What Is Sustainable Norcross?

Do you recycle, compost, xeriscape, use rain barrels? Would you like to learn how? Are you interested in organic and locally grown produce but cannot find it? Do you admire the fabulous tree canopy in Norcross? Ever wondered how to certify your yard as a Wildlife Habitat? Are you concerned about the quantity and quality of our water? Is it better to use paper or plastic bags at the grocery? What natural products are safe but effective? Ever considered sustainable alternatives for flooring, clothing and other products? Where can you discard old electronics?

Well, let’s learn together.

Starting a new organization can be a daunting task. Then an online training manual advised:

"Don’t wait - Get started without funding, expertise, or fear of adverse consequences.

Seek useful resources - Information on the web, in literature, in the community, in person, from experts.

Seek ways to scale up - Transform successful solutions into a movement of local significance.

Have fun projects – enjoy doing. Your efforts can result in important benefits, and you can have a good time while you’re at it!"

And that is exactly what a group of like minded citizens did. The organizational meeting was held June 1, 2008 and we've been busy ever since.

Learn more about us here on our blog or contact us now.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Part 2 - You Gotta Look Where You’ve Been to Know Where You’re Going

After our long look back a day or so ago, it’s time to peer through the windshield, crank up the ole GPS and try to figure our where we are going and especially how we are gonna get there.

During our organizational meetings last year we mainly tackled some of the basic housekeeping details such as who, what, when, where, how and why. We did a pretty thorough job on the who, what and why. When is often a result of what. And…Who’s on first?

Back up a minute. Let’s try that again in plain English. Sustainable Norcross members participated in several brainstorming sessions sharing what is important to them; things they would like to learn about and do, expertise they are willing to share. All of that was distilled into the Goals of the organization, using categories found in the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) Green Communities Certification Check List http://www.atlantaregional.com/documents/env_green_comm_checklist_102208.xls
the City of Norcross 2030 Comprehensive Plan http://www.norcrossga.net/page.php?page_ID=1186086012 and the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Quality Community Objectives. http://www.dca.state.ga.us/development/PlanningQualityGrowth/programs/downloads/PQGAssessment.pdf That is our “What”.

We will focus our attention and efforts in the resulting areas. To figure out exactly what and how, we will use some guidelines.

So Guideline #1: Stick to our knitting! Things that the group decides to tackle must fit in one of these categories. Don’t worry, they are very inclusive.

Which leads me to Guideline #2: Narrow down. We have wonderfully creative and diverse people involved. No doubt if turned loose we will come up with a million and one exciting and productive things to do in these categories. But to actually stand a chance of getting somewhere that we want to be and to maintain our sanity during the trip, we must choose wisely.

Guideline #3: Don’t reinvent the wheel. Let’s not waste our energy and other precious resources creating from scratch something that already exists. Lucky for us that tool is available. It is a road map. A play book. A manual. (See http://www.atlantaregional.com/documents/env_green_comm_manual_010709.pdf
) It guides us straight to certification as a Green Community. This coveted designation is becoming a recognized measure of success among municipalities specifically in the 10 county metropolitan Atlanta area. Although similar programs are popping up all over the country. And this is year one for the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) award. We could be among the first at the award ceremony in the fall.

Guideline # 4: Pick low hanging fruit. Based on my height, I am hard pressed to pick anything but. So we will be concentrating on the quick successes, the easy wins – those checklist items that we can reasonably accomplish and document by June 30. I know, I know, that is only five months away. But don’t you get more done when you have a deadline?

Guideline #5: Divide and conquer. We have divided the 10 categories among the 5 Sustainable Norcross Commission members. Each has been challenged to become the Champion of their categories. That means they will be the drivers of activity, the conduit of information between the interested parties related to that topic. It does not mean they have all the fun; just that they become the funnel.

The “Funnels” stack up like this:

Trees and Green Space, Recycling and Waste Reduction – Kathy Nau

Green Building, Energy Efficiency – Heather Royston

Green Power, Land Use – Chuck Cimarik

Water Use Reduction and Efficiency, Education – Jim Scarbrough

Transportation and Air Quality, Innovation – Connie Weathers

Guideline #6: It Takes A Village. Not just to raise a child, but to grow an organization. Each and every one is important and necessary for the success of our endeavor.

Exactly which endeavor was that again? This journey that we all started together on June 1, 2008. The drive toward preserving our future by living smarter today.

Load up!

Watch for details of our first general meeting (par-dee) in 2009.

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