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David Wilcox asked about community networks that emphasize sustainable
development. I'm forwarding the information below on Sustainable
Development Online based in Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA. Sustainable
development is a major focus for the city and the local environmental
community, also a major feature of a new urban redevelopment plan (not
covered below, but soon to be added to the network) that rehabilitates
former downtown industrial sites as bioremediation facilities, a
zero-emission industrial park and environmentally-oriented conferencing
facilities, among other uses.
 
Our network is a public-private partnership with the local internet
access provider, currently unfunded and depending on volunteers, though
we will probably seek funding later this year.
 
Rich Bailey
Project Director
Chattanooga Community Link
   & Sustainable Development Online
http://www.chattanooga.net/SUSTAIN
 
 
Sustainable Development Online & Chattanooga Community Link
Community Networking Update, April 22, 1995
 
Background
        Sustainable Development Online is a project of the Chattanooga
Community Link, a grassroots group dedicated to establishing a community
computer network in Chattanooga. Co-sponsors are the Chattanooga
Sustainable Development Roundtable, an outgrowth of the local groups that
facilitated the President's Council meeting last January, and Chattanooga
Online, a commercial Internet access provider which donates computer time
and consulting assistance to the project.
        In its first year, the Chattanooga Community Link organizing
committee concentrated on the technical, organizational, funding, and
planning issues involved in creating a network from scratch. Around
November 1994, we decided to shift our focus to getting input from a
broader sample of the community, presenting a fully functional
demonstration project, and doing whatever we could with no budget.
        The result is Sustainable Development Online, a worldwide web
home page collecting local and Internet resources on sustainable
development (internet address http://www.chattanooga.net/SUSTAIN).
        The service went live in mid-January at the Chattanooga meeting
of the President's Council on Sustainable Development.
 
Goals
        Planning is under way with local environmental groups and others
to make Sustainable Development Online an ongoing service. Our goals are:
        1. Community-oriented publishing on the worldwide web. We've made
a start with sustainable development, which will continue to expand.
General community information is not yet as fully developed.
        2. Reasonable public access. To make the service accessible to as
many people as possible in Chattanooga, a series of public access
terminals around the community is planned for later in the year. Free
public access is now available at Chattanooga Online and the Cleveland
Public Library.
        3. Community input and cyberspace literacy. These two topics are
combined because it's difficult to ask for input without providing some
education. Explaining the community network and the Internet to community
groups, professional associ-ations, neighborhood associations, nonprofit
agencies, and (more important) getting their input is essential to make
the community network a community asset.
 
What's Happening Now
        Between January and late April, Sustainable Development Online
has roughly tripled the amount of information it offers on Chattanooga's
sustainable development initiatives and environmental news.
        The service dovetails with other online Chatta-nooga information
-- including RiverValley Partners' Chattanooga Data Book, the Chamber of
Commerce member directory and the Chattanooga News Bureau's press kit --
in establishing Chattanooga's presence on the Internet.
        The new information, along with a new design, was
demonstrated to the public at Chattanooga's Earth Day celebration in
conjunction with the EarthCare 95 Conference on Christianity & the
Environment, held at UTC on April 21 and 22. New information
available includes:
        * full text of the city's October 1994 sustainable development
briefing book
        * a roundup of 1995 Earth Day activities in Chattanooga
        * an online brochure for the EarthCare 95 Conference on
Christianity & the Environment
        * an excerpt from Healing the Earth: A Theocentric Perspective on
Environmental Problems and Their Solu-tions by Richard Young, an
organizer of EarthCare 95
        * the Chattanooga Nature Center's monthly newsletter and other
information (soon)
        * an article on the Southeastern Center for Ocean Arks
International (The "living machine" solar-aquatic water purification
systems invented by Ocean Arks founder John Todd are used for science
classes in some area schools.)
        * an announcement of the April meeting of the President's Council
on Sustainable Development in San Francisco