An Action Plan for Cape Cod

Part 1.  Are We Better Off?

Part 2.  Sustaining Cape Cod

Part 3.  The Truro Survey

Part  4.  SWOT

Part 5.  Quality-of-Life Indicators
Part 6.  Opportunities for Truro

Part 7.  Confessions to Soothe My Soul and Clean My Dishes

Part 8.  An Academic Chair

Part 9.  A Personal Tool Kit

The Cape Cod Sustainability Scorecard


Perspectives on Sustainability


Sustainability Reference Desk


Articles on Sustainability


Articles on Sustainability Indicators


To download the Cape Cod Sustainability Indicators Report 2003, click here.








An Action Plan to Achieve 
Sustainability on Cape Cod


Part 8.  An Academic Chair

An Editorial by Glenn Ritt

College’s claim to sustainability:  What could a Cape Cod Community College sustainability center and chair look like, compared with brethren in New York City and Columbus, Ohio?

Of course, there would be a multidisciplinary curriculum, one that also could connect to the Cape’s high schools as well as its middle and elementary schools. It might even inspire adult education courses.

There would be public-private initiatives and projects focusing on sustaining the Cape. The center would sponsor forums, workshops, and colloquia.

The college center could become the hotbed for research on sustaining the Cape, focusing on wastewater treatment technologies, as well as the economic and political steps needed to address this mammoth job effectively and rapidly.

It also could delve into ecotourism, green development, renewable energy, natural landscaping, transportation, zoning, and sustainable housing.

In all cases, it would recruit and leverage the extraordinary wealth of knowledge and activity already forming around each of these critical arenas on the Cape. And it could bring a degree of academic objectivity to help disparate interests coalesce around new strategies.

With books and the Internet, the center and its chair could develop a resource library available not only to other organizations and businesses but to schools and individual Cape Codders as well.

As with Columbia University, community outreach would be critical. Imagine an annual "sustainability fair" at the college, bringing together experts and resources from across the Cape and beyond to illuminate hundreds of ways to practice sustainability -- town by town, company by company, organization by agency, person by person.

Publishing, of course, would be the way to document and communicate the discoveries and lessons percolating from such a center and chair. There could be a "Sustaining Cape Cod" quarterly journal, resource guides, cable productions, a Web site, a video library, and newspaper columns.

The center and chair could be organized around compass points: E for economics, S for sociology; N for nature, W for individual well-being.

Each compass point could relate inwardly to specific college departments, curricula, and programs and outwardly to community-based interests, industries, and businesses.

From the college’s standpoint, the center would work with all its departments to provide resources, consultation, and curricula components emphasizing how each course can help sustain Cape Cod.

The compass points could serve to organize existing classes around the sustainability theme.

  • Economy:  Economics, business, construction technology, workforce education, professional development, retail management, real estate; hotel/restaurant management, marketing.

  • Sociology:  Social frameworks, religion, government, anthropology, humanities, political science, accounting, early childhood education.

  • Nature:  Horticulture, geography, earth science, environmental science, chemistry, biology.

  • Well-being:  Nursing, health and fitness, gerontology, psychology, art, music, religion.

In addition to the compass points, the center could leverage the college’s array of media courses: journalism, communications, information technology, and radio and television.

Mutual benefitsThe college's Center to Sustain Cape Cod could help place students with the many institutions, nonprofits, and businesses already dedicated to sustaining Cape Cod. This can happen through internships, coop programs, and actual job placements after graduation.

This lets the center radiate far beyond the campus into all aspects of Cape Cod life. Research, study, and work can occur from Provincetown to Falmouth, something that is particularly valuable since the college campus may not have the room or resources to accommodate all the activity in Barnstable.

Meanwhile, the chair and center can turn to a ready-made support group, the nonprofit Cape Cod Center for Sustainability, headquartered in Yarmouth. This grassroots organization can become a chief fundraiser for the center under Larson’s leadership.

That natural partnership would establish the kind of endowment critical if an idea like this is to be, yes, sustainable.

Next:  Part 9.  A Personal Tool Kit, by Sarah James


Editor's note:  All of the articles included in "An Action Plan" were published and are copyrighted by the Community Newspapers'  Register, Cape Codder, and Upper Cape Codder.