Sunset at Grand Canyon (Arizona, USA) seen from Yavapai Point. July 2007. Author: Tobias Alt
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Authors Phil Green
Published 2007
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This page is the beginnings of a portal for United States community action. The majority of our information about this is collated via our place pages ...Near you

Most of this page focuses on USA community action topics. Separate pages cover Resources USA, US news and US sustainable community events

USA topic articles[edit | edit source]

and associated news articles

Biodiversity[edit | edit source]

Citizen science

Other Initiatives

Environment quality[edit | edit source]

Open Government Homepage, United States Environmental Protection Agency (government)

Drought National Drought Mitigation Center - U.S. Drought Portal

Wikipedia: Drought in the United States, 2010–13 Southern United States drought, 2012–14 North American drought

News and comment


Seattle Stopped Sucking—So Can You, Oct 26 [1]

Study: Pollution Kills More People Than War, Smoking, Hunger, and Other Causes of Death, Oct 20 [2]

Open spaces[edit | edit source]

Great Old Broads for Wilderness - Land Trust Alliance -, find a great park near you

Community Greens

Communities nationwide are taking down their backyard fences; backyard commons already exist in numerous cities including Boston, Sacramento, Baltimore, New York, and San Francisco.
Community Greens are multi-functional spaces for gardening, recreation, and leisure which provide social, economic, and environmental benefits to urban residents. Communities that create backyard commons have increased interaction with neighbors throughout the planning and implementation process, which results in a stronger overall sense of community. Other social benefits include decreased crime from having more eyes on the street and having safe places for children to play and adults to relax. Community Greens, like other types of urban green spaces, significantly improve the ecological functioning of urban habitats. Vegetation and permeable pavement slows stormwater runoff and allows for groundwater recharge. This in turn reduces pollutant loads being carried to nearby waterbodies during storm events. Urban environments are often significantly warmer than outlying suburbs, mostly due to the prevalence of low-albedo concrete surfaces. City trees mitigate this heat island effect and cool the urban microclimate through shading and evapotranspiration. When neighbors take down their fences, backyards are transformed from fragmented habitats to connected corridors for urban wildlife. City dwellers recognize value in green space, often simply from an aesthetic standpoint, and this is reflected through increased property values. W

Trees, woodland and forest[edit | edit source]

ACTrees, Alliance for community trees - Tree City USA


List of U.S. National Forests: The United States has 155 protected areas known as National Forests covering 188,293,938 acres (762,000 km2/294,208 sq. mi). The National Forests are managed by the U.S. Forest Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Tree City USA is a tree planting and tree care program sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation for cities and towns in the United States. List of Tree Cities USA

Coasts[edit | edit source]

Blue Frontier Campaign, marine conservation activist organization which has established a nationwide network of grassroots (the marine conservation community or Blue Movement calls this 'seaweed') lobbyists. It is campaigning for an American Oceans Act to protect what the members call "our public seas" and is working to improve ocean policies in the 23 coastal states of the United States. Blue Frontier supports maritime community activists by distributing model policies and practices. W

Clean Beaches Coalition

Community and voluntary action[edit | edit source]

United We Serve, an official website of the U.S. Government - Volunteering and Civic Life in America

Community currencies activism[edit | edit source]

Commons Currency Project, Imagining a Great Lakes Commons Currency

TimeBanks USA

Community safety[edit | edit source]

Mothers Against Senseless Killing

News and comment

Chicago: Come for the fun, stay for the revolution, Nov 16 [3]

The Unsung Role That Ordinary Citizens Played in the Great Crime Decline, Nov 9 [4]

Cycling activism[edit | edit source]

League of American Bicyclists, The League's Bicycle Friendly America℠ program - PeopleForBikes - Stolen Bike Registry

Education for sustainability[edit | edit source]

Center for Ecoliteracy - Safe Routes to School National Partnership

Ethical consumerism[edit | edit source]

Center for the New American Dream - - - Wikipedia: List of Fairtrade settlements in the United States

News and comment


Apr 23 Towards sustainable economies US: Accessible local alternatives to Amazon Prime [5]

Free stuff[edit | edit source]

A potlatch is a gift-giving feast practiced by indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast of Canada and the United States, among whom it is traditionally the primary economic system. Since the practice was de-criminalized in the post-war years, the potlatch has re-emerged in some communities.[6]

Health[edit | edit source]

Active Living By Design, creates community-led change by working with local and national partners to build a culture of active living and healthy eating.

Change Lab Solutions, nonprofit which offers legal information on public health issues. The website states:

'It can be difficult—if not impossible—to find fresh, affordable healthy food in many urban and rural low-income communities. One way to make fresh produce more accessible is to encourage alternative retail outlets, such as farmers' markets, farm stands, and community supported agriculture (CSA) programs, where farmers can sell their produce directly to consumers.'
Their report entitled 'California Certified Farmers' Markets and Farm Stands: A Closer Look at State Law' argues for more flexible regulations. Change Lab Solutions has written a fact sheet entitled 'Creating a Permit Program for Produce Cart Vendors.' W

CDC's Climate-Ready States & Cities Initiative, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Health Care Without Harm US / Canada, press room

News and comment

2017: Economic Inequality and Health Inequality Are Inextricably Linked, Dec 5 [7]

2015: Surgeon General's Prescription for Health: Walk More, September 28 [8]

Localism[edit | edit source]

BALLE, Business Alliance for Local Living Economies -, a project of Democracy Collaborative - Institute for local self reliance, nonprofit organization and advocacy group that provides technical assistance to communities about local solutions for sustainable community development in areas such as banking, broadband, energy, and waste through local purchasing. The organization was founded in 1974. ILSR has two main offices, one in Washington, D.C., and the other in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The 1990 edition of the Whole Earth Catalog summarized ILSR's mission as follows: "ILSR specializes in urban community economic development that isn't dependent on welfare handouts. Unlike many similar organizations, they develop clever technical solutions to problems - they've been particularly successful in material recovery and other schemes to reduce waste. Their experience and thoroughly professional demeanor, together with a Washington DC location, has enabled them to be influential in policy decisions." W

News and comment


Nov 8 Joe's not sleepy, but he should wake up to American localism [9]

Apr 23 Towards sustainable economies US: Accessible local alternatives to Amazon Prime [10]

Road safety[edit | edit source]

National Complete Streets Coalition, Smart Growth America

Reduce, reuse, repair and recycle[edit | edit source]

Drop Box Finder - - The Swap-o-matic - US Composting Council - Post-Landfill Action Network, national movement of student leaders working towards a world without waste. - GrassRoots Recycling Network - The Repair Association - The Truth About Plastic

Wikipedia: Recycling in the United States: In 2012 the recycling rate in US was 23.8%. Since there is no national law that mandates recycling, state and local governments often introduce recycling requirements. A number of U.S. states, including California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Oregon, and Vermont have passed laws that establish deposits or refund values on beverage containers while other jurisdictions rely on recycling goals or landfill bans of recyclable materials.

News sources: Northeast Recycling Council Blog

Sharing[edit | edit source]

Pets to Share - City Dog Share


Cohousing Association of the United States, site includes a Cohousing Directory


Creating Cohousing, Building Sustainable Communities, by Kathryn McCamant & Charles Durrett,
How To Start A Tool Library (or any other type of Lending Library), Share Starter
Local Tools, rental and tool library software


Find an Existing Tool Library,


S400: Bringing Community to the Micro-level – The Opportunities of Urban Cohousing, 2012 March 5,

Social inclusion[edit | edit source]

Strike Fast Food, Low Pay Is Not OK - We Are Visible, empowering the homeless via social media

Sustainable livelihood[edit | edit source]

Caring Economy Campaign

Resilience Circles are small groups where people come together to increase their personal security through learning, mutual aid, social action, and community support.

News and comment


Mar 26 The benefit workers want most is less work [11]


Feb 17 Can We Earn a Living on a Living Planet? [12]

Urban sustainability[edit | edit source]

Better Block, nonprofit that educates, equips, and empower communities to reshape built environments

Center for Community Progress

Create Streets America

OpenPlans (Wikipedia) non-profit technology based advocacy organization which aims to help to open up government and improve transportation systems.

America Walks

Reimagining the Civic Commons - Civic Commons - Reimagining Our Cities' Public Assets

Walkabile Communities

Small Scale Developers & Builders, information from Congress for the New Urbanism

KaBOOM!, national non-profit dedicated to bringing balanced and active play into the daily lives of all kids, particularly those growing up in poverty

News and comment


Dallas non-profit creates bike share docks for neighborhoods, Feb 19 [13] ...Texas


Small Towns Can Be Resilient, Too, Mar 29 [14]

See also Barcelona

Near you[edit | edit source]


Ithaca, New York
Maine - New Hampshire - Vermont - Massachusetts - Rhode Island - Connecticut - New York State - Pennsylvania - New Jersey

Chicago - Detroit
Wisconsin - Michigan - Illinois - Indiana - Ohio - North Dakota - South Dakota - Nebraska - Kansas - Minnesota - Iowa - Missouri

Washington DC
Delaware - Maryland - Virginia - West Virginia - North Carolina - South Carolina - Georgia - Florida - Kentucky - Tennessee - Mississippi - Alabama - Oklahoma - Texas - Arkansas - Louisiana

Eugene, Oregon - Los Angeles - Long Beach - Missoula - Olympia, Washington - Portland - San Diego - San Francisco - Seattle
Idaho - Montana - Wyoming - Nevada - Utah - Colorado - Arizona - New Mexico - Alaska - Washington - Oregon - Hawaii

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External links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]