An International Look at 5 Sustainable Communities


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1. The Green House Project in Johannesburg, South Africa

In the heart of Johannesburg, South Africa, a community committed to sustainability and adaptation has settled in.  The Green House Project has turned this urban community into a hub of renewable resource, recycling projects, green building designs, and organic farms. Dorah Lebelo, the director of the initiative, describes her project as a five-pronged approach to sustainability that utilizes the skills of the native peoples. The urban community has been developed to self-sustain itself by not relying on resources or outside labor.

2. Chalalan Ecolodge
South America has turned one of their greatest sources of income green. Tourists travel to the rain forests of South America to experience the biodiversity and bountiful fauna and now they can do so in a sustainable way.  In the Chalalan Lagoon the Uchupiamonas people have taken great care to share their natural wonders with travelers while still maintaining sustainable practices.  Their website outlines sustainable tips for travelers before, during and after their trip.  Using solar energy and biological processes, their liquid waste treatment system creates a minimal impact on the surrounding areas. They also use the sun to power the ecolodge and put organic waste in a compost heap.

3. The Green Roof in Fukuoka, Japan
The Green Roof of Japan has allowed for the extension of the nearby park while still maintaining a modern design. On one side of the building, there are sleek glass windows and a design similar to other business buildings and on the other side there are 35,000 plants that slope down from floor till floor till hitting the ground level park.  This innovative building mixes old and new architectural designs. Through sustainable buildings such as these, we can all be excited for communities that will work with the natural environment while still maintaining a modern edge.

4. Reykjavik, Iceland
Thanks to Iceland’s many volcanoes and hot springs, the country, including the small city of Reykjavik, runs on hydro-power and geothermal resources. Iceland has even announced that they will be completely fossil-free by 2050. Not only are these two power sources renewable, fossil-free, and cheap, but the hot springs are great tourist attractions.  These resources are so cheap and appealing to travelers, that these sustainable practices might be able to pull Iceland out of its recession.  Their story is no longer about economy vs. environment--now they have become one in the same.

5. Greensburg, Kansas: Sustainability arises from the ashes
On May 4, 2007 Greensburg, Kansas was hit with a devastating Tornado that ravished their town.  Instead of wallowing in the ashes, the town rebuilt and they did so with a goal in mind - to reemerge as a model for green living.  The town’s inspiring story not only pulls at the heart strings but is the perfect example of a local community’s move towards widespread sustainability. What’s more is that they are succeeding in their endeavors. Greensburg’s goals include making green-living easy for the residents, spur economic development through green initiatives, create green incentives, and so much more.  Greensburg is truly a sustainable inspiration locally and internationally.

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