Judy Moores next to 350 logo
Judy Moores, co-founder of Cool Davis Initiative believes we must reduce emissions to 350 Parts Per Million as one step towards regaining a respect for life and the earth.

Judy Moores of the Cool Davis Initiative shared her vision of what Davis could look like in future decades if we follow a path of ecological and social sustainability. What is your vision? Add your comments below or email web@cooldavis.org

Vision Statement:  Davis is a visionary force in the world whose people with hearts and minds seek to live by the principles set forth in the Earth Charter[1].  They have awakened within themselves a new reverence for life and all its diversity, the firm resolve to achieve sustainability on earth and with her myriad life-forms, a quickening of the struggle for justice and peace, and a love of nature.  The people of Davis have a sense of community and a sense of place that enriches life for all.  Together the population moves forward with hope and joy.

Vision:  Davis is a city whose citizens have a sense of global interdependence and share responsibility for the wellbeing of the human family and the larger living world. With celebration, the people of Davis work – starting with themselves – to build and maintain a sustainable world based on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice, and a culture of peace.

They see themselves as inter-related and interdependent with the animate and inanimate elements of planet Earth.  While downtown Davis remains an important center for the city, efforts in the coming years will set the stage and begin to build the various sections of the city as “urban villages”.

Davis will become known as a city with both a unique downtown area and a number of thriving urban villages, whose citizens enjoy a quality life

In future decades, Davis will become known as a city with both a unique downtown area and a number of thriving urban villages, whose citizens enjoy a quality life.  Each local village will work to develop a unique sense of place that both gives their residents a sense of pride and connection and offers visitors an interesting destination to explore.

Residents will know their neighbors, meet frequently on walks and in parks, at cafes and restaurants, at mini-farmer’s markets and small shopping centers that cater to everyday needs – grocery store, pharmacy, nursery school, hair dressers, pub, restaurants, general fitness/yoga center, etc.  Most have a coffee shop, cafes and restaurants with out-door seating to maximize interaction between patrons and passers-by and the enjoyment of nature.  All may have unique museums, specialty shops, and parks that bring visitors to the villages.

Each urban village has its own flavor – captured in unique bike racks, noted on street signs and the particular mix of services in its small shopping center.  Art and music are part of every day life.  With a mix of medium-high density housing, each district has space for community gardens and parks with walk and play areas as well as plantings and areas for wildlife.  The area around and adjacent to the shopping center area may be zoned for “cottage industries or businesses” and new apartment and/or condominiums will include small business spaces for rent. Every area of the city has affordable housing and a range of choices. Children will enjoy hiding in bushes, climbing over rocks, playing in water features.  Many people will work from home or walk or bike to their place of work.  Each area will strive to be carbon neutral with minimal waste. Fewer and fewer people will own cars. While some may occasionally rent or share cars, for the most part they will depend on their own feet, bikes, or public transport for most travel.

Schools and other community spaces will be available in each urban village for life-long learning. People of all ages and gender will have access to education, health care and economic opportunity within their urban villages, while specialized care will be available at a central location.  While safety nets and security are available for those who are vulnerable, all will be empowered with resources to develop their capacities.

Brought into right relationships with the wilderness, man would see that his appropriation of Earth’s resources beyond his personal needs would only bring imbalance and begat ultimate loss and poverty by all.  – John Muir

Downtown Davis brings together many businesses, services, and the twice-weekly large farmer’s market that service the whole city.  Art galleries, clothing stores, bookstores, museums, such as the Bike Museum and Explorit and many other amenities draw bustling crowds daily to the downtown area.  Certain streets will be closed to vehicular traffic except for trams or small buses.   During the evening, people stroll between restaurants, concerts, and movie theaters.

Most – 50-75%  – of residents will walk or bike to downtown whether for work, errands and/or recreation. Personal transit will be supplemented with small buses or trams, from early morning to late evening providing transportation throughout the city to connect the urban villages, with each other, the downtown area, the university, and other towns. Parking will be limited and expensive and for the most part unnecessary as cars become phased out.

Walking and biking are the preferred mode of travel for most people.  And to increase the pleasure of walking, there will be little gardens and/or fountains along streets and alleys in the downtown as well as in the villages.  Many people will add flower arrangements and plantings that hang from the sides of buildings or are tucked into corners near businesses.

Davis households and individuals understand the difference between needs and wants.  They are careful to reduce, reuse, and recycle materials in accordance with ecologic principles and systems.  They use minimal amounts of energy and live lifestyles that emphasize the quality of life and material sufficiency in a finite world.  They have learned that less is more – whether it is children, pets, or possessions.  The have internalized John Muir’s statement:

Brought into right relationships with the wilderness, man would see that his appropriation of Earth’s resources beyond his personal needs would only bring imbalance and begat ultimate loss and poverty by all.  – John Muir

Homes will be smaller and built to work with nature and solar orientation, use mostly passive energy efficiency techniques and conservation, with technology as an assistant to achieve carbon neutrality.  Most food will be grown with 150 miles of the city and much of it within the city in local, community and CSA gardens and farms.  The city has become in part an edible landscape with some decorative landscaping that uses native species and minimal amounts of water.

Davis citizens live with respect for earth and life in all its diversity.  They work to restore and preserve the integrity of local and regional ecological systems with special concern for diversity the natural systems that sustain life.  The migration flyways that border town, the preservation of the Blue Ridge wild regions, and the quality of both ground and surface waters are of particular concern. For special vacations, they will visit, walk and hike in the wilderness areas of the region.

Most citizens will support and work to elect government representatives who support the Earth Charter with its values and principles for a sustainable future for Earth.  As individuals and together they seek common ground in the midst of their diversity and embrace an ethical vision and universal responsibility that recognizes the spirit of human solidarity and kinship, the need to protect and share our common assets/wealth of clean air, water and land for the benefit of all living things including coming generations.  They recognize the need to live in harmony with the natural processes of nature for they belong to Earth.  They live with joy in their hearts that they are living their values and every day is a celebration of gratitude.

[1] The Earth Charter is an international declaration of fundamental values and principles considered useful by its supporters for building a just, sustainable, and peaceful global society in the 21st century. Created by a global consultation process, and endorsed by organizations representing millions of people, the Charter “seeks to inspire in all peoples a sense of global interdependence and shared responsibility for the well-being of the human family, the greater community of life, and future generations.”

It calls upon humanity to help create a global partnership at a critical juncture in history. The Earth Charter’s ethical vision proposes that environmental protection, human rights, equitable human development, and peace are interdependent and indivisible. The Charter attempts to provide a new framework for thinking about and addressing these issues. The Earth Charter Initiative organization exists to promote the Charter. The final text of the Earth Charter was approved at a meeting of the Earth Charter Commission at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris in March 2000.

[II] Background: In response to a worldwide growing understanding of the climate crisis developing on Earth, the international Kyoto Protocol environmental treaty was initially adopted in 1997, with the aim of achieving the stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.  The treaty was to go in effect in 2005.

On February 16, 2005, the Kyoto Protocol became law in 141 countries, but not the U.S. because of lobbying by corporations.  In response to the U.S.’s intransigence and on the same day the treat took effect, then Mayor Greg Nickels of Seattle, WA launched an initiative to advance the Kyoto Protocol through local leadership.  In 2005, then Mayor Ruth Uy Asmundson, on behalf of the City of Davis and in company with hundreds of mayors across the country, joined Mayor Nickels and signed the U. S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement.[i] Under the agreement, cities agreed to strive to meet or beat the Kyoto Protocol targets in their own communities by adopting and enforcing land-use policies that reduce sprawl, preserve open space, and create compact, walk-able urban communities with mixed use planning, promote transportation options such as bicycle trails, commute trip reduction programs, and public transit and many other actions that reduce “global warming” pollution. One of the basic ideas was to develop urban areas such that people may work, live and find recreation in close proximity to these areas of their lives.  Those signing the Mayor’s Agreement were also to urge state and federal government to enact policies and programs to meet Kyoto Protocol targets and pass greenhouse gas emission reduction legislation.

As part of the City of Davis’s implementation of the Mayor’s Climate Protection Agreement, city staff has worked with local citizens to develop the City of Davis Climate Action and Adaptation Plan, which was adopted by the City Council in May of 2010.

[III] Current and impending conditions that need to be taken into consideration when planning for economic development for the City of Davis:
1.         Fuel costs, will increase most likely increase dramatically in the years leading up to 2025.
2.         The climate crisis will proceed willy-nilly or possibly be slowed, but in either case, Davis can expect more variable and severe weather, limited water supplies, and at times, fires and flooding.
3.         All resources that are mined in some way will be reaching peaks in the coming decades – whether in terms of actual supply or in terms of costly environmental destruction and human health.
4.         Life may well become more basic, with a need for local/regional independence and self-sufficiency.  Conferences of the future may well be done in a virtual environment.
5.         Davis is not an island, but also needs to be connected with regional towns and cities in an effort to bring all along a new path that is less dependent on competition and more dependent on cooperation. At the same time, there needs to be recognition of diversity and different ways of doing things in the various towns and cities of the region.
6.         Davis has built a reputation for quality of life, a visionary aspect that includes bike paths and developments such as village home, and the proximity to a world-class university that supplements the cultural, intellectual and knowledge resources of the city.  Davis’ amenities come at the cost of higher fees and regulations, which many businesses are willing to pay.
7.         Davis, through prescient planning in years past of neighborhood areas with elementary schools and local shopping centers already has the basic structure for building “urban villages.”
8.         Transparency, consistency and fairness need to be incorporated into all regulations.
9.         Zoning will need to be changed to permit more infill and mixed use in each urban village.
10.      Farmer’s markets may be held on different days in different parts of town and the city will continue to need to work to preserve farmland and wildlife habitat throughout the greater region.
11.      All groups that make decisions that effect the city, such as local government, schools, businesses, etc. need to have individuals included who speak for those affected but may otherwise lack a voice in the proceedings: nature, children, etc.
12.      All projects need to be designed to minimize pollution of all sorts and maintain the health of the environment we share.