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Connecticut Honors Community Actions to Fight Climate Change

HARTFORD, Connecticut, May 30, 2008 (ENS) – Governor M. Jodi Rell has recognized seven individuals and organizations with awards from the Governor’s Steering Committee on Climate Change.

Governor Rell said, “Connecticut has been a leader in addressing climate change by putting strong programs in place to reduce dangerous greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors of our economy. If we are going to successfully meet the challenge of climate change, however, state government cannot do it alone. It will also take the commitment of businesses, local governments, organizations and individual citizens.”

“The accomplishments of those being honored today demonstrate the breadth of strong leadership in Connecticut – from 10 year olds to octogenarians, small towns to large cities, and nonprofit organizations to small businesses and multinational corporations,” Rell said.

Gina McCarthy, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection and chair of the Governor’s Steering Committee on Climate Change and other members of the Governor’s Steering Committee presented the third annual climate change Leadership Awards at a ceremony Tuesday at ING’s new energy efficient headquarters in Windsor.

At the ceremony, McCarthy said, “The challenge of climate change is also an opportunity to rebuild our economy on principles of sustainability, including energy efficiency, clean energy, cleaner transportation, local food systems, and carbon neutrality. Those we are honoring today are demonstrating the common sense, practical and cost effective steps we can all take to achieve those goals.”

2008 Climate Change Leadership Award Recipients

CitySeed, New Haven


A vendor at the CitySeed farmers market
in New Haven (Photo courtesy CitySeed)

CitySeed operates four farmers’ markets in New Haven, where only products grown or produced in Connecticut are sold, and established the first year round open-air farmers’ market in Connecticut.

In 2007, vendor sales at these markets contributed over $1.6 million to job creation and the local economy; farmers redeemed over $64,460 in WIC coupons and Food Stamps from local families in need.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture honored CitySeed with its Golden Grocer Award, earned by only one farmers market in the country.

CitySeed has developed a pre-school curriculum and also a website at: www.BuyCTGrown.com that offers a comprehensive guide to local food, farms and agricultural products in Connecticut.

City of Stamford

The city of Stamford has committed to using 20 percent clean energy by 2010 and to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2018. The city is a member of Cities for Climate Protection and signed on to the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement.

Stamford has inventoried its greenhouse gas emissions and has a local greenhouse gas action plan. Since 1998, the city has reduced energy use by over 11 million kilowatt-hours annually through energy efficiency projects in city buildings, saving almost $1.3 million a year.

Some of the specific steps the city has taken to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions include solar installations for lighting at Kosciusko Park and at the recycling center; establishing a $6.1 million energy performance contract in more than 20 schools; reducing street lighting and piloting highly efficient Light Emitting Diode, LED, street lights; replacing downtown decorative lighting to achieve a 62 percent energy savings; and replacing all traffic signals with LED lights.

Curtis Packaging, Newtown

In 2007, Curtis Packaging became the first deluxe printing and packaging company in North America to go 100 percent carbon neutral and was the first company in its industry to be certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

The company also purchases wind energy certificates to offset 100 percent of the electricity used at its facilities. Curtis Packaging structured this purchase to include more than one million kilowatt-hours of CTCleanEnergyOptions, which helped its host community, Newtown, earn a free solar electric system under the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund’s Clean Energy Communities program.

The company’s remaining carbon dioxide emissions are being neutralized by investing in the Mynydd-Y-Garnedd forestry project in Wales and the Rhine-Ruhr methane capture project in Germany.

ING, Windsor

The global financial services company ING provides banking, investments, life insurance and retirement services to more than 75 million customers in Europe, the United States, Canada, Latin America, Asia and Australia.

ING is a carbon neutral company. It achieves this through the purchase of clean energy as well as other efforts. Globally, it reduced its energy consumption by 19 percent between 2006 and 2007.

In 2007 ING in the United States purchased more than 70 million kilowatt-hours of clean energy, which offsets 100 percent of the electricity used for its facilities nationwide. This represents the largest clean energy purchase by a company headquartered in Connecticut.

In addition, ING’s new 475,000 square foot headquarters in Windsor features numerous green attributes including occupancy sensors, daylight harvesting control systems, and highly efficient air conditioning.

Green Council at Whitney Center, Hamden

Composed of seniors from the Whitney Center retirement community, the Green Council has promoted conservation awareness in elderly communities throughout Connecticut. This group of senior citizens created a website at www.grayisgreen.org, which provides information on a wide range of environmental issues including climate change and energy efficiency.

The website also contains a list of films and videos for use by retirement communities and a checklist whereby each community can evaluate its green performance.

The group presents at educational forums and has authored and published the “Handbook on Conservation for Retirement Communities.”

The Council recently incorporated a new organization, National Senior Conservation Corps, to extend its work. The group now has links with retirement communities in Florida, North Carolina, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Oregon, and California as well as many locations in Connecticut.

Little People, Big Changes, Wilton

Little People, Big Changes was launched when Jordan Reichgut and Alex Scaperotta were eight years old. They are now 10 and still working to focus attention on climate change.

These two young boys and their moms have signed up more than 120 homes for clean energy under the CTCleanEnergyOptions program and launched a “no idling” campaign to reduce air emissions from cars, trucks and buses.

Little People, Big Changes has conducted presentations to schools, town officials, and local community groups on clean energy and global warming, and publishes a column in the local newspaper and in school newsletters.

Ridgefield Action Committee for the Environment, Ridgefield

Formed in 2007 to promote sustainability in Ridgefield, the Ridgefield Action Committee led the effort to have this town commit to supporting 20 percent clean energy by 2010 for all town operations.

The committee sponsored a “Mayors Challenge” on clean energy sign ups to six surrounding towns, developed an anti-idling campaign that resulted in 10 percent reductions and helped decrease energy use in town schools by 12 percent.

The committee organized a day-long retreat on environmental sustainability attended by 70 Ridgefield town leaders, including town selectmen, planners and commissioners, Board of Education members, school administrators, students, Chamber of Commerce members, people associated with community associations, and business leaders.

The Connecticut climate change Leadership Awards Program was developed by the Governor’s Steering Committee on climate change. The awards were first presented in 2006. This year’s awardees were chosen from 26 nominations received statewide. To submit a nomination for next year, visit: www.ctclimatechange.com

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