Will Merydith/flickr4. Ed Malloy, Fairfield, Iowa.
In November, the city fathers in this liberal southeastern Iowa outpost unanimously adopted a Green Strategic Plan. Their vote was more than ceremonial: they also secured a state-funded grant to hire a sustainability coordinator, inventory their greenhouse gases, and create educational materials for residents. The new plan envisions everything from conserving energy to supporting local farms. Malloy, who’s been mayor since 2001 and heads up a local oil company, says the environment-economy connection is clear. He hopes Fairfield’s ideas will catch on: “We want to create a model community, a virtual template that other small towns can adopt to create the same results.”