What was the defining moment that you led to this innovation?
In 2006, the New Jersey State League of Municipalities (NJLM) teamed with two environmentally committed mayors, Meryl Frank of Highland Park and Fred Profeta of Maplewood to foster environmental progress throughout New Jersey. It was decided that meaningful environmental change at the local level would not occur without the leadership of a hard-working group of mayors. The NJLM Mayors’ Committee for a Green Future (MCGF) was formed and Fred Profeta is the current Chairman.
The MCGF joined forces with the New Jersey Sustainable State Institute at Rutgers University (NJSSI) and the Municipal Land Use Center at the College of New Jersey (MLUC@TCNJ) to develop the certification criteria and tools that became the basis for the Sustainable Jersey program. Early support for the effort also included the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the New Jersey Office of Smart Growth and the Rutgers Center for Green Building.
In 2007, development of the Sustainable Jersey certification program continued and the MCGF, NJSSI and MLUC@TCNJ formed and facilitated a Sustainable Communities’ Working Group which consisted of approximately 150 New Jersey leaders, experts, and organizations including government agencies, non-profit organizations and businesses. Thirteen different task forces were established to identify specific aspects of local greening and sustainable development. After more than a year of intensive work, the Sustainable Jersey program took final form and was launched in February of 2009.
Sustainable Jersey strives for a better tomorrow one community at a time. The program encompasses the three equal, interrelated components of sustainability:
• Prosperity – support your local economy and use community resources
• Planet – practice responsible environmental management and conservation
• People – embrace social equity and fairness
The program is a consensus oriented, science based, politically relevant effort to align the interests and resources of actors from state and local, public and private, for the common purpose of achieving a sustainable New Jersey and world.
Tell us about the social innovator behind this idea.
Sustainable Jersey is a partnership that has at least three social innovators as follows:
Fred Profeta, Jr., Deputy Mayor, Maplewood Township, New Jersey and Chair of the New Jersey League of Municipalities’ Mayors Committee for a Green Future which leads the innovative Sustainable Jersey municipal certification program. Profeta has brought an emphasis on environmental achievement to the local scene and across New Jersey. This theme has found its way into many Maplewood municipal documents and projects, including Redevelopment Plans, the construction of a new LEED certified Police Station, and an Environmental Action Plan. Maplewood was named a “Climate Champion of the Year” by Clean Air-Cool Planet in 2007, and received an EPA award for environmental excellence in 2008. In April 2009, Profeta received a personal Green Leadership award from the United States Green Building Council. In November 2009, Profeta and Maplewood Township were awarded the inaugural 2009 Sustainable Jersey Leadership Award. Profeta speaks widely around New Jersey to promote Sustainable Jersey and he presented at the 2009 Local Government Climate Change Leadership Summit in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Randy Solomon, Founding Partner, Sustainable Jersey Program and a Senior Advisor at The Municipal Land Use Center at The College of New Jersey. Mr. Solomon is one of the partners that developed and continues to manage the rigorous Sustainable Jersey actions and overall program. Mr. Solomon's policy experience includes positions as a policy advisor on sustainable development for the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, director of the States Campaign for the Resource Renewal Institute in San Francisco, and policy director for the non-profit New Jersey Future. He has participated on advisory boards for federal and state government, civic organizations, and has advised major corporations. He writes and speaks frequently on sustainable development, land use policy, and using indicators in public decision making.
Donna Drewes, Founding Partner, Sustainable Jersey and Community Planner at The Municipal Land Use Center at The College of New Jersey (MLUC@TCNJ) has nearly 30 years’ experience in community and natural resource planning in New Jersey. Her work at the MLUC@TCNJ with municipalities in NJ focuses on sustainability, livable communities and transportation issues. Ms. Drewes has worked as a professional planning consultant in the private sector and for both public agencies and non-governmental organizations. Her experience includes extensive work in the development of master plan and conservation plan elements, background reports and ordinance drafting with an emphasis on rural and environmental resource management issues.
How did you first hear about Changemakers?
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