Greenest Communities in Westchester

Greenest Communities in Westchester

Green Star AwardsFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contacts:

Doug Wood, Grassroots Environmental Education (516) 883-0887 or (516) 423-6021

Cara Cea, Pace University, (914) 906-9680, ccea@pace.edu

Greenest Communities in Westchester Win First Green Star Awards

142-Point Evaluation Addresses Local Efforts on Climate Change, Sustainability and Environmental Health

Pleasantville, NY, March 24, 2010 — Grassroots Environmental Education, a non-profit organization, in partnership with the Pace University Academy for Applied Environmental Studies, announced today the results of a county-wide assessment of the efforts of towns and villages in Westchester County to address key environmental issues.

Using a comprehensive checklist developed by Grassroots called “How Green Is My Town?”, over 100 Pace students conducted interviews with municipal, school and business officials of 43 Westchester municipalities from November through early March. The communities with the highest combined scores on 142 widely-accepted attributes of a sustainable and environmentally-aware community will receive Green Star Awards in recognition of their achievements at a ceremony today in Pleasantville.

The six towns receiving Green Star Awards are: Bronxville, Chappaqua, Katonah, Larchmont, White Plains and Yorktown. Survey results for these and all other communities in Westchester have been posted, with recommendations, online at www.HowGreenIsMyTown.org/westchester where the municipalities are rated but not ranked.

Electric vehicle parking?

Pace University is the first to complete a pilot program that Grassroots intends as a model for change on a national level. Students from universities in Nassau and Suffolk counties will be next to complete the assessments of their areas. The pilot program in Westchester was funded in part by Con Ed.

Questions included in the survey ranged from “Does your town provide special incentives for ‘green’ building projects?” to “Does your town recycle e-waste?” and “Does your town offer preferred parking for electric vehicles?”

“We were delighted to find so many of the towns in Westchester out in front on these issues,” says Patti Wood, Executive Director of Grassroots, “but there is always room for improvement. The goal of our program is to help communities share ideas and resources, and to find ways to move ahead on a green agenda even during these tough economic times.”

“Each sector of the community has a vital role to play in making a town truly green,” says Michelle Land, Director of the Pace Academy, and the Environmental Consortium of Hudson Valley Colleges & Universities. “When the local government, school system and business community are working together in a cooperative effort, the results can be innovative and significant.”

Ready-to-go ideas

Grassroots first announced the launch of their comprehensive, science-based web site, www.HowGreenIsMyTown.org last spring. The “greenweb” offers a resource for government agencies and school systems seeking to address key environmental issues, providing links to ready-to-go policies, program ideas and cost-effective solutions. It is designed to give local citizens and decision makers the tools they need to bring about change.

Patti Wood of Grassroots stressed that the evaluation scores for local towns are dynamic, and towns that adopt policies or take other steps to address key issues should contact Grassroots to have their scores updated. An annual review and update of the evaluations is planned. All of the questions, answers, as well as details of every town’s scores, are available online at the web site: www.HowGreenIsMyTown.org/westchester.

About Grassroots Environmental Education

Grassroots Environmental Education is a NY-based not-for-profit 501 (c) (3) organization founded in 2000. Grassroots is dedicated to educating the public about environmental toxins and their impact on human health. Through the production and distribution of science-based materials, the organization seeks to empower individuals to act as catalysts for positive change in their own communities.

About Pace Academy for Applied Environmental Studies

Pace University Academy for Applied Environmental Studies works with every academic unit of Pace University in a comprehensive program to increase interdisciplinary educational opportunities for students and faculty, expand collaborations and partnerships with external institutions and experts, and create research and advanced study programs on matters of community, national and global import. www.pace.edu/academy

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