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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Marshfield continues to work towards sustainability

From an article by Liz Welter in the Marshfield News-Hearld:

Issues raised by the city's Sustainable Marshfield Committee transcend political agendas, resulting in wide-spread community support, said Marty Anderson, chair of the committee and a former alderman.

"Sustainability is living and working in ways that don't jeopardize our current and future social, environmental and economic resources," he said.

"You can come at this from a lot of different angles. Whether it's economic, the environment or health issues, there's a wide-spread understanding we need to act," said Anderson, adding that the committee recommends initiatives and tactics to the Common Council that will move the city towards achieving sustainability.

"When the city switched to LED lights in all the traffic lights, I think the savings is about $16,000 annually," Anderson said.

Marshfield can be a model for what is pragmatically possible, he said. Two initiatives the committee recommended to the city have been approved. One was supporting the use of phosphate-free fertilizers and the other was to support state legislation to protect groundwater.

Through the committee, Marshfield's city buildings and fleet vehicles will participate in a state-funded study. Wisconsin has a goal to reduce fossil fuel use by 25 percent by 2025. The committee will determine by December what the city would need to do to meet this goal.

"This could give us a road map for the future," Anderson said.

To encourage the public's use of compact fluorescent light bulbs, the committee purchased more than 1,500 to give away at various community events.

"We gave out about 1,000 during the Cultural Fair," said committee member Sue Meyer, who talked at the fair about the energy needed to create electricity for an average four-person family house in one month.

"Most Wisconsin power plants use coal to generate electricity. It takes 162 pounds of coal to light the average home for one month using incandescent light bulbs," Meyer said.

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