Areas of Opportunity

Community
Community is the strongest force to take on current and coming challenges. A town with a strong sense of community is a resilient, dynamic force that can overcome most anything. A town rich in community is a fun place to be! How can we create, foster and enrich community in Ashland?

Food
Diversifying and localizing our food sources is a powerful way to help us eat healthier, build community, support the local economy, reduce waste, and build resiliency into the fabric of our town.

Water
Diversifying and localizing our water sources is a forward-thinking way to provide for our needs while building resiliency into the fabric of our town. There are many ways we can do more with the water we already have.

Energy
Diversifying and localizing our energy sources while also reducing our reliance on them will position us well in times of such stresses as Peak Oil, Climate Change and the current economic crisis. The issue of energy is ever present and yet at the same time it is something we take for granted. How can we reduce our dependence on fossil fuels while still providing a good quality of life?

Transportation
Re-designing our transportation system so that it is not wholly dependent on cars makes for a dynamic, resilient and rich community. How will we get around when gasoline reaches $10 a gallon? How will we get our goods? If a hurricane like Sandy hit us as hard as it did in New Jersey and New York, making the roads impassable to cars, how would we get around? We can make our town more enjoyable to get around while also making us more prepared for when car infrastructure gets compromised.

Economy and Livelihood
Creating and supporting a local economy here in Ashland will make us a strong, resilient community that can weather national and global recessions and market shocks, natural disasters and other challenges.

Waste
In waste we have an opportunity. Some of the things we think we cannot afford could be attained if we were more thoughtful about what we left at the curb. If we think of waste as not something to be taken away but rather, as a resource to be harnessed, we would find sources of untapped wealth within our community.

Emergency Preparedness
Preparing for emergencies is a proactive, common-sense approach that allows us to take some control over what we cannot. Preparation is far easier, cheaper and more effective than dealing with an emergency while it is happening. As the frequency and intensity of natural disasters becomes our new normal, it makes sense to prepare for resource shortages. The Scout Motto says it best: Be prepared!

Habitat
Biodiversity does so much for us for free, often unbeknownst to us. However, we are right now experiencing the largest mass species extinction ever. As more and more species are lost or in serious decline, so will the quality of life they afford us. Supporting our local ecology is an excellent way to help support stressed habitats while also ensuring a quality of life for ourselves.

Buildings and Housing
The buildings in which we live, work and congregate shelter us and provide comfort but they also consume a tremendous amount of energy, water and other resources while producing waste and emissions. These buildings can, however, be built or retrofitted to use these resources efficiently while still providing a quality of life for all.

Social Justice
Caring for people in need builds community and brings out the best in all of us. How do we care for those who cannot care for themselves? How do we make sure that no one gets left behind as the price of heating fuel climbs? As we re-envision our town to be more sustainable and resilient, we must pay careful attention to ensuring that everyone has a quality of life.

Public Safety
In an age of unprecedented change, with a number of crises converging; Climate Change, global economic instability, overpopulation, erosion of community, declining biodiversity, and resource wars, how are we going to maintain social stability? How are we going to protect our town and allow it to thrive?

Inner and Outer Transition
It takes a community to really make a huge impact on the challenges facing us but individual action and reflection are also important because it supports community-wide action. How can we remain productive, constructive and empowered while taking on such daunting challenges?