The Role of the Greenwich Sustainability Committee

Submitted by Janet McGuigan  3/18/24

The Greenwich Sustainability Committee was established four years ago as a First Selectman’s special committee.  Unlike other advisory committees, its members are not appointed and there is no fixed number of seats.  As a Town entity, the Sustainability Committee is strictly nonpartisan.  

According to its statement of purpose, the committee seeks to represent a diverse partnership that includes leadership from the Board of Selectmen, Town departments, Representative Town Meeting members, Greenwich public and private schools, environmental non-profits, and local businesses. It is committed to a sustainable Greenwich based on shared values of protecting, preserving, and restoring natural ecosystems while enriching the quality of life of the Town.

The work of the committee is primarily to educate and advocate.  It endorses and promotes the work of its partners, and to effectively do this is organized into a number of sectors: business, climate resiliency, community culture, food systems, land and water, legislation and advocacy, transportation and air quality, waste reduction, and youth engagement.  The Town also has an Energy Management Advisory Committee, with which the Sustainability Committee works very closely. 

Just in the first few months of 2024, the committee has done a lot.  In January, the Board of Selectmen approved a climate action plan drafted by a working group of the Conservation Commission and endorsed by the Sustainability Committee.  In February, the CT General Assembly began its legislative session, and the committee is working closely with the Greenwich delegation to stay informed about sustainability-related bills.  In March the committee met with Town department heads to learn more about the wide range of Town projects that align with the committee’s vision statement.  In all these areas the committee offers its unwavering support.  

On April 6th the committee honored a number of residents with Sustainability Awards at the Rethink Waste Fair.  Such recognition ceremonies are truly inspiring.  But we don’t all have to be model citizens – everyone can make small shifts in our behaviors that collectively have a big impact.  For example, reducing waste by recycling and composting will not just help the Town become more climate resilient, it will help to reduce our tax bills.  Local partners Waste Free Greenwich and Greenwich Green and Clean, just to name a few, have been leaders in this effort.  Following sustainable landscaping practices can also help to move the needle.  Pollinator Pathways, Greenwich Audubon, Greenwich Land Trust, Greenwich Botanical Center, and Quiet Yards Greenwich similarly work to educate our community about how to accomplish this.          

Please go to the committee’s webpage on the Town website to learn more.  Inquiries may be emailed to  The committee produces an excellent newsletter, and hosts speaker events to help inform the Greenwich community about sustainability-related topics – most recently on the impacts of PFAS, the economics of geothermal energy projects, and a proposed environmental rights amendment to the CT Constitution.  At 9 am on the fifth Monday of the month, committee members talk sustainability with Tony Savino on WGCH.  Backcountry residents are invited to subscribe, attend, and tune in.  Thank you to the RHA for this opportunity to introduce the Sustainability Committee to its membership! 

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