Sustainability Summit Recap

A message from Sustainable Overlook steering committee member and summit organizer Josh Cabot:

We want to send a BIG thank you to everyone that came out last month and participated in our neighborhood’s first Sustainability Summit.  There was so much to cover and so we just made a few first steps, but it’s a tremendous start!

A few of the big ideas that percolated out of the day included:

  • Local economy is strengthened by looping our material and monetary flows back into our immediate community.  Perhaps we can develop a directory and map, or other method, for listing all of our neighborhood’s local businesses so that residents can make informed decisions that encourage them to look locally first when seeking out goods and services.
  • As a community we need to take a more direct look at equity issues in Overlook and find ways to be more culturally inclusive.  A series of “courageous conversations”, as Cinda Jackson coined it, could be an especially direct way to engage communities of all colors and cultures here in Overlook.
  • Social Equity and Resilience (aka Emergency Preparedness) are strengthened as neighbors get to know each other better.  Block parties are great ways for each street/block to know itself and to stay coordinated as a small piece of our broader community.  While a lot of block parties already happen throughout the summer in Overlook, maybe it would be more productive and interesting to ask all blocks to try and host a party on the same day…much like the Yard Sale / Free Share that happens on the same weekend every year across the entire neighborhood.
  • We have the power to directly shape the world around us – particularly the physical environment.  Exercising thoughtfulness around the plants we put into the ground and the chemicals we use to amend our yards and gardens is especially key.  Being pesticide free as a neighborhood is entirely possible, and using native plants to transform our outdoor spaces into rich ecologies is a great first step toward that goal.  Identifying and protecting the existing natural spaces we do have on the edges of neighborhood, such as the bluff, can certainly improve Overlook’s natural beauty, but perhaps more importantly it allows us to do our part for the broader ecologic health of the region.

A more thorough summary can be found on the Summit page here.

If you have other ideas, please do share them with us!  Everything we talked about at this summit is achievable if we all lift a little bit.

If you did not get a chance to leave feedback for us about how the day went and how Sustainable Overlook is doing in general, please email comments and ideas to

I hope this helps us sustain our momentum going forward toward greater health, livability and resilience.  Now go out there and help make it happen!