The Natural Step Monona is a grassroots, non-partisan, tax-exempt organization made up of people working to make our lives and our community more sustainable – environmentally, economically, and socially – by using The Natural Step framework.
In the process of spreading the message of sustainability, a community of friends has formed. Fueled by possibilities, determined to make progress, and practicing ongoing dialogue and action toward creating a livable future – we are people making a difference. We hope you’ll join us.
You can contact us here. You can join us here.
Here are some of the ways our members have made Monona a greener, healthier city:
- Through the Sustainability Section we spearheaded, library patrons have access to hundreds of books, DVDs, and handouts at the Monona Public Library. Wisconsin Public Radio producers continue to donate dozens of books to the section each year – books written by guests of Joy Cardin, Larry Meiller, and others;
- By selling 175 composters to Monona residents, an estimated 87 tons of waste will have been kept out of the landfill as of August 2011;
- More than 136 people have learned and more continue to learn about sustainability through our Study Circles and Study Arcs on The Natural Step framework (participant bonus: Community-building with a Big C!);
- In another library co-production, people can discuss and learn about such topics as Permaculture, home canning, biodiversity, and waste reduction through our free series Green Tuesdays Films & Lectures. Made possible by a grant from the Dane County Environmental Council (DCEC), this ongoing program has provided more than forty-five films and presentations in Monona alone. By expanding in September 2010 to reach five area communities and again in 2011 to reach eight, more people are gaining awareness of the resources we rely on and the actions we can take to better our world;
- By promoting Sustain Dane rain barrels at the Monona Farmer’s Market, local homeowners will have harvested an estimated 406,403 gallons of rainwater by year’s end, keeping harmful runoff from our lakes;
- In collaboration with the UW and the City of Monona, Monona residents were able to share their concerns about our city, and we were able to learn a lot about sustainability’s progress in Monona, with a sustainability survey delivered to nearly 3,100 homes by our members and students in the UW-Nelson Institute Capstone Class.
- Building on the first Capstone Class, a second class of UW students has encouraged dozens of community groups and city committees to participate in the Year of Water by taking on a water conservation or management project during 2012.
- Events and information are made available to more people by recording our events and kickoffs (including Green Tuesdays presentations) for Monona Cable and for the Sustainability Section’s DVD collection;
- Local, homegrown food is available to more people by assisting St. Stephen’s Church in the planning and creation of their community garden, opened in April 2008;
- As the “Clean-Up Brigade” for the Monona Memorial Day Parade, we educated parade-goers on recycling and waste reduction;
- We successfully appealed to our city for green demolition and building practices for the Garden Circle redevelopment on Owen Road, and for the purchase of police vehicles that cause less environmental harm and save fuel costs;
- People will learn about the value of water conservation by a variety of methods, including our Water Conservation Challenge, as we work with the city, the UW Nelson Institute, the Herald-Independent, and a variety of community groups to educate ways to offset the the 32% water rate increase that began Novemer 1, 2011;
- People attended free educational events at the Monona Community Center where they interacted with representatives of Sustain Dane, 1000 Friends of Wisconsin, the Village of Johnson Creek, the Jefferson County Board, the Alliance for Sustainability, the Aldo Leopold Nature Center, Focus on Energy, myfairlakes.com, Dane Buy Local, Seventh Generation Energy Systems, the Monona Farmer’s Market, Monona Community Gardens, Monona Elementary PTO, and the mayors of Washburn and Bayfield, Wisconsin;
- People using Schluter Park and enjoying Winnequah Park’s creek and lagoon see less trash and more beauty because of our several park clean ups;
- Cable TV and YouTube viewers can learn ways to have more environmentally-friendly holidays through seven award-winning Green Holiday Ideas videos created for Monona Cable in 2007, followed by five more videos recorded for the holiday season in 2008. The twelve videos feature 43 community members. (View them by clicking here.)
- Readers of the Herald-Independent’s “The Natural Step” column learn about composting, backyard chickens, peak oil, and myriad other topics that help them live better;
- Community artists of all skill levels and ages created artwork for our community postcard art project, A Valentine to Monona. Opening on Valentine’s Day, 2008, the exhibit at the Monona Public Library had 197 entries; and
- Our city policies and practices are becoming ever more resource-efficient and our buildings ever more energy-efficient because of our members’ work for the City of Monona Sustainability Committee. Five members of The Natural Step Monona have volunteered their time and energy to the committee, which prepared a winning grant proposal for the city’s participation in the Energy Independent Communities program, organized the well-received Green Monona Tour, and is working on a conservation water rate structure for the utility.