Last Wednesday night, Maplewood’s Green Team hosted a two-hour Citizen’s Eco-Forum to gather input from residents about priorities for environmental issues facing the town.
Sixty people attended the event, which focused on six categories: natural resources, infrastructure, green economy, carbon footprint, green living and education.
According to former mayor Fred Profeta, now serving as the Green Team Vice Chair, "The purpose of [the] event was to make sure that the public has an important voice in the growth of sustainability in Maplewood [and] I think we accomplished that.” Profeta addressed the group, as did 2013 Chair Jim LoStuto. Green Team member Shannon Roark served as moderator.
Discussion topics were generated from the Green Team, surveys from last year’s Green Day and from forum participants. Facilitator-led discussion groups were given 30 minutes to agree on a rank-ordered list of the top 3-5 ideas they want to see the Green Team address.
“Lots of exciting new ideas and areas of focus came out of the discussions, and the Green Team now has its work cut out for it - in prioritizing and implementing as many of the good ideas as possible” said LoStuto. Some of the top issues participants addressed were cleanup of the Rahway River, advancing the Greenway, Complete Streets (biking and walkability of town streets), a municipal ban on plastic bags and styrofoam, use of renewable energy, home composting, and district-wide school recycling and composting.
In 2012, the Maplewood Green Team again met the rigorous requirements for achieving Sustainable Jersey certification, accumulating 305 points, second best in the category of mid-sized NJ municipalities.
The Green Team will discuss the forum's results at its next meeting and will also report to the Maplewood Township Committee. Task forces will be formed within the Green Team to address the ideas from the forum.
Anyone wanting to get involved with the Green Team is encouraged to email Profeta at FRP713@gmail.com. Results of the forum as well as periodic updates on progress made on the top issues identified will be posted on the Green Team’s website, www.maplewoodisgreen.org.
People who did not attend the event can submit their input online at: http://www.maplewoodisgreen.org/your-green-ideas-maplewood-green-day