The Global Challenge of Encouraging Sustainable Living
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The Global Challenge of Encouraging Sustainable Living

Opportunities, Barriers, Policy and Practice

Edited by Shane Fudge, Michael Peters, Steven M. Hoffman and Walter Wehrmeyer

This unique book illustrates that in order to address the growing urgency of issues around environmental and resource limits, it is clear that we need to develop effective policies to promote durable changes in behaviour and transform how we view and consume goods and services. It suggests that in order to develop effective policies in this area, it is necessary to move beyond a narrow understanding of ‘how individuals behave’, and to incorporate a more nuanced approach that encompasses behavioural influences in different societies, contexts and settings.
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Chapter 12: Institutional and community-based initiatives in energy planning

Opportunities, Barriers, Policy and Practice

Steven M. Hoffman and Angela High-Pippert


On 4 May 2007, Greensburg was a declining farm community in southcentral Kansas with a population of about 1400. That evening, an EF-5 strength tornado touched down more than 75 times, killing 11 people and destroying or severely damaging 90 per cent of the city. The storm left a trail of debris more than 22 miles long and 1.5 miles wide. The initial response by the community and its municipal utility was focused on the restoration of the existing electrical system (Billman, 2009, p. 5). Once attending to these immediate needs, however, the community began to envision a very different future, one based on an understanding that the nearly complete destruction of the town presented ‘a unique opportunity to create a strong community devoted to family, fostering business, [and] working together for future generations’ (Billman, 2009, p. 5). Such a community could, in large part, be built upon an energy future that would take advantage of ‘Greensburg’s vast wind resources . . . reduce energy use in buildings, industry, and infrastructure, use renewable sources for electricity and heat at the community and distributed scales, use alternative transportation vehicles, fuels, and infrastructure, and support new approaches with institutional and administrative actions’ (Billman, 2009, p. 12).

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