Elected officials, administrators and staff from 23 cities, towns and villages across Dane County are teaming up to address climate change in a collaborative approach.
From flooding and more frequent rain events to longer heat spells, communities across Wisconsin are experiencing the effects of a rising climate. Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway said the Sustainability Leaders Collaborative is a recognition that local governments can be more effective at creating resilient communities by working together.
“It’s an effort for us to join forces, to combine our resources and our knowledge, and to accelerate community actions to mitigate the actions of climate change and to reduce climate change emissions that are impacting all of our communities,” Rhodes-Conway said.
The officials — including the mayors of Monona, Middleton, Verona, Fitchburg and Stoughton — met Thursday for the first time and agreed to create four working groups on solar development, renewable fuel usage for municipal fleets, energy efficiency sustainability for facilities, and green infrastructure to manage run-off from heavy rain events.
The groups will meet over the next few months before reconvening to share information.
Rhodes-Conway said the group is conversing about practical issues that local government entities can implement. For example, members discussed how to install anti-idling technology on ambulances to reduce emissions, a technology that Madison is already utilizing.
“The city of Madison is committed to working across jurisdictional boundaries to achieve regional sustainability goals and not only because this will result in better outcomes for taxpayers, but because our ultimate goal is healthier communities and a healthier planet,” Rhodes-Conway said.
Dane County Executive Joe Parisi said the collaborative demonstrates “the people of our region and community care deeply about sustainability.”
“It’s not just the energy and the commitment of those of us who are standing here, but it’s the commitment of this community to being sustainable, to addressing climate change, to maintain the quality of life that we so enjoy here while we grow as a community,” Parisi said.