Our Sustainability Criteria

“We strive to meet local and global social, economic, and environmental needs while enhancing the ability of future generations to meet their own needs in a sustainable manner.”

The following list of criteria reflect the interests and expectatios of the citizens of Greenfield. They draw out questions to guide decision-making and encourage dialogue and respect for the voices of all involved.

Climate Change and the Environment:

  • Maximizes sustainable and efficient stewardship of the earth and its resources

  • Reduces dependence on fossil fuel, and underground metals and minerals

  • Replaces dependence upon or creation of toxic substances

  • Reduces encroachment on nature and preserves balance in nature

  • Maintains and enhances the resilient, adaptive capacity of the environment

  • Encourages conservation, recycling, and minimal, non-toxic packaging

  • Fosters use of renewable, non-polluting resources while reducing hazardous waste and greenhouse gases (e.g., carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide)

  • Supports sustainable forms of transportation

Compassionate Community:

  • Fairly and efficiently meets the needs, and contributes to the health and safety of our entire community

  • Assumes responsibility for environmental effects that occur in and outside our areas of jurisdiction

  • Recognizing that environmental and solar costs are often imposed on the most vulnerable, we strive for justice and affordability for all.

  • Fosters healthy and equitable life choices for all with adequate health care and quality education

  • Creates a sustainable future for our descendants based on respect for the earth

  • Supports locally owned businesses and cooperatives that foster community

  • Supports locally grown food, and food preservation, distribution, and security

  • Encourages civic engagement, active democratic participation in  problem-solving and decision-making

  • Seeks ways to keep basic human needs affordable to lower-income residents (e.g., food, shelter, and transportation)

  • Fosters and preserves open space, cultural and historic resources, recreation, arts and culture and community vitality.

Here are some other widely accepted international definitions of sustainability. go to page

Pioneer Valley Sustainability Network, in collaboration with the University of Massachusetts has developed a list of Sustainability Indicators. These are things that we can measure, to see if we are on track to improve what we value. go to website

Net Energy, or energy return on investment (EROI), is one way of measuring the sustainability of various actions. It looks at how much energy do you have to invest compared to how much you get back. A lot of work has been done looking at energy sources, such as oil, gas, coal, wind turbines, PV etc. There is also much discussion on this topic as it related to food. The Oil Drum has the best discussion on EROI of Energy. go to website

Please send us your ideas and thoughts of criteria you would like to see added to the list and/or other comments or resources about sustainability.