Everybody can participate in sustainability in Los Alamos

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Tom Nagawiecki

Did you know that a major shift in the way Los Alamos County government does business is occurring, and has been occurring, for quite some time now?
Did you know that as a resident of the county you’re invited to become involved in this effort, too?
I’m referring to the county’s new Environmental Sustainability program.
Surprisingly, many residents are unaware of this program, even though it was adopted two years ago.  This new monthly column will keep you up to date on the program, its goals — and the steps the county is taking to meet them.
Today’s article provides some background information. In 2008, the county council adopted the Environmental Sustainability Initiative (ESI). Its adoption created a new direction for Los Alamos County — taking the broad concept of “sustainability” to a focused action plan with specific objectives, staffing and funding.  
The ESI focuses on eight areas:   environmental sustainability policy, waste and recycling, hydrocarbon independence, water, land use, economic development, education and outreach, and measurement and reporting.  
Short- and long-term programs and activities are outlined in the ESI, and the Solid Waste Division was renamed the Environmental Services Division in 2008 to provide oversight. The council’s Solid Waste Advisory Board became the Environmental Sustainability Board and now focuses on making recommendations to council on sustainability initiatives.
The county is taking the ESI to the next level — a detailed sustainability plan with indicators to track progress and set benchmarks to drive innovation and processes — not just for government operations, but for our community to become more sustainable in the future.  In upcoming articles, I’ll highlight some of these new initiatives, show you how we’re making a difference in practicing sustainability, and give you tips on ways you can help.
Check out our new Web site at www.losalamosnm.us/getgreen.

Tom Nagawiecki is an environmental specialist.