into five categories are then recognized as a GreenStep City.

  • Institute for Local Self-Reliance
    ISLR lists several initiatives: banking, biomaterials, broadband, energy, independent business, the public good and waste to wealth. The site offers recent updates.

  • Community Solutions
    The Community Solutions (CS) program, started in 2003, provides knowledge and practices for low-energy living and self-reliant communities. CS focuses on the coming global oil production peak, climate change and increasing inequity. The organization designs or locates solutions to the current unsustainable, fossil-fuel based, overly centralized way of living. The web site defines the Problem, looks at Community as Context, offers Plan C Solutions and then addresses Housing, Transportation, Food, and provides other resources.

  • How Green is my Town
    How Green is My Town is an environmental assessment program designed to help local governments in their efforts to address issues of climate change, sustainability, and environmental health. There is a checklist to assess how a community is doing, a toolbox on policies and program  s and an educational tool to help students gain a broad perspective of subjects.

  • Wealth Creation in Rural Communities
    A project of the Ford Foundation and managed by Yellow Wood Associates, the project seeks to improve rural livelihoods with a systems approach to development that creates multiple forms of wealth that are owned and controlled locally. This site houses numerous publications on the topic of sustainable wealth creation in rural communities.

  • Wisconsin Green Tier Legacy Communities
    To participate, Wisconsin municipalities take actions and share information to achieve superior environmental performance with regard to one or both of the following areas: (1) water quality and water resources management; (2) sustainability practices.

  • Planning Green Tier Communities
    Green Tier Legacy Communities have pledged to improve the environmental practices in their jurisdictions to lower the costs of local governmental operations, improve the walkability of neighborhoods and set the goal of a higher quality of life for residents.

  • Community Partners
    Green Tier Legacy Communities create partnerships to assist communities in developing and implementing sustainability measures. The Charter, which is in effect until December 1, 2015, was signed by the DNR, 1000 Friends of Wisconsin, League of Wisconsin Municipalities, Municipal Environmental Group – Wastewater, Center on Wisconsin Strategy, Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corp, and the Cities of Appleton, Bayfield, Fitchburg, and Middleton and the Village of Weston.

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UW-Extension Tools

  • Toward a Sustainable Community: A Toolkit for Local Government
    The purpose of this toolkit is to provide ideas and descriptions of specific actions that a local government can take to transform itself into a model of sustainable practices. These are practices that can result in cost savings and increased employment, as well as enhance environmental quality and community wellbeing. The message of this toolkit is simple: local governments can lead by example.

  • Sustainable Communities
    A four-page fact sheet, authored by UW-Extension Sustainability Team members Kelly Cain and Sherrie Gruder, that outlines the main features of Sustainable Community Development (SCD). SCD focuses on strengthening the local economy while recognizing the interconnections of community health, environment, and quality of life.

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For more information about The Natural Step Framework:

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Local community eco-municipality group websites:

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Resources in communities that are exploring the eco-municipality model and The Natural Step:

  • Wisconsin Rapids Area Natural Step Study Circles
    “Creating a Clean, Green and Welcoming Community” group is hosting Natural Step Study Circles in October and November 2008 (study circles sponsored by the Community Progress Initiative and the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin Rapids Area)
       Carol Davis
       Melissa Loken

  • Platteville 2010 -- My Community, My Vision
    Developing a variety of ideas for the future of greater Platteville

  • Polk County Natural Step Study Circle Contacts
    The following contact people can help you find a group to join: (St. Croix Falls)

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International Eco-Municipality Events:

  • Inaugural International Eco-Municipality Conference inspires many in Helsingborg, Sweden on 27-29 May 2008

In June 2005, during the “Madison (WI) Summit” various participants made a number of commitments to strengthen our collaboration around eco-municipalities and sustainable community development. One of the commitments was to form the North American Eco-Municipality Network. Another was made by Lars Thunberg, chairman for the Association of Swedish Eco-Municipalities, to host an international meeting in Sweden where eco-municipalities from different parts of the world would have the opportunity to meet, learn and be inspired by each other. SEkom fulfilled that promise when nearly 100 representatives from local governments and municipal organizations in Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, South Africa, Japan, New Zealand, Italy, Sweden, Finland, USA, Canada, and Ireland gathered in Helsingborg, Sweden to participate in the first International Eco-Municipality Conference, hosted by SEkom.

Read more about the International Eco-Municipality Conference by clicking on the following links...

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