Close to 150 people from across the Valley gathered in Downtown Harrisonburg Saturday to discuss how to make the Valley a more sustainable place to live, work and play at the Shenandoah Sustainability Summit.
A consistent message from those at the summit was that making the Valley a more sustainable place is a realistic goal, but it cannot be accomplished individually.
Instead, it requires the participation from people of many different backgrounds.
Kai Degner, who organized the summit, says, "We have local business owners that make a business of letting people live in a more efficient manner which is very fitting the day after Earth Day to be doing that. We have community organizations joining these business organizations and we also have some policy makers here that are thinking about how can our policy support good decisions for people."
The broad range of participants was important for the summit to achieve a goal of providing a space for open dialogue.
"Sustainability is a very broad topic and to achieve it, it's going to require lots of efforts on lots of different projects and also talking about the tension points related to those. So to do that all, we need a bunch of people in a room together working on all these issues, meeting each other, building relationships and forming plans that incorporate the concerns that people have with certain directions that we might go, so this is the opportunity to do that," explains Degner.
The discussions in the breakout sessions ranged from improvements that can be made now to make homes greener to discussions on federal policy issues.