Communicating Your Policies
Your success in making your town green will depend on the cooperation and support of town employees and citizens, and having an effective communications plan is critical to that effort.
Social media has become the default method for many people to learn about their community and stay up-to-date on local news, so an active Facebook page and Twitter account are almost a requirement for today's towns and villages.
Town websites should have pages dedicated to your town's sustainability efforts, recognizing key employees and listing events and other news.
Informational palm cards and small brochures (printed on recycled paper with soy inks, of course!) can be placed in town offices and park buildings. Helpful reminders about recycling, toxic collection days or other town efforts can be included as riders in tax bills or other town mailings.
The town's Office of Sustainability and Environmental Affairs (or the person tasked with that responsibility) should create an informative and engaging presentation and meet with local civic groups and associations to explain what the town is doing, and why.
Finally, local volunteers can be recruited to staff informational displays at community events. Refrigerator magnets and other inexpensive items can be used to promote the town's efforts to be green!
The Washington State Municipal Research and Services Center offers a wide variety of strategies for encouraging effective communication with the public. The strategies include convenient and informal meetings, speaker's bureaus and presentations to existing groups, reaching citizens through technology and web sites, citizen guides and brochures, newsletters, newspaper columns and flyers.
Southampton, NY's Sustainable Southampton Green Advisory Committee has a comprehensive plan for sustainability, incorporating all levels of government, business and citizen participation.
The Dallas Office of Environmental Quality's Environmental Management System (EMS) has created a brochure outlining a number of procedures for municipal employee involvement.
The Environmental Protection Agency published a blog post about a group of Chicago residents, who have been working to improve their local community and environment through a program sponsored by Chicago's Department of Environment.
The Town of Blacksburg, VA is committed to ensuring that everyone within the town, and the town employees are aware of the environmental policies set in place.