From: Mayor Joe Gierlach

To: Anyone who identifies with the Greater Nederland Area.


The idea of #NedZero began as the culmination of several major planning documents. Starting in 2010, the Nederland Board of Trustees (BOT) decided to gather input from our citizens to create a vision for the future of our town. After one and a half years, on September 6, 2011, the BOT adopted Envision 2020 as our guiding document. It was heavily skewed toward sustainability and resiliency. A large poster of the nine vision statements hangs on the wall of our main meeting room as a reminder of that vision.


Over the next several years, in the same meeting room, these major planning documents were debated, created, and approved:

Need for Action

The Sustainability Action Plan, quickly became a coalescence of all the sustainable items in the other master plans. Furthermore, while those plans were being written, the Fourmile Canyon Fire, the 2013 Boulder Flood, the Mountain Pine Beetle epidemic, drought and other climate change related events have impacted Nederland, highlighting the importance of adopting a sustainability action plan.

The next idea was that #NedZero needed to be a dynamic, living, action plan that would grow organically and adapt to our changing needs. For example, the Boulder Flood closed our major road to Nederland, and illustrated the need for a localized economy. Resiliency has shifted from an idealistic vision, to an urgent need.

Need for Crowd-sourcing

Crowd-sourcing is distributed problem-solving.

We simply can't expect our small Town Hall Staff to keep track of the action items in all of the master plans above – much less, accomplish all of them. We also can't afford to allow these master plans to sit on a shelf, or drop the ball on some items in favor of others.

We need to leverage Nederland's greatest asset – our community of volunteers, companies and organizations. #NedZero acts as a vehicle to coordinate the efforts of all these people, building a critical mass of community members, as champions, co-champions and organizations that take on different action items.

Tracking Progress

In January 2014, Nederland was selected with 20 other cities in the U.S., to participate in the Leadership STAR Community Program; the smallest city selected. The STAR Communities Program tracks our progress toward becoming a sustainable community. STAR criteria fits well with #NedZero, and is integrated into our action items.

So, #NedZero naturally became a living document as an interactive website and program, that provides resources, transfers information, tracks progress, adapts to changing conditions, and provides a feedback loop for everyone involved.

We have a big goal: To Become the Most Sustainable Small Town in the U.S.. Quite frankly, because we are a small mountain town, separated geographically by just enough space, to create our own unique sustainability culture, that gives us an advantage in achieving this "John F Kennedy, We Choose to Go to the Moon" type of goal.

Your Turn

So, I invite you to browse the pages of #NedZero:

  • See what you find interesting or passionate about.
  • Try out the search tool.
  • Sign the #NedZero Pledge and become part of the community.
  • Determine your personal level of involvement, or “role”. Are you an appointed Advisory Board member? Town Employee? or Interested Citizen?
  • Contribute to the community discussion in the Conversations section, using hashtags on various Social Media platforms.
  • You don't need a login. You can use your own favorite social media, along with our hashtag system, to post images, links, articles, videos, track results, pose questions, introduce ideas, round-up volunteers, etc.
  • Click on the Action Plan section, and notice what you can expect from the feedback loop.
  • By clicking on an Action Item, you can check out the people, or organizations, who are managing different aspects of the programs.
  • See how the town is providing resources to help these people realize their goals.

Remember that we are all volunteers trying to work together to make Nederland a better place. Assume that your neighbor has the best intentions.

Sustainably Yours,

Mayor Joe Gierlach, Nederland, Colorado