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Successful green communities entail the intersection of comprehensive community development with best practices in environmental sustainability. We find ourselves in an interesting time in the environmental movement. We have the opportunity to expand the environmental constituency to make it more diverse in people and voices. We must embrace the idea that the environmental conversation in urban, principally low-income neighborhoods can and should be about possibility and potential and what it is people want to see in their neighborhoods. We should move away from limiting the conversation to fighting projects that bring more environmental degradation.

The amazing work that is happening all over the country point to environmentalism at its best - where people are envisioning a sustainable future while standing firm against projects they know will bring adverse environmental outcomes. This is a strong combination of green planning and environmental justice. Our job is to make sure that we are not isolating the greening of communities into its own little silo – with small pots of money to draw from and goals that are solely focused on environmental outcomes. Rather, we need to make sure that the goals of environmental sustainability in communities is integrated with the goals of better housing, stronger businesses, and healthier residents. We should be open to the possibilities that traditional funding streams can and should support all these goals. We are at a point where we owe it to the communities we work in to present them with all the avenues to have healthy, environmentally sustainable places that are economically stable, provide opportunities for growth for its businesses and residents, and are places where people are proud to call home.

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