I have been subjected to granola overload on Sustainability recently over the airways. The more I hear, the more I am convinced that few people have any perspective, or much knowledge on the subject. This is fine as an excuse to smack the kitchen table and scream out dumkopf or muttonhead, but it is serious business when it could well represent reduction in property owner equity or even political persperation. We are going through very, very difficult times and all we need are other reasons to shock the system and step all over any sense or sensibility that exists in governance.
Let's get a grip on Sustainability/GreeNR. Other communities are beginning to see the light and it is our turn.
There have been many other times during the evolution of civilization when we had to change based on natural causes (climate) or technological change (bronze age, iron age). It takes place as a natural process of evolution, of survival of the species. Recently, we have experienced these types of changes we can more readily identify with and these can be correctly define Sustainability and for our community GreeN.
This should not be a discussion around evolution, changes in technology, and certainly no cause for hooking up with ICLEI who have no place on our balance sheet and whose representative, Ms. Newborn, gave a disastrously inept presentation as I understand it, to the League of Woman's voters. If I have her name or the audience's name wrong, I apologize but it doesn't matter much as the debate over global warming, for example, has no significence to people at the Municipal governing level.
If I heard it correctly, Ms. Newborn is making some claims to Sustainability/GreeN, no more likely, ICLEI, having some provenance in recycling. Typical sophistry; an Al Gore claim to inventing the Internet. Recycling, air pollution, New Orleans levees, many more, come from legislation either at the federal or state level. Is it any wonder that Westchester County has separated from these folks. As I understand it, New York City never had a great deal of interest except perhaps for any value as an educational or information source. This is important for you to know as GreeN Sustainability is literally a re-scripted version of Bloomberg's initiative.
Here is a "modern" example of nature or technological advancement advancing the agenda for what we now call "sustainability. And, unless I am given the wrong impression, I am fully supportive of GreeN technology only not what I think I hear, see, or read going on in our cty.
The Industrial Revolution in the 19th Century is an outstanding example because it both defines and describes a massive change and also indicates support, opposition, and later, the need for another evolutinary action to address the damages it set into motion or caused.
As you know it revolutionized production, created tons of jobs, noveau rich many exploitive of workers, changed other major systems such as financial and banking, import and export, so much more. It was te "sustainability" of its age, although the phrase would have no meaning at this time. Of course there were political support and opposition, much of it in England, some here. Americans, being a more venturesome people, pretty much took it to heart. In England, however, there were large groups of what were known as "Luddites", who vehemently opposed it... sort of like our conservationists today would have similar problems with fracking, for example.
Unfortunately, despite huge advances in technology and standards of living, many systemic and environmental disasters, and worker exploitation as well, led to subsequent changes in unionizaton and more recently, in Environmental Impact. Sustainability is actually like the nurturance of a culture, a dialectic.... change begets more change until..... who knows?
So we have experienced all this before. Nothing is new, even the errors I fear that our City Fathers will make it not seeing the forest for the trees. This is not a municipal pool to splash around in. We need to see it at our level for what it is and is not. One thing right off the bat is that it is not, repeat not, an opportunity to create any initiative at the community level that can be perceived as a MANDATE. You will know that is going on if you see an additional fee based income placed on your tax bill.
Washington and Albany can handle and should handle intiatives or mandates in energy, climate, other environmental impact areas.
New Rochelle must indeed, look for opportunities to incorporate modern sustainability impact areas into RFPs, new Developmental areas, and indeed, on restoration of municipal and educational facilities. In sum, we need to beef up our flabby and flagging srategic planning processes and outcomes deritivates with such GreeN matters. It is likely that funding can be available on occasion via NYSERDA, Albany, and Washington. I think the end state of a refurbished, redirected Armory is a picture-perfect candidate for GreeN.
I am full bore positive for this; not like a spewing, granola munching uber liberal would be, but as a responsible taxpayer who understands family and municipal finance, planning, prioritization, historical perspectives, and roles and responsibilities. The City can put some folks to work looking at linkages with provicers. Bloomberg did. He came up with a system in partnership with Home Depot, to exchange old fashioned lighting for new technologly. That, along with some incentives for homeowners, is the way to go at our level of governance.
We talk about so many things here while forgetting simple facts of governance. We have no greater responsibility than to rebuild, restore, and re-energize this City and any Council Member who departs from this, rationalizes an escape route from common sense and community sensibility, should step down.
I really have nothing at all against Noam going to Rio as long as it does not lead to any further muddying of what is actually the clear waters of Sustainability/GreeN. If the Council has a problem with his trip, bring it up in public forum. If the community has an issue, bring it up to the Council Members in your districts.
But again, GreeN is nothing more than a means to an end. It is a white roof for a new development, a new type of lighting for a refurbished city building. Perhaps if the City Council demanded a very active role and voice in the IDA function, we would have more clarity and less confusion.
I rest my case.