Supplying a path

Greening Greenfield is using an approach that is both comprehensive and proactive in trying to set the path for the community.

Ambitious? No doubt. But in trying to be an agent of change, the thinking has to be on a large scope with many interconnected steps, even if its target audience is the roughly 17,000 men, women and children who now call Greenfield home.

As Louis Sachar, the award-winning children’s author of such books as “Holes,” is quoted as saying, “It is better to take many small steps in the right direction than to make a great leap forward ... only to stumble backward.”

To date, those small steps in Greenfield have included helping people, individual homeowners, businesses and even the municipality, to assess energy use and find cost-effective and sustainable means of meeting those needs. Part of that effort was the 10% Challenge campaign during which more than 900 households pledged to reduce their energy use by 10 percent.

Efforts to see Greenfield cut its energy use and move toward in ways that are better for the environment and sustainable are but a few of the possible steps.

Another one of those “steps” takes place Saturday at Greenfield Community College ... a second conference aimed at shaping the future for Greenfield. This time there’s a specific time frame, one that looks ahead almost 40 years, and that goes beyond thinking just in strict terms of energy use.

It’s also about the various connections within a community.

“We’ll be talking about energy, but we’ll also be talking about agriculture and food, buildings and transportation, schools and education, and health care,” said Susan Worgaftik, a member of the Greening Greenfield effort.

“We have to look at things in a broader sense. All of these things are interconnected.”

That interconnection also includes the willingness of people to get involved in creating that future. Conference organizers are especially interested in having teens and young adults be part of the effort, since they are most likely to be part of community life in 2050.

While no one is expecting this conference to provide all of the answers when it comes to the future, it’s an important step toward getting there.

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