Communications - Office of Environmental Affairs
The developing consensus that the problems of climate change, sustainability and environmental toxins must be addressed at all levels of government mandates the establishment of a dedicated Office of Environmental Affairs (OEA) within every municipality.
The OEA should have both the responsibility and authority to coordinate local governmental efforts, and to develop and maintain effective communications between residents and local decision makers, as well as with surrounding municipalities.
Many municipalities have environmental commissions or committees, and this provides a good starting point - but not a substitute - for a dedicated office. Our experience in rating the towns in Westchester County, New York, demonstrated the need for a dedicated individual with this responsibility. Read the report.
Who's Doing It Right
The Township of Montclair, New Jersey was the first municipality in the state to set up a recycling program, and one of the first to sponsor a farmers' market. Today Environmental Affairs Coordinator Gray Russell oversees all of the Town's efforts to be green, from biodiesel vehicles, to composting, to disposing of e-waste.