2015 New Jersey Sustainability Report and Summit
“Recalculating,” the GPS voice said again.
Turning the car around, I reasoned that the gadget, although stern, was kind enough to provide an estimated time of arrival despite my wrong turns.
My thoughts immediately turned to my work leading Sustainable Jersey’s collaborative effort to develop New Jersey’s goals and indicators for sustainability: Isn’t a GPS for New Jersey, a simple device that points us to the goal, just what we’re after?
Task forces, local officials, Board members, green teams, schools and community members have all been working together for some time — dedicated to the goal of making New Jersey a sustainable state.
But without a ‘GPS,’ how will we know if we are headed in the right direction, or correcting course quickly enough? In fact, even a ‘GPS’ is useless unless we’ve entered our desired destination, which in this case means we’ve articulated a clear vision of what a sustainable New Jersey would look like. Only then can we measure progress towards or away from that direction.
To meet this challenge, for the last few years, Sustainable Jersey has been engaged in a collaborative process to outline the multiple dimensions of sustainability in terms of practical goals with indicators that describe observable outcomes at the state level. Indicators help us recognize milestones on the road to sustainability: taking their readings provides a report card on performance.
No A’s for effort – only for results!
For example if your goal is to lose weight, we’re not interested in your caloric intake or the amount of time spent on the treadmill: the indicator is what the scale says.
The process of developing goals and indicators for New Jersey is a little more complicated. For one thing, some outcomes like energy and climate change are clearly global in scope. In those cases, we need to figure out a proportionate goal for New Jersey.
For other goals, such as water quality and health and wellness, we will identify reasonable values for individual, local or regional indicators that can be combined to determine appropriate targets for the state.
Building on the series of reports prepared for the 2013 Sustainability Summit at Duke Farms and the feedback since received, Sustainable Jersey will launch the first in a new series of Sustainability State of the State Reports at the 2015 New Jersey Sustainability Summit on June 10.
The 2015 Sustainability State of the State Report will provide the vision, goals and indicators for each sustainability outcome and present current data and past trends leading up to the 2014 baseline year. We will establish a template for future years, providing an annual ‘dashboard’ view that will capture progress and illuminate danger zones.
How are we doing, New Jersey? Come join us to find out.
With over 400 municipalities and 150 schools and districts participating in Sustainable Jersey, now is the time to ask big questions. The New Jersey Sustainability Summit will provide an understanding of how we are doing as a state. Through educational sessions designed to share existing efforts and test emerging best practices, attendees will take home valuable resources to make progress in the community.
Participants will come away with a clear sense of the state of the movement, a new community of fellow practitioners and the inspiration to go back to their own communities and start making change from the community up.
2015 New Jersey Sustainability Summit
June 10, 2015, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
The College of New Jersey, Ewing
Twelve Educational Sessions
Experts and industry professionals will present real-life case studies, success stories and challenges for the following areas:
• Arts & Culture
• Community Information & Civic Engagement
• Energy Efficiency
• Alternative Energy Options
• Green Infrastructure
• Social Equity & Health
• Land Use &Transportation
• Local Economies
• Natural Resources
• Education, Skills & Enrichment
• Waste (Solid Waste, Toxics)
Gold-Level Sustainable Jersey Certification
With the Sustainability State of the State Report and the Sustainability Summit, Sustainable Jersey opens a new and exciting chapter in our evolution – moving certification from the bronze and silver levels to spinning gold! Only when state-level goals are in place will we have a basis for determining the ‘fair share’ each municipality and school would need to contribute towards collectively reaching them. This will make it possible to move from the prescriptive action-based standards for the bronze and silver-levels of certification to a gold-level based primarily on performance measures, demonstrating that the ‘fair share’ has been met.
While there are obstacles to sustainability which towns, cities and schools can’t tackle alone (e.g., economic trends, cross-border pollution, federal and state policy), there are many arenas where real progress can and is happening at the local level. This is the Sustainable Jersey sweet spot or point of leverage. Be a part of it!
Melanie McDermott is a Senior Researcher with Sustainable Jersey. Sustainable Jersey is a regular Dodge Blog contributor.
More than 135 people gathered at The Noyes Arts Garage at Stockton University for Creative Atlantic City’s Call to Collaboration on February 23 and 24. Those people were ready. Ready to talk — and do.
This two-day gathering was part of Creative New Jersey’s statewide series of community-based convenings, aimed at helping to fuel current efforts already in action in Atlantic City and to foster creativity, innovation, and sustainability by facilitating cross-sector partnerships. Creative Atlantic City participants represented a wide array of industries, cultures, ethnicities, and viewpoints including healthcare, economic development and business leaders, education, law enforcement, municipal government, arts and culture, tourism, philanthropy, social service, as well as a mix of residents, civic leaders and those who work in Atlantic City.
NJTV captured the atmosphere in a news segment that aired on the first day of the convening. The energy and passion was palpable during the 44-plus conversations and action plans — on topics as diverse as the participants — that were generated over the course of the two days.
• How do reduce we silos and increase collaboration?
• How do we encourage new business in Atlantic City?
• How do we get the necessary education and training to implement a Creative Placemaking project?
• How do we attract people to reside and invest in AC, especially through the arts?
• How do we foster community involvement and a planning process to engage the minority community?
• How do we create a clean and safe environment that encourages growth, productivity, and a sense of well-being?
• What are actionable steps to grow the business community in Atlantic City?
• How do we encourage increased gender, ethnic and racial political representation in Atlantic City?
• How do we create a community-driven structure to advance and resource the work of AC?
• How can AC reengage its disenfranchised population (i.e. at-risk youth, the homeless, and individuals with criminal records)?
On Day Two of the Call to Collaboration, participants focused on action planning and next steps. Four groups merged into one as the interconnectedness of business development and entrepreneurship, creative industries, technology, and healthcare emerged. The Business Growth group stayed together for the entirety of the day to solidify task forces and next steps to move ideas and initiatives forward, including the launch of a Facebook Group to get people involved in their efforts.
For more detailed information on these topics, including a full list of all ideas discussed, the notes from those discussions and the names of the individuals involved, visit our website to download a copy of the complete notes. You can also join the Creative Atlantic City Facebook Group to jump in and get involved.
We are extremely grateful to our Creative Atlantic City sponsors and partners who joined us in making this Call to Collaboration possible. They are: The Noyes Arts Garage at Stockton University, The Richard Stockton University, and Bally’s, plus our generous restaurant partners: Carmine’s, Formica Bros. Baker, Ginsburg Bakery and Cher Bread.
If you want to learn more about what’s happening in the Atlantic City or want to be connected to any of the Creative Atlantic City Host Team members or participants, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will connect you with them. You can also visit Creative NJ’s new website for more information on this Call to Collaboration and how you get join the statewide movement.
Creative New Jersey gratefully acknowledges the support of the New Jersey Recovery Fund. Launched by the Community Foundation of New Jersey and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, The Fund supports the nonprofit sector and local communities as they pursue a thoughtful plan to help rebuild New Jersey, and to ensure that the long-term needs of the state are being met as effectively as possible.
Kacy O’Brien is the Program Manager at Creative New Jersey. Creative New Jersey is dedicated to fostering creativity, innovation, and sustainability by empowering cross-sector partnerships in commerce, education, philanthropy, government, and culture in order to ensure dynamic communities and a thriving economy. Creative New Jersey’s leaders and partners are regular contributors to the Dodge Blog.
Photos are courtesy of Greg Alber, Sea Shore Photos