Sustainability Action Network Programs

Diesel Health ProjectThe Diesel Health Project (DHP) works in the Kansas City region to protect the health of the community by identifying and documenting environmental and health problems caused by commodities movement in the Kansas City region, and taking action to ensure that the problems are mitigated as early and effectively as possible. The primary focus is on diesel exhaust and other pollutants emitted by freight transportation, warehousing, and related activities. DHP endeavors to educate the public, including community, business, and religious leaders, and residents of neighborhoods near to any sources of pollutants. They are building a coalition of public health, environmental, and other organizations that can share information and combine resources. The project particularly wants to empower community members to obtain the knowledge, skills, and abilities to protect themselves and their families. The Diesel Health Project, fiscally sponsored by SAN, is part of the MoKan Clean Air Coalition, and a member of the national environmental justice organization, Moving Forward Network. They are engaged with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Kansas City Region 7, in developing national and local regulatory enforcement of clean air laws.


Matt Tucker, photographer

The Sustainability Action Network is an active community participant in the development and adoption of plans to protect Capability I & II farmland from urban development and industrial land uses. Sustainability Action continues to work for prime farmland protection at any juncture of the public planning process: We participated in the community-wide effort that prevented the industrialization of 145 acres of Class I and Class II soils in the Kansas River bottomlands north of Lawrence. We provided input towards the adoption of the Lawrence North East Sector Plan and the Comprehensive Plan Environment Chapter, both of which have safeguards for Class I and Class II soils. We supported the de-annexation and rezoning from “industrial” to “agriculture” of 87 acres of prime soils east of Lawrence. And we joined with other stakeholders in preventing the approval of a 64 acre regional shopping center in the Wakarusa River bottomlands south of Lawrence.
Energy Conservation & Renewables –reducing our carbon footprint by promoting a carbon diet, an energy diet, conservation, and decentralized renewable energy. The primary purpose of industrial societies is to make money for the oligarchs, while making products or services is only a means to that primary end. The method employed is “throughput”, which means the cycle of “input-commodification-output”. Each product sale turns a profit. The faster the replacement rate, the more sales, the greater the profit, and the more raw materials extraction. Modern advertising is the driver used to create buyer dissatisfaction with present reality so people will then crave what is being offered for sale. Fossil fuels are the feedstock for this hyper consumption. Coal is used to power iron smelting and generate the electricity that energizes other industrial processes, commercial activities, electronics and automation, and lighting. Natural gas (methane) is used for space heating, synthetic fertilizer production, and increasingly, for electricity generation. Petroleum is used for innumerable things: transport fuels, lubrication, pesticides and herbicides, pharmaceuticals, plastics, asphalt, building materials, furniture, carpet, paints, clothing, toys, packaging, and all the gew-gaws that clog the big box retail stores. The faster this materials extraction cycle can be driven, the more ecological and cultural damage occurs. Making any part of this process more energy efficient simply extends its reach and is counterproductive. That’s why corporate greenwashing always embraces energy efficiency, but never energy conservation, or for that matter, resource conservation. Two strategies to stop climate disruption, species extinctions, and ecological degradation, are conservation and renewable energy. We can’t continue the same level of resource extraction, and congratulate ourselves for wreeking havoc more efficiently. It is critical that we abandon our consumptive industrial lifestyle, not by austerity, but by frugality. We can embrace a sharing community lifestyle that uses less, with the material support provided by renewable energy and materials (solar and biomass).