An Action Plan for a Sustainable Fairfield

Town of Fairfield seal

A “sustainable” community adopts a formal strategy to safeguard its natural resources, its natural and built environments, and the quality of life for its residents – for now and the future.

The Town of Fairfield has a long history of support for sustainability initiatives. But as our Town grows and develops, it faces growing environmental challenges, compounded by the increasing pressure of climate change. Striving for sustainability has never been more critical and will require embedding the practice of sustainability into Town operations and the everyday life of its citizens.

The state has set an ambitious goal: to be carbon-free by 2040. As a sustainability leader in the state, Fairfield wants to continue to do its part. Toward that end, the Sustainable Fairfield Task Force (SFTF) is pleased to present this updated Sustainability Plan, which builds on the original plan released in January 2018. It assesses achievements, challenges, and action plans across a broad array of eighteen sustainability modules. The goals within the modules have been set for the year 2030; some goals can and should be achieved sooner, while others may need longer to achieve.

The SFTF recognizes that the Plan’s components are interdependent and synergistic; the modular format enables the work ahead to be focused and organized. The Plan details the benefits of diligent stewardship in each area, not only in terms of environmental quality, but also the economic value to the Town and its residents. It cannot be overstated that sustainability is not only sound environmental policy, but sound fiscal policy. For example, Fairfield’s steadily increasing roster of clean energy projects has led to annual energy savings of about $3 million.

The Sustainability Plan is a dynamic, living document. The SFTF invites our fellow citizens to review the Plan and comment on how we can make it even more robust. In particular, we welcome ideas about how to better engage citizens in this important work. At regular intervals, we will report on updates and enhancements to the Plan and provide news regarding our progress. 

Sustainability is a shared responsibility – and it yields shared benefits. We hope the Plan will inspire the active engagement of Fairfield’s citizens to do what we can in our homes, at our jobs, and throughout our day to help Fairfield reach its sustainability goals.

Fairfield’s Sustainability Plan is:

  • Authored by the Sustainable Fairfield Task Force, a group of citizen-volunteers working in cooperation with Town officials and other stakeholders to advance the broader use of clean, renewable energy and help safeguard the Town’s natural and built environment (learn more about SFTF and find additional information at: https://www.fairfieldct.org/sftf)
  • Designed to be comprehensive in scope, reflecting a broad array of sustainability action areas
  • A key source document in maintaining Fairfield’s Sustainable CT certification (for more information on Sustainable CT go to https://sustainablect.org/)
  • Modular in format, to maintain focus on action areas and facilitate tracking of metrics
  • Transparent in presenting goals and assessing progress
  • A dynamic, evolving document, designed to change with our Town’s evolving needs and opportunities
  • Your plan: We encourage the Fairfield community to help shape our Town’s sustainability efforts; comments and ideas from residents and Town officials are welcome

Learn more about the SFTF at https://www.fairfieldct.org/sftf.

Please submit comments or other input on the Sustainability Plan by email to: sustainablefairfieldtaskforce@gmail.com

Background  – Fairfield’s sustainability efforts are:

Long-Established. Sustainability and environmental preservation have been Town-wide priorities for decades. https://www.fairfieldct.org/content/10724/12126/default.aspx

Recognized Statewide. Fairfield is a statewide leader in sustainability, with the Town earning top honors in 2018 as a “Sustainable CT” community.

https://www.fairfieldct.org/news/?FeedID=2421

Aligned with Residents’ Interests & Concerns. Fairfield’s first-ever “Green Survey” in 2018 demonstrated that residents highly value sustainability and environmental preservation – and seek the Town’s help in putting those values into practice. For more information: https://www.fairfieldct.org/content/10724/12126/default.aspx

Statement on Climate Justice

Climate justice has long been a focus of the environmental community. Our present climate crisis is a multiplier of the other crises of racial injustice and economic inequality. Americans of color often live on the frontlines of extreme weather events, pollution, and as a result, experience chronic health issues. Polluting industries are often located in areas where race, income inequality, and unsafe housing converge. Studies have shown that areas with more polluting facilities had higher death rates from Covid-19.

SFTF hopes to bridge town governing bodies and those of neighboring communities and public interest groups, offering information on environmental hazards affecting their lives -both of a local and global nature. We can encourage local food consumption, and educate towards zero waste and reduction of plastics and toxins in the environment and other public health initiatives. We can address zoning and land use, such as requiring net zero buildings for low-income housing. 

As Coronavirus has made us keenly aware how global our community is, we must expand our reach to promote climate justice in the areas of jobs, communication, sustainable housing and transportation, clean water, food security, and health.

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