On Tuesday (April 10), this was on the agenda for the Frederick County Council workshop:
Proposed Bill Update to the Act to Establish Sustainability Commission – Shannon Moore, Manager, Office of Sustainability & Environmental Resources
The agenda item was a basic and straightforward administrative item, to discuss updates and revisions to the code to reflect the change to a Charter form of government.
But the short presentation and discussion also reminded me that it has been slightly more than nine years now since the Board of County Commissioners on which I served approved the resolution (on March 26, 2009) to create the Frederick County Sustainability Commission, which has this as it’s mission statement:
The Frederick County Sustainability Commission represents the natural environment’s critical relevance in making community decisions that will sustain for all time a healthy, abundant, affordable, and inspiring place to live and work.”
Establishing the volunteer commission was a logical step after our board had established the Frederick County Office of Environmental Sustainability (now called the Frederick County Office of Sustainability and Environmental Resources)…and after that office, under the very capable leadership of Hilari Varnadore (the first director of the county’s Office of Environmental Sustainability) had established the internal Sustainable Action Team. The Action Team was comprised of 31 County employees representing 22 Divisions/Agencies, and focused then on six themes based on the direction and strategic goals of our Board of County Commissioners:
a. Natural Systems and Green Infrastructure
b. Renewable Energy and Conservation
c. Waste Reduction
d. Building Standards and Sustainable Design
e. Transportation Alternatives
f. Green Purchasing
Altogether, over the last nine years, these efforts have had a significant effect and real value in reducing the environmental impacts and greenhouse gas footprint of Frederick County government, and in providing a variety of information, support and programs to encourage and assist county residents and businesses in doing so, as well.
Given the general values, politics and practices of the Blaine Young Board of County Commissioners, in office between December 2010 and December 2014, I was worried that these entities and their work might be ended. But for a few reasons, including the fact that these efforts reduced costs and saved county government and taxpayers money, they were able to continue, even if with very limited resources.
As noted on the county website, the Frederick County Sustainability Commission meets, as it has since the beginning, on the 3rd Wednesday of each month, from 3:00pm to 5:00pm (unless otherwise specified). All meetings are open to the public.
Anyway, I’m proud of the role I had as a county commissioner in the establishment of the Frederick County Office of Sustainability and Environmental Resources and the Frederick County Sustainability Commission.
I’d also like to note that the county has been fortunate to have some truly outstanding, capable and dedicated people working as the staff and volunteers that have transformed the original initiative into an effective and valuable, ongoing and evolving part of what Frederick County government does to support our community.
There are many reasons why my campaign tagline is what it is, and ends with “sustainable:”
Vibrant, Affordable, Sustainable“
In that broader context, the term refers to the importance of ensuring that the choices we make as a community are socially, environmentally, and economically sustainable.
As a county…as a community…we have done some of that well. But, in a rapidly changing world, with new technologies, a shifting and global economy, growing population, and significant local and regional…and worldwide…environmental concerns, we can do better.
It’s impossible to do better enough without thinking systemically, and focusing on the “triple bottom line” of social, economic and environmental sustainability and resilience in a manner that enables us to effectively meet the challenges ahead, and even to convert some into genuine opportunities.
As the Frederick County Office of Sustainability and Environmental Resources and the Frederick County Sustainability Commission move into their second decade next year, we need to consider efficient and effective ways to expand these activities.
Office of Sustainability and Environmental Resources Newsletter (Spring 2018)