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.
Fairfield County was ranked as the 19th worst ozone-polluted county in the country in the 2018 American Lung Association’s “State of the Air” report. Air quality is particularly bad during the summer months, driven in large part by wind-borne pollutants from coal, oil, and natural gas-burning power plants in the South and Midwest USA.
The climate is changing, and transportation is a leading cause. Walking and biking reduce energy use, improve air quality, reduce parking needs and traffic, improve personal health and fitness, and invigorate the local economy through increased access to local businesses and tourism. We can achieve these community‐wide benefits through institutional planning and enforcement.
The Sustainable Fairfield Task Force (SFTF) aims to expand its ongoing outreach and education regarding sustainability and environmental preservation, and to encourage Town-wide involvement in activities designed to help Fairfield become a truly sustainable community.
Trees are a large part of Fairfield’s heritage and sense of community. In the 1800s, Fairfield residents Annie B. Jennings and Mabel Osgood Wright were pioneers in forest management. Following their example, the Town continues to embrace its responsibility as a steward of its forest resources by protecting and enhancing the many environmental, cultural, and economic benefits of trees.
Sustainable buildings feature environmentally responsible and resource-efficient choices throughout a building’s life cycle. Among the guiding principles are integrated design (linking architecture, structural engineering, optimized energy performance, and life cycle planning), water conservation, enhanced indoor air quality, low-environmental-impact materials, and assessment of climate change risks. Such standards promote fiscal responsibility, protect occupant health and productivity, and demonstrate environmental stewardship.
The State of Connecticut’s “Green Plan” established a goal to protect 673,210 acres (21%) of the state’s land as open space by the year 2023. Ten percent of this open space is to be State parks, forests and wildlife areas. The other 11% is to be owned by Towns, private non-profit land conservation organizations, water companies, and the federal government.