Cross posted from Fairfax County School Board member Karl Frisch’s blog
FAIRFAX COUNTY, VA — This week, the Joint Environmental Task Force (JET) announced its recommendations to achieve zero waste by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2040 for all Fairfax County government and school operations. These goals are included in a new report from the JET that members of its Executive Committee presented to their respective boards on October 20 and 22. Both bodies voted to have staff prepare a report on how the recommendations can be implemented. The JET was created in April 2019 to identify areas for collaboration between Fairfax County Government and Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) to further county efforts in energy efficiency and environmental sustainability.
“Climate change is a growing challenge, but we are not helpless in doing our part to meet this challenge head-on,” said Board of Supervisors Vice Chair Penny Gross. “The goals laid out in the Joint Environmental Task Force report of zero waste and becoming carbon neutral are ambitious, however working together we can make them a reality.”
The task force, which includes the community, School Board and Board of Supervisor members, developed a comprehensive strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve recycling efforts, and encourage students to pursue green industry jobs. The JET focused on four key areas to develop goals. These, include:
Energy: The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, the Fairfax County Park Authority, The Fairfax County Regional Housing Authority, and the Fairfax County School Board should commit to being energy carbon neutral by 2040.
· Waste and Recycling: Fairfax County government and schools should set an aspirational goal to be at zero waste by 2030.
· Workforce: Fairfax County government and schools should provide additional resources for students and adult learners to know about and pursue “green” career paths.
· Transportation: Fairfax County Connector bus fleet should be transitioned to electric (or other non-carbon emitting) alternatives by 2030, and the FCPS fleet by 2035. All non-bus fleet vehicles that have electric alternatives should be transitioned by 2025.
“Whether it is transitioning our diesel bus fleets to all-electric or making sure major facility renovations and new construction projects are designed to be net-zero, the JET’s ambitious goals and recommendations send a powerful message that our county and school system are committed to doing what it takes to protect our environment and address the threat of climate change,” said Providence District School Board member Karl Frisch.
“Environmental stressors have continued to accelerate as we have developed these recommendations over the past year, evidenced by our longer heat waves, more severe storms, and torrential flooding. These events have strengthened our resolve for our county government and school system to be national leaders in sustainability and good stewardship of our environment,” said Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck.
“The county and schools have long focused and been leaders on environment and sustainability issues. We recognized that by working even more closely together with joint goals and shared resources, we could reach them sooner, better, faster. These joint goals build nicely on the nationally acclaimed Get2Green work the school district has been engaged in for years, and will strengthen partnerships already formed between the county, the schools, and the community,” said Dranesville District School Board member Elaine Tholen.
The JET recommendations complement the Community-wide Energy and Climate Action Plan being developed by county residents and stakeholders in coordination with the Office of Environmental and Energy Coordination. The full JET report, including strategies for meeting the recommendations, can be found here.
More information about the JET is available here.