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Overview

Mission

pvSustain is a broad-based network of organizations and individuals who are dedicated to creating a just and sustainable future for the Pioneer Valley region.  Our members include a broad community of sustainability activists and professionals working together to create a flexible and effective regional model for actively advancing sustainability in the Pioneer Valley, which can be applied in other regions of the country.  Our mission is to strengthen our members' ability to pursue sustainability and environmental equity effectively by:

  • information and idea exchange
  • collaborative approaches to problem solving and visionary thinking
  • giving members the tools they need to integrate sustainable practices and scientific information into both regional and community decision-making
 

Guiding Principles

pvSustain members share a vision of a future for the Pioneer Valley that will be worth the struggle in the difficult years that we all know lie ahead.  In this future,diversity is cherished and protected within the human community and beyond. The inhabitants of the Valley's cities, towns and countryside enjoy access to the clean air, the water, the food and the human support fundamental to good physical and mental health.  They possess the information and the skills needed to meet the challenges of their day, and their communities are able to control many of the important decisions that affect their daily lives.  The health, diversity and population levels of plants, animals and other life forms, both domesticated and wild, are treated as a sacred trust.

pvSustain members work to support this broadly shared vision in many different ways.   Some seek to create environmentally sustainable transportation, some to ensure that education from basics through to needed specializations is available, some to support regional food production and distribution and other basic economic activity, some work for clean air and water, some to create and distribute needed  information, some to ensure that relevant basic science is carried out, some work for land and wildlife preservation, and some to ensure the development of effective structures for self-governance and regional collaboration.

pvSustain members believe that to move toward this just, sustainable, healthy and biologically diverse community of all living things, we must be guided by the following principles:

  • Human diversity is a treasure to be preserved;
  • Human communities must learn to support the physical and mental health, education and information resources and degree of self-governance needed to meet the challenges we will face;
  • Biological diversity and robust populations of existing species of animals, plants and other life forms must be preserved;
  • Active collaboration and information-sharing among pvSustain members as well as between members and the broader community can and must play an important role in moving the Valley toward this desired future.
 

Network Structure

Our purpose is to foster dialogue and collaboration. We make decisions by consensus of the members present at our meetings about how and when to meet, what initiatives to take on, and how to complement them. We have agreed not to become another organization with staff competing for funding, but remain a community of professionals (paid and volunteer) working in sustainability who pay dues to support our collaboration, as a project of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission. pvSustain now has over 100 member organizations and individuals.  We have one paid part-time staff position, in addition to the two paid part-time researchers who secured the original funding.  A volunteer Chair facilitates meetings, a volunteer steering committee helps set agendas, and ad hoc committees emerge as needed to work on time-limited projects.

The work of pvSustain is informed by a number of leading thinkers and practitioners in the field of sustainability. Among these are William McDonough and the Natural Step Framework.

pvSustain is a work in progress.  Here are some resources we have used as we articluate who we are and how we function as a network of sustainability professionals in the Pioneer Valley region of western Massachusetts.

icon "A Handbook for Network Builders Seeking Social Change"
by Peter Plastrik and Madeleine Taylor

PVSN seminar with Roberto Cremonini BARR Foundation
icon (PDF Format) icon (PowerPoint Format)