Community sustainability forum planned

Following on the success of the How Green Can Wilton Be symposium last November,  Wilton Go Green will host a community-wide sustainability forum this month.

The forum is set for Thursday, Feb. 23, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in Wilton Library’s Brubeck Room.

The forum will include a recap of the results of the November symposium, with 15 separate initiatives for collaborative sustainability in areas including land, water, energy, food, and recycling.

Economic development in Wilton can be augmented by the efforts of nonprofit organizations like Wilton Go Green, said Brad Unger, vice chairman of the Wilton Economic Development Commission.

“We saw in the EDC survey results that Wilton’s strongest perceived amenity is our natural space. Efforts by Wilton Go Green and others help reinforce the importance of our town’s greatest assets,” Unger said.

People from all walks of life in town are encouraged to participate.

“We look forward to seeing ongoing education and development around sustainability through the engagement from the broader Wilton residential and business community,” Unger said.

At the Nov. 29 symposium, 75 people participated. More than 40 different organizations were represented, from town departments to local green businesses as well as community organizations.

Fifteen strategic focus areas were identified.

“Wilton is making great strides in sustainability,” said Daphne Dixon, executive director of Wilton Go Green.

“There are economic, social, moral benefits, many benefits to being sustainable. It really touches every area of our existence,” she said. “Sustainability is really meeting the needs of the present without compromising our future. We can live our life every day in a way where we’re not compromising our future.”

The facilitator from the original symposium was Gary Cuneen, from the Chicago area, where he’s had great success in introducing many initiatives related to sustainable living, said Jackie Algon, a member of Wilton Go Green. He’ll be at the follow-up forum to help the activities run smoothly, she said.

“We are trying to introduce our community to the concepts and then to implement some actual projects related to five aspects of our lives — food, land, water, energy, and materials management — which can all result in improvements to the environment and to our quality of life, in addition to being economically sound ways to manage our resources,” Algon said.

Cuneen had praise for Wilton.

“I will say that Wilton has a lot of natural beauty to protect, and it has a significant group of people who are very committed to increasing Wilton’s sustainability across the board — and figuring out strategies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, eliminate waste, protect and conserve natural resources and ecosystems, and create a healthy and sustainable environment for all,” Cuneen said.

The natural progression ahead for Wilton, according to Cuneen, is to prioritize its strategies, set goal targets, develop action teams, secure resources, implement ideas, and measure and communicate progress against goals.