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Sustainable Rose Villa
“Sustainability” is a word that appears frequently these days in the popular press, and it can mean quite different things depending on the context in which it is being used. In his book, Confessions of a Radical Industrialist, Ray Anderson defines sustainability this way, “In business, sustainability is all about coming up with ways to meet our needs (not wants-needs) today without undermining the ability of other folks to meet their needs tomorrow.”p.31.

I admire Anderson’s business model and his business practices, but I want to be more explicit and inclusive about who the “folks” are whose “needs – not wants” are being considered both now and in the future. I would offer Barbara Kingsolver’s perspective as a complement to Anderson’s:

“A new question in the environmentalist’s canon, it seems to me, is this one; who will love the imperfect lands, the fragments of backyard desert paradise, the creek that runs between farms? In our passion to protect the last remnants of virgin wilderness, shall we surrender everything else in exchange? One might argue that it’s a waste of finite resources to preserve and try to repair a place as tame as Horse Lick Creek. But I would not. I would insist that our love for our natural home has to go beyond finite, into the boundless- like the love of a mother for her children, whose devotion extends to both the gifted and the scarred among her brood.

Among the many admirable characteristics of the Rose Villa community is its Board of Directors’ commitment to “Sustainability” as the first of its seven strategic principles to guide long range planning for Rose Villa. Speaking to the assembled residents on April 21, Board of Directors Chairman, Don Holzenagel, fleshed out the Directors’ commitment to making Rose Villa an innovative, affordable, growing community where we residents enjoy independence and choice while collaborating with one another and a supportive staff as we age in place here.

That commitment to sustainability is being expressed in the careful sequencing of redevelopment of the Rose Villa campus. From the donation to Habitat for Humanity of useable cabinets and appliances from the apartments coming down, to the saving and replanting of native plants and roses from the redevelopment area into our current gardens, these finite resources are being preserved and finding new purposes. Further, the residents’ group called “Bringing Nature Home,” has been accepted as a regular member of the Rose Villa Residents Council, committed to the practice of “naturescaping as an essential part of creating livable communities that are built on healthy environments.”

Don Holzenagel succinctly expressed the nature of Rose Villa in his April 21 address, “To serve our residents in ways both excellent and inclusive, helping them to live vigorous, meaningful, healthy, and independent lives, in a community which is environmentally and financially sustainable.

”What a wonderful vision! What a gratifying commitment! How thankful I am to have come to this non-profit community where these principles guide sustainable living and sustainable development.