Check out these resources to help empower you to accelerate sustainability.

Learn from Success of 100+ Organizations (MPower Champions Program)

Through the MPower Champions Program 110 organizations in Dane County completed over 570 sustainability projects, resulting in over 60 million lbs of CO2 emissions avoided and over 2 million dollars saved annually. MPower was a year-long training program that gave organizations the tools and resources needed to reduce their environmental impact while saving costs and creating a healthier and more engaging workplace and community. The success of this program lives on in our Accelerate Sustainability Workshops.

MPower 10-Year Anniversary Case Studies

“Union Cab has added solar on two of our buildings and converted our sedans to gas electric hybrids which has had a dramatic effect on our carbon footprint. These actions were directly related to the MPower program and the contacts we developed from it.” Butch Hanson, Union Cab of Madison Co-op Board President

Defining Sustainability

The definition of sustainability is broad and evolving. In 1987, the United Nations Brundtland Commission defined sustainability as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

Sustain Dane’s holistic definition of sustainability includes a healthy environment, a just economy, and equity and well-being for all.

We base our definition on The Natural Step Framework’s system conditions. A sustainable society recognizes that the earth’s natural resources are limited and exist in a ecological balance. A sustainable society will only take from and add to the earth at a rate that the earth can replenish its resources. And finally, in a sustainable society, people have the capacity to meet their basic needs to achieve wellbeing.

Statement of Solidarity for Racial Justice 

Sustain Dane cares deeply about equity and anti-racism in all areas, including environmental justice, that is essential for our work with the community. Our vision and mission require us to support inclusive communities because all must have well-being to achieve sustainable communities. It is everyone’s social responsibility to ensure the Madison region is inclusive, fair, and just for all. Sustain Dane works to bring this forward in our holistic approach to sustainability and our programs. Additional statements specific to George Floyd and StopAAIPHate.

Past Program Impact

Sustain Dane has launched many programs that are interwoven in the fabric of Dane County sustainability. We encourage you to connect with us about these resources and others.

Connecting Working from Home & Sustainability

In 2021 we conducted a scoping study on telework in partnership with the Greater Madison MPO and made possible by Dane County’s Office of Energy and Climate Change’s Clean Energy Economic Development Grant Program. The study worked to understand the opportunities and challenges of long-term teleworking options as an important component of reducing vehicle miles traveled in Dane County. The Dane County Climate Action Plan targets a 15% reduction in vehicle miles traveled by 2050. Working with a cohort of local businesses, organizations, and individuals, we’re identifying teleworking best practices, equity considerations, and available tools for entities implementing telework and telecommuting policies. 

Outdoor Classrooms

Comprised of diverse local educators, parents, volunteers, and district leaders, the Outdoor Learning Network works to expand our local classrooms outside. The network connects educators to resources in the community to create meaningful outdoor learning experiences. Wisconsin Green Schools took over this program in 2019, follow them on facebook.

Yahara Watershed Academy

The Yahara Watershed Academy is a training and leadership-development experience that aims to empower a regional network of leaders for the Yahara River Watershed by supporting the creation of locally led initiatives benefiting our watershed. Clean Lakes Alliance now owns this program, learn more.

Step Up: Equity Matters

Step Up: Equity Matters has been working for a just economy since 2014 through facilitating learning, dialogue, and self-reflection at public workshops, private trainings, and speaking events. Step Up is now run by previous program partner Latino Professionals Association.

Sustainability Snapshot

Sustainability Snapshot was a resource to understand the state of sustainability in the Greater Madison Region in 2015. By measuring indicators of sustainability, this innovative tool illustrated the connections within our community, economy, and environment and helped inspire actions toward a more sustainable future. Learn about the Snapshot’s findings.

Ho-Chunk Resident Panels for Imagine Madison

In 2017, Sustain Dane and Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison facilitated panels to provide an opportunity for Ho-Chunk residents of Madison to influence city planning through the participatory process Imagine Madison. Read Imagine Madison’s report.


Rain Barrels

From 2005 to 2011, Sustain Dane helped to sell thousands of rain barrels in Dane County and nationally. The program increased awareness about the power of individual action for the health of our lakes. Sustain Dane no longer sells or installs rain barrels.


Our newsletter covers the latest sustainability news and events in Dane County and beyond. Check out our past issues:


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Community Resources

We work in a community with a documented commitment to growing more sustainable together. Take a look at these resources to learn more about Madison, Dane County, and Wisconsin-wide environmental initiatives.

Sustainability Stories

Sustain Dane’s Sustainability Stories platform amplifies the voices of people from different backgrounds, races, ages, genders and geographies that are working on and want to inspire others to build a more sustainable and inclusive community. We invite you to share your sustainability stories with us.

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Climate Action Story

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