Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 5
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
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Princeton’s Future Is Key Focus at Joint Meeting on Sustainability

Ellen Gilbert

Borough Council and Township Committee approved of Sustainable Princeton’s action plan and goals during a joint meeting between the two municipalities last Tuesday. Ways to make Princeton greener by balancing economic, social, and environmental aspects of the community were discussed.

Sustainable Princeton Steering Committee member Wendy Kaczerski, who also chairs the Princeton Environmental Commission, explained that the evening’s meeting was “about municipal leadership” and the process of governance through sustainable practice, which she characterized as a “model for other sectors of the community, including schools, businesses, and residences.”

Steering Committee member Matthew Wasserman elaborated on the goals of Sustainable Princeton, which included greening the built environment, adopting an environmentally preferable purchasing policy, improving transportation, building a local green economy, protecting health and natural resources, curbing greenhouse gases, and fostering community.

The goals were reflected in various suggested action items, a few of which were listed by Mr. Wasserman. Considering Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards when engaging in new construction or rehabilitation could be written into future resolutions, he suggested, as could adopting an environmentally preferable purchasing policy.

Adding that “sustainability is not just the environment, but has an economic and social side as well,” Mr. Wasserman advocated developing a diverse and stable local economy that allows for the existence of smaller shops that provide for people’s basic needs.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, and by 80 percent below the 2006 levels by 2050 was presented as something to strive for as a community. The numbers are state-wide suggested targets. According to Mr. Wasserman, understanding Princeton’s carbon footprint is essential to the process of curbing emissions as well.

“Everything I’ve been talking about is irrelevant or moot if you don’t have the community rally around these ideas,” Mr. Wasserman remarked, “Education is not about just the Township or just the Borough, or just the wealthy … it’s about everybody, and inculcating these procedures, processes, and this mindset into everyday lives.”

In addition to unanimously approving the goals of Sustainable Princeton and making a move to endorse the municipal action plan after further review, members of the Borough and Township governing bodies also authorized the group to move forward in finalizing the plan.

The public will have the opportunity to review the Sustainable Princeton plan and offer comments, noted Ms. Kaczerski. A meeting is scheduled for March 11 at 7 p.m. at the Suzanne Patterson Center.

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