Sustainable Rhode Island

“…to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”  -- The World Commission on Environment and Development (The Brundtland Commission)

“Sustainable” is working and living in ways that can continue for generations to come.  Examples of sustainable practices are: meeting our energy needs from clean renewable sources such as wind and solar power rather than more polluting forms of energy; producing foods locally rather than trucking them in from far away places; or designing buildings with healthy materials that use fewer resources to heat and cool.  Practices that work for future generations encompass almost every aspect of our lives: the air we breathe and water we drink, how we grow our economy and develop our communities;  ultimately, these practices determine our health, safety, and prosperity.

Sustainable RI is a multi-faceted initiative to transform Rhode Island into the nation’s first Sustainable State.  The Apeiron Institute launched Sustainable RI as the Rhode Island Sustainability Coalition in 2001 to put “sustainable” thinking at the heart of how we grow and develop our state.  The Coalition, with more than 50 partners, can point to a number of successes:


  • Extensive research of Sustainability programs worldwide, including Boston, Portland, Seattle, Chicago, Main, Minnesota, Oregon, California, Sweden and New Zealand.
  • Passage of legislation for Environmental State Buildings and a House Senate Joint Commission for Sustainability
  • Hosting statewide Sustainability Conferences and High Performance Building Summits
  • Launching an energy cooperative, People’s Power & Light that now supplies renewable energy to over 3,000 users
  • Expanding International Walk to School Day from 1 to 8 school districts
  • Establishing the RI School Gardens Coalition, now the Children’s Garden Network  
  • Creating the Sustainable RI Directory – a sustainability clearinghouse with over 1,000 sustainable listings & resources
  • Developing the RI Sustainable Living Festival as the premier sustainability event in the region

The future of Sustainable RI begins with a clear compelling vision that paints a picture and charts a course to guide the enormous work that lay. This Vision is a living document that encompasses the hopes and dreams of thousands of Rhode Islanders working to create a healthy sustainable future for our state in the coming years.

Sustainable RI is working to identity and support, and, in some instances, establish key Leadership Networks who can do the work necessary to bring the vision into reality over the long term.  We are working to bring organizations together to identify best practices, coordinate and maximize resources, eliminate duplication and accelerate our progress.  Leaders include representatives from state agencies, non-profits, businesses, academia, and concerned citizens.

With 39 cities and towns, Sustainability at a municipal level is an achievable and manageable goal.  The Sustainable RI web site is an easy to use, on-line resource to help locate people, businesses, and resources working to promote sustainable practices throughout the state.  Members have special access to areas of the site that allow them to safely post and meet others in their community.

In previous years this ever widening community gathered for the RI Sustainable Living Festival & Clean Energy Expo.  This weekend long celebration brings thousands of people from throughout the region together to learn about the solutions to help move us closer to a sustainable society through education, the arts, and family fun.

In 2008 Sustainable RI begin a targeted membership program to create “sustainability practitioners” in 3 areas: Households, Schools, and Businesses.  Our goal is to create a critical mass or tipping point of people and institutions making their homes, organizations and communities sustainable such that they become beacons of change that ripple outward to ever growing numbers of Rhode Islanders.

Join us now and help transform Rhode Island into the nation's first sustainable state!