Sustainability is a tantalizing idea and a trendy buzzword. Who wouldn’t want to find a way to build, produce and consume more without causing damage to our land and its inhabitants?
But in practice, new ideas require so many trade-offs—and so much cooperation among public, private and nongovernmental players—that they often get stuck, especially at the federal level. Across a country with varied geography and regional economies, there are just too many competing industries, sectors and interests to find a way forward. So if you’re looking for innovation on sustainability, train your eye on states and cities.