To foster movement toward sustainability in North America, SHIFT uses Commitments to Action, which disseminate best practices for implementation in communities that need them. The SHIFT Community site is our clearinghouse for these ideas.
SHIFT explores the future of conservation and sustainability through the prism of GEMS: Gateways to Environments of Major Significance. By our definition, the economic and cultural vitality of these communities is directly connected to the health of the environments in which they reside.
These GEMS are the places of North America’s greatest natural capital. They attract both millions of visitors each year and influential part-time residents. When they serve as models of sustainability, they have a unique opportunity to influence the behavior of their guests.
By fostering sustainability in North American GEMS, SHIFT seeks to promote them as beacons of possibility—and, by extension, to affect the world they influence.
The SHIFT Summit convenes leaders from GEMS who are working to preserve and sustain the natural capital of their communities. The Summit serves as a hub of best practices, a policy incubator and a network accelerator for individuals, organizations and businesses facing similar challenges.
The Summit is built around the winners of our SHIFT Sustainability Awards, which were selected by our SHIFT Partners and which recognize the most effective, innovative sustainability initiatives currently underway in North American GEMS. By showcasing their work, we seek to highlight innovative approaches to challenges shared by GEMS continent-wide.
The Summit will highlight proven, replicable actions that preserve and sustain natural capital in GEMS. Additionally, it will facilitate the adoption of those actions by communities that would benefit from their implementation.
Actions represent innovate approaches to challenges common to GEMS that have been proven to be successful in one or more of our communities.
For example, Aspen’s Community Office for Resource Efficiency (CORE)’s Renewable Energy Mitigation Program (REMP) http://aspencore.org/remp-the-renewable-energy-mitigation-program, which is designed to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency, requires new homes to mitigate their environmental impacts.
Since its inception in 2000, REMP has generated $12M in funding for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. It has also been successfully adopted by four other communities (Eagle County, CO; Telluride Mountain Village; Ann Arbor, MI; Snowmass Village, CO).
We will design a Commitment to Action around REMP that allows participating communities to adopt REMP’s structure and best practices for implementation. CORE will share how REMP has been implemented in Aspen and replicated in other communities, and assist with questions regarding implementation. Participants can report on progress over the course of the year on the SHIFT website.
This model can be applied to any initiative that preserves and/or sustains natural capital and that has been successfully established and replicated in North American GEMS.
SHIFT’s Commitments to Action must meet three basic criteria:
Proven: Action must already be successfully established in one of our GEMS
Replicable: Action must be replicable in other GEMS. Preference will be given to Actions that have already been successfully replicated
Measurable: In alignment with The Charture Institute’s Sustainability Principles, Actions must produce a measurable, meaningful improvement in at least one of the following areas:
- Increased efficiency (i.e., producing at least the same amount and quality of a product – whether a good or service – using fewer resources)
- Decreased toxicity (i.e., producing at least the same quantity and quality of a product in a way that is less harmful to the environment)
- Reduced consumption (i.e., leads to people using fewer resources and products without experiencing a significant diminution in quality of life)
- Increased transparency (i.e., helping consumers better understand the products they use)
- Healthier ecosystems (i.e. acting in a way that enhances the likelihood of one or more specific natural systems continuing to exist and function properly)
- Healthier communities (i.e., without compromising environmental health, acting in a way that results in healthier lives, greater happiness, better education, increased acceptance of diversity, and/or greater economic opportunity and security)
Participating organizations at the SHIFT Summit can nominate Actions from their communities for adoption by other GEMS. Nominating organizations will be responsible for generating the Actions’ parameters and guidelines to their implementation. Actions will be debated, revised and readied for adoption at the Summit.
Organizations may then adopt Actions for implementation in their own communities. Implementation will be tracked on the SHIFT website.
Progress updates will be delivered at the 2015 SHIFT Festival.