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Getting Started

First steps...

  • Adopt a comprehensive policy that sets out your aspirations for the town's sustainability program. Make sure the policy touches all phases of government activity, and sets out reasonable and achievable goals. View a sample policy. 

  • Decide who is going to take the lead in managing your town's sustainability efforts, and ensure they have the training, the ability and the authority to get things done.

  • Share your plans with the community through your website, newsletters, community access channel, public meetings and print materials.  

Town Hall

The Township of Montclair, NJ was one of the first towns to actively pursue sustainability efforts as a means to save money.  Today, Environmental Affairs Coordinator Gray Russell oversees all of the town's efforts to be green, from biodiesel vehicles, to composting, to disposing of e-waste.

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.


Burlington, VT,  is not only the first city to get almost all of its energy from renewables, it has also archived important pages from the EPA regarding climate change which have been removed from the EPA website.


ICLEI is an organization of local governments and governmental associations that have made a commitment to sustainable development.

The California Institute for Local Government provides local governments with practical, impartial  and easy-to-use resources. Visit the site for multiple examples of climate action plans adopted by California towns and cities. 

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