Mayor Jerry Fried and Environmental Coordinator Gray Russell are visiting Montclair's public schools to tell students and teachers about the town's designation by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a “Climate Showcase Community”. Of the tens of thousands of municipalities in the US, only 25 were chosen to lead the way by initiating model practices to reduce energy use and save money in homes, schools, businesses, and public facilities.
"Many people talk about a Carbon Footprint but we actually know what ours is," said Russell, "and we've set concrete, achievable goals to reduce it over the next year."
The name of Montclair's carbon reduction initiative is “It's In Our Power”, and Russell and the mayor talked with the students about how they can be an important part of this effort and help to spread the word throughout Montclair.
In some schools the Mayor and Russell take part in morning announcements; in others they host an assembly.
"We encourage students to learn more about energy and to become 'Energy Ambassadors'," said Russell. "Students can do this by pledging to turn off lights, TVs, computers, and other appliances when not in use ('Turn It Off', or 'T.I.O')."
They also ask students to speak with their parents and families about saving energy and money by taking a few simple steps at home, such as using compact fluorescent lights; making their houses more energy efficient; reducing car trips by walking, biking and carpooling; and by buying Energy Star appliances.
The mayor and Russell hope to persuade the students’ parents, guardians, and families to visit Montclair’s “It's In Our Power” website (www.OurPowerMontclair.org), where families can make a simple pledge to take such actions; these are simple but important steps that can make a world of difference. The site also has information about home energy audits, rebates, and other money-saving incentives.
For further information on the “Climate Showcase Community” program, go to: www.OurPowerMontclair.org.