Sustainable CT, a new statewide initiative to support Connecticut’s cities and towns, launched a regional effort at two events today, one for Fairfield County (which met at Wilton’s Comstock Community Center) in collaboration with the Western CT Council of Governments (WestCOG); and the other for New Haven at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.  Created by towns for towns, the initiative includes a wide-ranging menu of sustainability best practices, tools and resources, peer learning, and recognition.

As sustainability becomes an increasingly critical part of municipal planning, organizers hope that the Sustainable CT platform is something that local and regional officials will embrace. Some of the broad range of actions supported by Sustainable CT include:  improving watershed management; supporting arts and creative culture; reducing energy use and increasing renewable energy; implementing “complete streets” (streets that meet the needs of walkers and bikers as well as cars); improving recycling programs; assessing climate vulnerability; supporting local businesses; and providing efficient and diverse housing options.

There is no cost for towns to participate in Sustainable CT, and communities are able to voluntarily select actions that meet their unique, local character and long-term vision. After successful implementation of a variety of actions, municipalities become eligible for Sustainable CT certification.

Among the Wiltonians attending the launch presentation were (pictured above, L-R):  Wilton selectwoman Deborah McFadden; Wilton Go Green‘s (WGG) executive director Daphne Dixon; Debra Thompson-Van, co-chair of the Wilton Energy Commission; WGG president Dana Gips; Peter Wrampe, vice chair of the Wilton Energy Commission; Alyssa Norwood of Sustainable CT; Christina Smith, executive director of Groundwork Bridgeport; Patrick Carleton, deputy director of CT Metropolitan Council of Governments; and Emily Basham, SolSmart Advisor at Connecticut Green Bank.

Other attendees included town planners from member municipalities of WestCOG and community leaders from Newtown, Fairfield, Brookfield, Ridgefield, Weston, Stamford, and Norwalk, plus Westport state representative Jonathan Steinberg and United Illuminating energy efficiency program administrator Sheri Borelli.