Here's the article link by Matt Hammer - thanks again Matt ! http://www.jerseycityindependent.com/2013/07/08/sustainable-jersey-city-takes-a-grassroots-approach-to-organizing-and-action/
Below are my re-posted comments to Matt's article, highlighting ways to become involved with SJC and my perspectives on funding opportunities for sustainability initiatives in Jersey City. These follow some of my initial thoughts shared in response to Andy Velwest's June Letter To The Editor post in the Reporter re: the City's budget challenges (budget gap now escalated to $21M ) - http://hudsonreporter.com/view/full_story/22897379/article-Fill-the-police-budget-gap-with-plans-that-work-for-everyone?instance=secondary_stories_left_column
Innovative Funding Strategies for Sustainability Initiatives and Sustainability Focused Economic Development / Jobs Creation Opportunities are being implemented in many urban centers around the country - we can do the same here.
Thanks Matt - covered a lot of ground here.
Will offer 2 refinements that are relevant –
1) Getting Involved –
YES! SJC's ongoing educational outreach efforts are a great way for folks to get involved with Committee and Project Teams working together to build momentum for a citywide sustainability movement; it will also give those who join us an opportunity to learn about a variety of topics that will make Jersey City greener and more sustainable. Ongoing events like our monthly 3rd Thurs eve SJC Green Drinks + ART series (July spotlight on RTC's ARTfest! and WATER Day Theme with education partners Food and Water Watch, GRACE H2O Conserve and Highlands Coalition tabling) and new Experts Talk Series - Greener Buildings, Energy Efficiency & Water Conservation For Neighborhoods, 1st Tues eve of every month, are good examples of this and we can use more hands on deck to expand these activities.
2) Funding Sustainability -
SJC's Rain Garden + ART Campaign is an opportunity for known successful working model to be replicated here in Jersey City, i.e., an engagement strategy that brings committed local government, development / design and neighborhood stakeholders together. Our Innovative Demonstration Project focus is intended to highlight how sustainability programs can be citizen led, design / install opportunities that ignite private, public & philanthropic partnerships (P3), which is the basis for innovative financing solutions to be applied and which will bring needed investment and economic development opportunities to Jersey City . Mayor Fulop does not have to bear the burden of financially underwriting a greener future for Jersey City alone - P3 partnerships are the key. And finally, to the JCRDA ED’s point, having a Green Guide without teeth (targets, incentives and mandates, community benefit agreement process, etc.) is just window dressing. For example, not coalescing a policy and implementation strategy for the City on Green Infrastructure has already cost us on multiple fronts – a looming ~$60M tab to reinvent our stormwater management system and lost investment dollars by major corporate and philanthropic interests who will not bring their investments here until we substantially commit to 21st Century & Beyond Strategies for Sustainable Cities – for innovative approaches happening elsewhere, check out these articles Sustainable Cities Collective Designing Common Spaces and Portland's Green Streets initiative.
Debra A. Italiano, Chair & Cofounder SustainableJC.org