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Welcome to Greening Greenfield

Greening Greenfield is a group of concerned citizens working with residents, businesses and town government.

We use the concept of "Greening" as the economic and inspirational guiding force to build a more sustainable Greenfield, so present and future generations can enjoy life in our beautiful, abundant valley.

In short, we aim to make Greenfield, MA a more sustainable and vibrant place to live.

Among other things, we work to help Greenfield reach its 2050 goals to reduce energy use by 80%, and reduce the funds leaving our community to purchase energy to ZERO. A good first step is to take our Greenfield 10% Challenge.

We invite you to learn more about how you can join our efforts by attending events, joining our 10% Challenge to reduce our energy use, joining our discussion listserv, attending our planning meetings,and much more! We invite you to share your experiences, thoughts, expertise and skills at our community events and workshops, our discussion listserv, and on this website! Please share your interests with us.


How We Work

URGENCY – There is an urgency to find new ways of living on our plant Earth. But we understand that we are charting new territory, and that change is often difficult. We therefore need to be patient but persistent; keep our eyes open for new opportunities and “unintended consequences;” and adjust our strategy often so that we reach our ultimate goal of sustainability.

SOLUTIONS BASED – We will seek out and promote solutions that have economic, social, political and environmental benefits for our community while also meeting guiding principles of sustainability.

COLLABORATION – We will seek out and form partnerships with residents, businesses and existing groups working toward our common vision. (I.e. Town Government, CDC, Just Roots, CISA, Greenfield Tree Committee, etc.). We will shine a light on all “greening” efforts in the community.

ETHICAL PROCESS – Communications and decisions are transparent (open, clear, easily understood) built on mutual respect, honesty, and trust.

International Definitions

sustvenndiagramMany people have tried to define sustainability. One of the most commonly quoted definitions is:

Sustainability is a system of thinking that strives to meet the economic, social and environmental needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. (Brundtland Commission, 1987)

The Natural Step’s definition, developed in Sweden over 20 years ago, says:

In a “sustainable” world, natural and human systems will be regenerative: increasing in health, resilience, diversity, and complexity. It is a world that is getting better all the time for all of its creatures.

The four basic questions used by the Natural Step to assess sustainability are:

  1. Does the action use the least amount of materials from the earth’s crust as possible? (i.e. fossil fuels and metals)

  2. Does it avoid the creation and use of toxic and/or synthetic substances? (i.e. carcinogens, etc.)

  3. Does it avoid degrading all living systems? (i.e. avoid climate change emissions, over-harvesting of fish, timber, etc.)

  4. Does it foster equity so that we can meet basic human needs worldwide?

Our Sustainability Criteria

“We strive to meet local and global social, economic, and environmental needs while enhancing the ability of future generations to meet their own needs in a sustainable manner.”

The following list of criteria reflect the interests and expectatios of the citizens of Greenfield. They draw out questions to guide decision-making and encourage dialogue and respect for the voices of all involved.

Climate Change and the Environment:

  • Maximizes sustainable and efficient stewardship of the earth and its resources

  • Reduces dependence on fossil fuel, and underground metals and minerals

  • Replaces dependence upon or creation of toxic substances

  • Reduces encroachment on nature and preserves balance in nature

  • Maintains and enhances the resilient, adaptive capacity of the environment

  • Encourages conservation, recycling, and minimal, non-toxic packaging

  • Fosters use of renewable, non-polluting resources while reducing hazardous waste and greenhouse gases (e.g., carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide)

  • Supports sustainable forms of transportation

Compassionate Community:

  • Fairly and efficiently meets the needs, and contributes to the health and safety of our entire community

  • Assumes responsibility for environmental effects that occur in and outside our areas of jurisdiction

  • Recognizing that environmental and solar costs are often imposed on the most vulnerable, we strive for justice and affordability for all.

  • Fosters healthy and equitable life choices for all with adequate health care and quality education

  • Creates a sustainable future for our descendants based on respect for the earth

  • Supports locally owned businesses and cooperatives that foster community

  • Supports locally grown food, and food preservation, distribution, and security

  • Encourages civic engagement, active democratic participation in  problem-solving and decision-making

  • Seeks ways to keep basic human needs affordable to lower-income residents (e.g., food, shelter, and transportation)

  • Fosters and preserves open space, cultural and historic resources, recreation, arts and culture and community vitality.

Here are some other widely accepted international definitions of sustainability. go to page

Pioneer Valley Sustainability Network, in collaboration with the University of Massachusetts has developed a list of Sustainability Indicators. These are things that we can measure, to see if we are on track to improve what we value. go to website

Net Energy, or energy return on investment (EROI), is one way of measuring the sustainability of various actions. It looks at how much energy do you have to invest compared to how much you get back. A lot of work has been done looking at energy sources, such as oil, gas, coal, wind turbines, PV etc. There is also much discussion on this topic as it related to food. The Oil Drum has the best discussion on EROI of Energy. go to website

Please send us your ideas and thoughts of criteria you would like to see added to the list and/or other comments or resources about sustainability.

Mission & Strategy

Greening Greenfield is a group of concerned citizens working with residents, businesses, and town government.

MISSION: We use the concept of "greening" as the economic and inspirational guiding force to build a more sustainable Greenfield so that current and future generations can sustain and enjoy life in this beautiful, abundant valley.

THE CHALLENGE: Locally, we are faced with challenges of high energy and food costs, loss of farmland and jobs, poor air quality, and extreme weather events. These are caused by human activities, both locally and worldwide, that are depleting our natural resources, sending our jobs overseas, and creating air pollution and climate change.

OUR SOLUTION: Build a more vital and resilient Greenfield by moving toward sustainability as defined by the Brundtland Commission in 1987: Sustainability is a system of thinking that strives to meet present economic, social, and environmental needs without compromising future generation's ability to meet their own needs.


Collaborate with individuals, groups, businesses, and town government. Hold workshops and films for cooperative learning, and collective visioning, and use the media to share ideas and Green Hero stories to make ‘greening’ the new social norm.

Improve Greenfield’s economy by reducing our need for costly and polluting fossil fuels through the 10% Challenge, and support creating clean, local, and renewable energy to meet our needs. This supports our state’s commitment to Green Communities and Global Warming Solutions.

Support local businesses and quality food by encouraging sustainable land use and agriculture, green businesses, jobs and manufacturing.

Foster healthy and equitable lifestyles by promoting energy efficient housing, natural resource preservation, and quality education, health care, arts, entertainment, parks and recreation.

Advocate for local, regional, state and federal policies that support our sustainable vision.

We aim to keep Greenfield a great place to live