Over the past decade, the attention that has been paid to the environment and sustainability has been ever-growing. These days, individuals, businesses, cities and states face more and more pressure to make choices that will allow sustainable growth. While unfortunately some institutions have not answered the call to go green, others are doing their best to generate ideas. That's why last month New Rochelle, N.Y., released its 20-year plan for going green: "GreenNR."
In a press release
released April 20, the city of New Rochelle provided details on the plan that they have been working on for over a year. Tapped by Local Governments for Sustainability and New York City's Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability in January 2009 to serve as a poster-city for sustainability plans, the city has been collaborating with numerous sources as well as town residents to provide the most comprehensive and realistic plan possible. The GreeNR plan was drafted by volunteer community leaders.
In the draft, New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson expresses his enthusiasm about the ideas contained in the plan:
"Contained within these pages are scores of specific, achievable recommendations, aimed at improving the environmental, economic and social health of New Rochelle during the next 20 years and beyond. It is a practical guide to action that can be embraced regardless of one's views on global climate change."
GreeNR is organized in six different sub-categories of sustainability, including Energy & Climate; Resource Conservation & Waste Reduction; Ecology, Biodiversity & Public Health; Smart Growth & Economic Prosperity; Transportation & Mobility and Public Participation & Awareness. Given these six categories alone, it is clear that the city did its best to create a comprehensive plan that encompasses many areas of everyday life. In addition to breaking the plan down into separate sectors, it also includes several goals to be accomplished by 2030. Some of those goals include:
• Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent
• Plant 10,000 new trees on public property
• Cut non-recycled solid waste generation by 15 percent
• Build 95 percent of new housing near mass transit
It is the hope of the city that these ideas will not only make New Rochelle a city of sustainable living, but also a city of affordable living. It is projected that if the plan is implemented it could have significant cost-saving effects. While these steps seem positive and ambitious, the plan will not actually go into effect until it is adopted by the city council. Over the coming weeks, the GreeNR will be open for discussion on New Rochelle's website
. In addition, a public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, May 11, at 7:30 p.m.