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Sustainable Jersey Certified


Sustainable Maryland Certified, University of Maryland

Sustainable Jersey Certified is a model for a similar program being developed in Maryland, Sustainable Maryland Certified.  "Sustainable Maryland Certified is a new initiative of the Environmental Finance Center at the University of Maryland (EFC) designed to support Maryland’s 157 municipalities as they look for cost?effective and strategic ways to protect their natural assets and revitalize their communities. Using best practices in resource areas like water, air, waste, energy, equity, and economy, a municipality can earn points toward sustainability certification."

"This free and voluntary program, which has the full support of the Maryland Municipal League (MML), will help communities choose a direction for their greening efforts; complete their chosen actions with help from program tools, trainings, case studies, and other resources; and be recognized for their accomplishments. Sustainable Maryland Certified will offer a menu of actions, allowing communities to choose activities specific to their needs and plan across community priorities to achieve multiple community benefits.

Certification actions will be based on best practices as identified by sector?specific task forces of resource protection and economic development experts under the direction of an Executive Committee that will provide guidance and structure to the program development process. These actions and associated resources will also be vetted through a Mayors’ Advisory Council that will speak to the feasibility and usefulness of proposed certification actions, tools, and trainings, as well as help to identify any resource gaps."

Sector?specific task forces are now forming. These groups will be charged with tailoring certification criteria, tools, and trainings to meet the needs of Maryland communities. Currently, the task forces include:

A Natural Resources Task Force which will develop sustainability criteria related to water quality, land preservation, stormwater management, green infrastructure, community forestry, and resource management.

A Community Action Task Force which will develop sustainability criteria related to school partnerships; community partnerships; incentive programs (green challenges), green fairs; community education and outreach; arts & culture; and historic preservation.

A Social Equity Task Force which will develop sustainability criteria related to housing; environmental justice; disability; aging; diversity on boards and commissions; accessible design; and any other ways that a community could become more inclusive.

A Health and Wellness Task Force which will develop sustainability criteria related to obesity, recreation, consumer health, hunger, and air quality. Because many of these criteria are related to equity, this task force will hold its first meeting jointly with the Social Equity Task Force.

A Local Economies Task Force which will develop sustainability criteria related to promoting green businesses and job creation; establishing a Green Business Recognition Program; expanding purchasing opportunities with local businesses; and promoting sustainable practices within the business community.

A Sustainable Agriculture Task Force which will develop sustainability criteria related to encouraging communities to buy more fresh and local foods; promoting farm cooperatives; improving nutritional and healthy living programs; starting farm markets; and promoting neighborhood gardens.  LESSON is an active participant in this Task Force.

A Planning & Built Environment Task Force which will develop sustainability criteria related to planning, land use, transportation, green design, energy, and climate change.

The first round of task force meetings, to be held in mid?November, will lay the foundation for creating the certification process for Sustainable Maryland Certified. Each task force will meet approximately every six to eight weeks over the next nine months to determine the actions that should be included in the program. The Environmental Finance Center will facilitate the task force process, as well as meetings of a Mayors’ Advisory Council and Executive Committee.

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