Chittenden Meeting Minutes

Chittenden County Environmental Literacy Public Dialogue

Fletcher Free Library

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Meeting Minutes

Participants responded to the question, “What do you see when you picture an environmentally literate community?  What’s happening?  What are individuals, schools, businesses, organizations, etc. doing in your future vision?” as follows:

Public Institutions

  • A unified community promoting holistic education
  • Outdoor learning part of curricula in our schools
  • Systems that support our sustainable intentions
  • Student knowledge is the future environmental bridge from un-cleanliness to cleanliness

Private Sector

  • Vulnerable human and natural resources given heightened attention
  • Comprehensive macro-economic model (Environmental Services)
  • Decentralized energy production
  • Clustered development to conserve wildlife habitat
  • In 50 years, transportation includes local hydroelectric cars and national/international trains, ship and aircraft.  ALL energy is efficient and pollution free.
  • In 50 years, energy is carbon free and includes hydro, hydrogen, solar and wind.  Conventional nuclear is winding down (recycle waste).

Individuals

  • Children and adults are outside in all kinds of weather.
  • Everyone can articulate their sense of connection to nature.
  • Low impact, sustainable living
  • Part of nature not vs. nature
  • Environmental awareness includes knowledge of the physical and chemical inputs that sustain communities including not only local but global, natural and regional

Associations

  • A unified community promoting holistic education

Additional Visions

  • Local food systems and waste disposal
  • Global impact of every action known
  • Thinking/engaging all players (disciplines, community groups), systemic decision making – many perspectives
  • Measure and report full cost of decisions (economic, social and ecological).
  • Common areas are used to sustain community’s food needs.
  • Communities that are based on sustainable (environmental, economic, social) ethics and committed to this goal in schools, businesses, etc.
  • Decision making informed by understanding of Earth’s systems
  • Thinking through the generations

Participants responded to the request to, “Share some of the environmental projects and initiatives that already are happening in your workplace or community that bring us closer to an environmentally literate Vermont.” as follows:

Public Institutions

  • Burlington Legacy Project
  • Sustainability Academy
  • Climate Action Plan and city’s goal to decrease greenhouse emissions by 80% by 2050
  • Vermont Yankee and the direction they are going
  • City recycling, composting, leaf pick-up and Christmas tree recycling
  • Chittenden Solid Waste District and Intervale compost
  • McNeil Generating plant
  • Vermont Energy Investment Corporation
  • Efficiency Vermont
  • Clean energy development fund
  • Farm to School
  • Vermont FEED
  • Burlington School Food Project
  • Local Motion, Way to Go Week and other alternative transportation
  • Sustainable Schools Project
  • Portion of AARA funding going to smart grid and energy initiatives
  • Burlington School District’s commitment to sustainability K-12
  • University of Vermont’s (UVM) new LEED building and Sustainability Institute and Office of Sustainability
  • Community bike paths in Burlington and Stowe
  • Town Forests (i.e. Fayston) and outdoor classrooms
  • Town Conservation Commissions
  • Trees for Streams – U.S. Fish and Wildlife
  • Parks and Recreation Department
  • Waitsfield Town Apple Orchard
  • Vermont Housing and Conservation Board
  • Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity offers Button Up Workshops
  • Petitions to decommission Vermont Yankee at Town Meetings
  • 3 Squares – debit card use at farmers’ markets, additional support for families
  • Science camp at UVM for kids at Perkins Museum (Perkins Museum Environmental Science Day Camp)
  • Grand Isle school system – wood chip powered (15 years)
  • Emphasis on youth walking/riding bikes to school – Walking School Buses in Hinesburg and Winooski
  • Town Forest Initiatives – Bolton
  • UVM natural areas have public access
  • Landscape Change Project at UVM
  • Vermont Geologic Survey – groundwater studies and mapping for towns (geology and health)
  • Rivers management – Agency of Natural Resources restoration projects
  • Recycling in public institutions
  • Housing trusts building and selling green housing stock
  • Champlain Housing Trust
  • Community College of Vermont has LEED building in Winooski

Private Sector

  • Methane Digesters – dairy farms
  • Bolton Valley wind projects – NRG, Earth Turbine, Northern Power
  • Local co-ops – Onion River/City Market, Burlington farmers’ markets and others
  • Seventh Generation
  • Green Mountain Coffee Roasters
  • Mad River Glen – Ski green if you can.
  • ReStore (Recycle North)
  • Intervale (farmers, etc.)
  • Yestermorrow
  • Car Share VT/Zipcar
  • Bike Couriers and Bike Share (Local Motion)
  • Inexpensive solar cells for sale in hardware stores
  • City Market solar
  • Draker Solar
  • GroSolar
  • NRG
  • DC Energy – North Hero
  • Efficiency Vermont (private?)
  • Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC)
  • BEC – wood burning plant
  • Green Mountain Power – Lowell
  • Spofford Well Drilling – geothermal
  • Good News Garage – revamping cars
  • Green Taxi – propane/biodiesel cars
  • Stores selling “green” products
  • Association in Rural Development – sustainable development worldwide
  • Montgomery-based carbon capture sequestration
  • Jorgenson Environmental Consultants
  • Native Energy
  • Fresh Network
  • Hardwick Beef (?)
  • Carbon Harvest
  • Brighter Planet – eredit card
  • Gardener’s Supply
  • Small Dog Electronics – electronics round-up
  • NRG in Hinesburg (architecture and wind)
  • Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility
  • Sustainable builders/contractors

Individuals

  • Chapin Spencer – Local Motion
  • Bill Koch – Nordic ski clubs for kids
  • Rob Mullen – presentations about wilderness travel pairing art and ecology
  • Bonnie Acker(man?) – City Market gardens
  • University of Vermont Horticultural Farm
  • Sue Morse – Keeping Track
  • Gardens
  • Buzz Hoer – Lake Champlain Citizens Advisory Committee
  • Individual gardeners doing their own food growing
  • School science coach and sustainability coach (Anne Tewksbury-Frye)
  • Votes on Property Assessment Capital Energy (P.A.C.E.) project
  • Candy Page reporting in Burlington Free Press
  • Volunteers
  • People who are running the Environmental Literacy Plan process
  • Blittersdorfs, Jan and David, at NRG Systems and All Earth Renewables building energy economy
  • Mikayla Ossler – No Idling bill and program
  • Community gardens and gardeners
  • Jim Flint in Burlington at Friends of Burlington garden
  • Park n’ Ride commuters – Richmond, etc.
  • Everyone who recycles and composts
  • Those who mentor children and people with disabilities to get them into the outdoors
  • Green Up Day participants and organizers
  • People who “commit” random acts of kindness and “greenness”
  • Robin McDermott – Mad River Localvores
  • Four Winds volunteers
  • Jen Green and Wanda Hines – Co-directors of Burlington Legacy Project
  • Ducks Unlimited volunteers
  • Citizen scientists
  • David Dean – Connecticut River steward
  • Chris Sleasor – Amphibians Crossings
  • Nature artists
  • Ecoliteracy participants
  • Sustainability Coordinators – Gioia Thompson (UVM), Heather Ellis (St. Mike’s), Christina E. (Champlain College) and others across the state
  • Christmas Bird Count
  • Environmental Education students
  • Lake Champlain Walleye Association members

Associations

  • Lake Champlain Basin Programs
  • Way to Go Program (Deb Sachs)
  • Button Up Program (CVCAC)
  • Safe Routes to Schools – different schools and towns
  • Environmental committees
  • Islanders Caring for the Environment
  • All the community, housing and land trusts
  • Outdoor activity groups that steward the area in which they recreate (Fellowship of the Wheel)
  • CSA’s and farmers’ markets
  • Town Energy Committee – Jericho, Essex, etc.
  • Co-ops (food and housing) – City Market
  • Africans living in Vermont
  • New Farms for New Americans
  • Vermont Refugee Resettlement
  • Healthy City Youth Farm
  • Composting Association of Vermont
  • ECHO’s teen environmental leadership program
  • Shelburne Farms
  • Wilderness River Expedition Art Foundation (North American, Bolton headquarters) – Boreal Forest and wildlife, art and science coupled with adventure
  • Transition Towns (Shelburne and Montpelier) – peak oil transition to sustainability
  • Group condo composting in Colchester
  • New opportunity – hanging laundry from condo
  • Governors Institute regarding science and technology
  • Vermont Clean and Clear (clean water)
  • Friends of Potash Brook
  • Watershed Associations
  • Friends of the Mad River
  • Front Porch Forums
  • Intervale (conservation and nursery)
  • Food Works
  • Land Trusts – South Burlington, Lake Champlain, South Hero, etc.
  • Lake Champlain Walleye Association
  • Grow Team O.N.E.
  • Lewis Creek Association
  • Ruffed Grouse Society
  • Vermont Coverts
  • Valley Futures Network
  • Burlington Permaculture group
  • Nature centers – Audubon, North Branch Nature Center, etc.
  • Vermont Food Bank
  • Vermont Youth Conservation Corps
  • GMC
  • Northeast Organic Farming Association
  • Vermont Sugar Makers Association
  • Vermont Family Forests
  • Vermont Associations of Snow Travelers
  • Vermont Farm Bureau
  • Vermont Outdoor Guide Association
  • Catamount Trail
  • Vermont Institute of Natural Science
  • Vermont Center for Ecostudies
  • Keeping Track
  • Vermont Forest Products Association

Participants responded to the question, “In order to get from where we are today to your future vision of environmental literacy, what more needs to happen?” as follows:

Public Institutions

  • There could be more sustainability curricula.
  • Sustainability could be a part of every institution.
  • There could be full-cost reporting by institutions.
  • Local food could be produced and served in schools and FAHC.
  • Service learning could be increased or mandated.
  • Carbon control
  • There could be more urban planning – keep downtown, downtown; clusters of villages, etc.
  • Methane control
  • Truck, rail, commercial transportation could be integrated.
  • Healthcare could be “greened.”  (Cleveland healthcare as a model – healthy people)
  • Public transportation could be improved (ie. Montreal’s system).  Bike swap, better bus system, etc.
  • There could be watershed-based pollution control.
  • Coal-based energy production could be reduced.
  • We could switch to renewable energy (solar, hydro, methane, wind).
  • Wildlife habitats could be conserved (riparian zones, forests, etc.).
  • Public buildings could be models for LEED architecture (and follow to private homes).
  • Sustainable buildings could be built.

Private Sector

  • The full impact of business decisions could be understood both locally and globally (triple bottom line).
  • 1509000/14000 – voluntary environmental planning
  • Incentives/subsidies/rebates (government mandates) could be used.
  • There could be a LEED-type certification for professional associations.
  • How do we level the playing field?
  • Whole cost/benefit could be considered (true costs, not just price; cost = full price).
  • Pollution/accounting
  • There could be product stewardship – manufacturers take full responsibility for waste (cradle to cradle).

Individuals

  • Individuals could drive change in systems and institutions.
  • Changes in individual behavior could drive cultural behavior and systems change.
  • There could be incentives to change – “good” environmental behavior results in individuals and businesses receiving economic, education and tax credits.
  • There could be more public discussion – environmental literacy plan to instill/share common goals to see its intrinsic value.
  • The reach could be engaged/broadened into the community.
  • There could be short, sweet ad campaigns that are glop-on-able.
  • Policies could be put into place to “force” change (recycling, energy efficiency, etc.).
  • Grassroots, incremental change toward environmental literacy could be the tipping point.
  • Success toward a/the goal could be measured – engaging in the dialogue, are we going in the right direction?
  • Parents and children could learn from each other and be the reason for change (also start early).

Associations

  • There could be public/private partnerships – sometimes one is more efficient and can facilitate/leverage other work/funds.
  • There could be partnerships of social and environmental organizations (e.g. Planting Hope in Montpelier).
  • Environmental includes people
  • There could be more little pieces of everything to attract and have something for everyone (art, science, adventure, etc.).
  • There could more interdisciplinary service learning projects.
  • Associations could mobilize manpower.
  • There could be leadership and communications training (business, fundraising, etc.).
  • Benefit is motivation.
  • We could focus on problem solving.
  • Social justice could seamlessly be integrated into the environmental literacy effort.
  • Financially sustainable – bottom line
  • There could broad-based involvement/inclusion.

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