Fayetteville Arkansas, University of Arkansas--Old Main Overview

Fayetteville Arkansas, University of Arkansas--Old Main Overview
Overview of Fayetteville, AR

Sunday, May 03, 2009

NW Arkansas Positions Itself as a Leader in the Sustainability Movement

It wasn’t too many years ago that NW Arkansas was known as a rural farming area, if it was known at all. But Sam Walton had a small store in Bentonville – and you know the rest of the story.

As Wal-Mart grew by leaps and bounds, so did NW Arkansas. Wal-Mart’s major vendors started opening branches here and they and their families needed housing, schools, banking, hospitals, shopping centers, highways, sewer systems, and on and on.

The burgeoning population created the housing and construction boom which, of course, brought more families with more needs.

But the economic downturn around the country and the world caused folks in NW Arkansas to wonder if this growth could continue.

The answer may well be yes! Sustainability-based research and development has the potential to drive Northwest Arkansas for years to come and action is already underway to position itself as “Green Valley.” (Think California’s Silicon Valley 40 years ago.)

Fayetteville in particular has been a leader for living green. The city has had a recycling program for several years, recently won the Arbor Day Foundation’s award as “Tree City USA” for the 14th consecutive year, and frequently wins the Garden City award for cities of its size.

Those recognitions may be small compared to the overall sustainability movement, but it bodes well for the mindset of residents and local governments.

The University of Arkansas-Fayetteville has an Applied Sustainability Center already up and running.

Forbes Magazine ranked NW Arkansas as #4 in the entire country on their new list of Top 25 Best Places for Business and Careers.

Some companies that specialize in such things as ways to improve fuel efficiency, maximize resources, minimize environmental footprints, reduce greenhouse gases, and the world's dependence on fossil fuel have moved here to take advantage of both the favorable business climate and the sustainability movement.

A few companies from Sweden, long recognized as a leader in sustainability technology, have set up U.S. headquarters here. Several other Swedish firms are in the process of doing the same and still more are seriously investigating the possibility.

Perhaps we have to give another nod to Wal-Mart for taking the position 3 years ago to reduce waste to zero and make sustainability a priority. It takes time to achieve a goal that mammoth but the fact that they’re working on it has garnered attention around the world.

Wal-Mart has more than 1,300 locally based suppliers who answered the call to develop new packaging, logistics and other practices that are now spreading throughout the industry.
Even The Washington Post and Wall Street Journal have recognized and published articles about what’s taking root in NW Arkansas.

The potential for NW Arkansas as a major player in the sustainability (green) movement is here and it’s very exciting!

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