Sustainability exists at the intersection of society, the environment, and the economy.

Living sustainably is about making choices that protect Earth’s resources while empowering the lives which depend on them to ensure a better quality of life for the people in our community, our local economy, and our planet. It’s a commitment to environmental protection, economic viability, and social equity.

Urban Green Lab teaches communities how to live sustainably in places where culture begins.


places where people learn, like schools and camps.


places where people live, like homes and dormitories.


places where people work, like companies and nonprofits.

Get in touch with us for further guidance or to request a speaker or workshop.

A Little Change Goes A Long Way

From the food we eat to the cars we drive, we make choices every day that impact our habitat, climate, and fellow species. Making more sustainable decisions will have ripple effects that mitigate this impact. Informed by Project Drawdown, the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, and many other local and national sources, here are some easy changes you can make to contribute to positive change. 


Nashville's Sustainability Priorities

Urban Green Lab supports the city's goal to reduce emissions by 50 percent by 2050. Visit the Mayor's Office of Sustainability, Resilience, and the Environment to learn more about the city's goals and plans.

climate energy y

Climate & Energy

Transition to a clean economy through green jobs & training, renewables, & efficiency.

green buildings y

Green Buildings

Move to a built environment powered by carbon-free, renewables.

mobility y


Reduce vehicle miles traveled, plus drive-alone rate by 40% by 2050. All vehicles electric by 2050.

waste y


Create & implement the Solid Waste Master Plan with the intention of zero waste by 2050.

nat resources y

Natural Resources

Ensure clean water and air, with access to open spaces for resilience to climate change.

What is an Urban Heat Island?

Did you know some urban neighborhoods in Nashville can be up to 17 degrees hotter than in nearby rural areas? Moreover, communities of color are more likely to live in hotter places, putting them at greater risk for heat-related deaths and injuries.⁠

Read More

What is Climate Change?

Climate change refers to long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns. Since the Industrial Revolution, human activity has been the main driver of climate change, primarily due to burning fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas.

Read More

What is Sustainability?

Sustainability exists at the intersection of society, the environment, and the economy. Rather than perfection or shame, living sustainably is based on making decisions that preserve natural ecosystems we rely on.

Read More

What is Environmental Justice?

Environmental justice stems from wanting all people to have access to a healthy environment regardless of who they are and aims to ensure all people receive the same amount of protection from environmental and health hazards and access to clean environments to live, learn, and work.

Read More