By Adam Leech
December 28, 2007 6:00 AM
PORTSMOUTH — Mayor-elect Tom Ferrini vowed to continue to support efforts by the Committee on Sustainable Practices when he officially takes the gavel next week.
Ferrini and outgoing Mayor Steve Marchand signed an eco-municipality designation resolution, recommended by the sustainability committee, on Thursday. It is the latest in a series of actions take by the committee and City Council to further dedicate the city to sustainability initiatives.
"It's in the community's best interest to continue this (committee). It's a great opportunity for people to come together and do good things for the environment," Ferrini said. "Portsmouth wants to set an example in that regard, and I certainly support that."
The resolution is part of the committee's efforts to ensure a more sustainable future for the city by reaffirming the city's future commitment to sustainable practices.
The concept of eco-municipalities originated in Sweden in 1983, and has since been embraced by communities throughout the world. By signing the non-binding resolution, the city agrees to follow several guidelines, such as reducing dependence on fossil fuels and activities that harm life-sustaining ecosystems.
"The important part about it is that it's a systems approach, rather than everyone just doing their own little thing," committee member Bert Cohen said. "We're trying to coordinate it so we can have the greatest impact for our kids."
Cohen is also leading a series of sustainability study circles, based on the book "The Natural Step." The next session, which Seacoast residents are encouraged to attend, is Jan. 12 from 9:30 a.m. to noon.
Other actions by the council include joining the International Cities for Climate Protection Campaign and signing the U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement. The committee and council have also worked to incorporate green principles into building designs, expanded recycling programs and started using biodiesel in some city vehicles.
Marchand said one of his proudest accomplishments as mayor has been the result of the sustainability committee and he's happy to know its efforts, and the community's commitment, will continue.
"In the short amount of time, we're showing you can get active at the local level and make a meaningful difference on environmental and energy policy," Marchand said. "And it's in large part because we have a lot of talented folks on this committee."