Optimism and Action: 2015 New Jersey Sustainability Summit

May 20, 2015

NRDC’s Shelley Poticha Announced as Key Note Speaker

Shelly Poticha - 014_LV-2Fierce, wise, pragmatic, insightful, committed, visionary, savvy and articulate. These are words often used to describe Shelley Poticha the Director of the Urban Solutions Program at the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

RandyThese qualities must be what it takes to tackle challenging sustainability issues while maintaining a focus on what people and communities need to succeed at a basic level, because that is exactly what Ms. Poticha is doing.

I’m pleased to announce that she will kick-off Sustainable Jersey’s 2015 New Jersey Sustainability Summit on June 10, as our key note speaker.

Shelley’s thinking is in line with the foundations of Sustainable Jersey; she said, “My greatest hope is that we can turn this country around through the power of people. I know in my gut that there is a tremendous alignment between the hopes we all have for our health and well-being, the road to prosperity and opportunity, and the strategies that make the places we live, work and raise our families as environmentally sensitive as possible. That’s why I’m at NRDC. I’m intrinsically an optimist; an optimist with a passion for action.” (NRDC Staff Blog: Connecting Dots)

Prior to joining NRDC, Shelley was a senior advisor and director of the Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). She served in the Obama Administration where she led a new initiative that some say was tasked with bringing the “UD” back to HUD.

Before joining HUD, she served as President and CEO of Reconnecting America, where she became a national leader for the reform of land use and transportation planning and policy with the goal of creating more sustainable and equitable development, particularly around transit stations. And prior to that, she served as Executive Director of the Congress for the New Urbanism.

As we were talking with Shelley about the 2015 NJ Sustainability Summit, we explained that Sustainable Jersey was launched with a set of certification actions that municipalities could do to become more sustainable. We hoped to get municipalities working and put a leadership framework in place at the local level first. Now, six years later, with over 400 municipalities and 275 schools and districts participating in Sustainable Jersey, we can take it the next step. With the 2015 NJ Sustainability Summit and the Sustainable State of the State Report, we are now asking communities to consider ways to evaluate and monitor progress toward a vision or common goal. 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.

Shelley definitely gets it; she said “I’m super geeky about defining goals and indicators for sustainability, it’s certainly my passion.” At the Summit, she plans to give examples from towns that are not the usual suspects you think of when you talk about sustainability, but rather the ones that are actively adopting strategies to become more sustainable through place-based change.

2015 New Jersey Sustainability Summit: Join the Conversation on June 10.

globe with words

Please join us on June 10 to hear Shelley deliver the key note at the 2015 New Jersey Sustainability Summit (REGISTER).

A focus for the day will be the release of the Sustainable State of the State Report. The report will provide a vision for New Jersey, present goals and indicators for 18 dimensions of sustainability, and establish a template for an annual ‘dashboard’ view that will capture progress and illuminate danger zones.

 Participants will come away with a clear sense of the state of the movement, new ideas about what can be done to make progress, an expanded network of fellow practitioners, and the inspiration to go back and continue to drive change one municipality or school at a time. Network with Sustainable Jersey task force members, local and state officials, academics and green team volunteers committed to fostering a sustainable New Jersey.

 2015 Sustainability Summit Concurrent Sessions

A total of 16 concurrent sessions will be offered to discuss the Sustainable State of the State Report, share perspectives on Sustainable Jersey and dig deeper into the dimensions of sustainability. Experts and industry professionals will lead each session and review current challenges.

Concurrent Sessions Round 1

·         Building a Culture of Health One Community at a Time
·         Changing the Way Buildings and Communities are Designed, Built, and Operated
·         Ecological Integrity: Risks and Responses
·         How Arts and Creative Culture contribute to Community Vibrancy and Economic Vitality
·         Tools for a Sustainable Democracy
·         Water for our Future, Legacies from the Past
·         Sustainable Jersey for Schools Listening Session
·         Sustainable State of the State Feedback Session

 Concurrent Sessions Round 2

·         Education: Sustainability, Skills and Enrichment
·         Fostering Thriving and Sustainable Local Economies
·         Getting to the Gold Standard in Materials Management after 28 Years of Mandatory Recycling
·         Ready, Set, Adapt!
·         Strategies and Tools to Support Efficient Development
·         Transitioning to a More Sustainable Energy Framework
·         Sustainable Jersey Listening Session
·         Sustainable State of the State Feedback Session

 2015 New Jersey Sustainability Summit

Wednesday, June 10, 2015, 8:30am – 4:00pm

The College of New Jersey


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