Green Planning is a comprehensive, legally mandated program of environmental protection and restoration. The Netherlands', National Environmental Policy Plan (NEPP) is considered "the world's most advanced national program for creating an economy that doesn't destroy the environment." (The Netherlands' Radical, Practical Green Plan, Alex Stephan and Alan Atkisson, in Whole Earth Review, Fall 1995, pg. 94)

The Netherlands, with its small land area and increasing population, may be the earliest model of the future scenario facing major industrialized countries and their urban areas. "Holland is one of the world's most crowded nations, with about 1, 145 people per square mile (compared to the U.S. figure of 70). By 2010, they will be sharing their small country with seven million cars, fifteen million cows and 450 million chickens. Their "environmental space" --a measure of the land's capability to sustain a given population -- is tiny, and well past full."

The NEPP identifies eight themes around which environmental policy is organized:

Climate Change (global warming and ozone depletion)
Acidification (acid rain)
Eutrophication (excessive nutrients from fertilizers and manures)
Dispersion (toxic chemicals in water, air and soil)
Waste Disposal (garbage, waste prevention, re-use and recycling)
Local Nuisance (noise, odor and other annoyances)
Groundwater Depletion
Squandering (the unsustainable use of renewable and non-renewable resources)

The Netherlands' plan uses integrated lifecycle management, energy conservation, sustainable technologies, and improved public awareness as the cornerstones for making sustainability achievable. Integrated lifecycle management closes resource loops by making producers responsible for whatever remains of their product after the user is through with them. Energy conservation makes industries competitive and lowers environmental production costs. A crash program has been instituted to develop sustainable technologies and products, redesigning many elements from the ground up. The government is involved in massive public education programs involving schools, ecology centers, environmental groups and the media.

An English version of the Netherlands' Green Plan is available without cost from:

The Royal Netherlands Embassy
Office for Health and Environment
4200 Wisconsin Avenue NW
Washington DC 20016

In the United States some green planning is taking place. Chattanooga, Tennessee, a worn industrial town, is in the process of transformation. They used an innovative 'visioning' process to allow residents, business leaders and local officials to create a public consensus about the city's future. All agreed it should be cleaner, greener and safer with rehabilitated housing and nonpolluting jobs. Direct action has included installation of oil skimming devices on parking lots and commercial properties to protect waterways, use of electric buses, and revitalization of the riverfront and downtown through recycling of old housing and factories. In other places, Sustainable Seattle tracks indicators of environmental and economic health. Connecticut cities are working to rehabilitate abandoned trolley and rail lines. These cities are looking for a way to take a combined approach to solving environmental, economic and social problems. (Steve Learner, Chattanooga Green Revival, in New Age Journal, September/October 1995)
Green Plans on the Internet

Green Planning