North Bay Forward

Systemic, Place-Based Planning for a Sustainable, Resilient Future

Recent natural disasters provide stark reminders that we live, work and play in a fire ecology. As our neighbors, colleagues and friends struggle to rebuild their lives, we pause to rethink how we live in this region and envision a healthier, happier and more prosperous future for all. Originally launched by Sustainable North Bay and Sonoma State, North Bay Forward is a collaborative initiative to harness the collective talent, vision, and experience of a range of business, community, public sector and academic leaders to envision this future and engage in the systemic change and collaboration needed to usher in a sustainable, resilient North Bay community.

During our inaugural visioning charrette, we identified the four interconnected systems, upon whose health the future we envision depends: natural, structural, human and cultural. Our monthly lunch series brings together cross-sector community partners, faculty, students and staff to drive collaborations that build sustainability and resilience in the North Bay Region across these systems. Each vegetarian lunch starts with a short presentation on an existing collaboration that provides a stepping off point for attendees to share their aligned activities and informally discuss next steps needed to reach regional goals. Topics include Local Food & Food Security, Productive & Protected Landscapes, Partnerships between Large Organizations & the Local Municipalities and Cracking the Nut on Scope 3 Emission Reporting. Held on the second Wednesday of each month, these lunches are catered by local restaurants and held at the Environmental Technology Center.

“If we haven’t specified where we want to go, it is hard to set our compass, to muster enthusiasm, or to measure progress. But vision is not only missing almost entirely from policy discussions; it is missing from our culture. We talk easily and endlessly about our frustrations, doubts, and complaints, but we speak only rarely, and sometimes with embarrassment, about our dreams and values.”
– Donella Meadows