By: Nancy Metayer
Sustainability means leaving the world in a better condition than we found it. Bold, proactive leaders promote lasting economic strategies, which prioritize the health of our environment. The best public servants motivate others through their daily work, respecting the earth, and investing in it.
Our local government has significant power to influence whether policies and programs create sustainable or unsustainable conditions. Coral Springs controls our land use and development. With smart land-use regulations and building codes, the city can conserve land, shape new development that is compact, and reduce emissions. Transitioning our city to renewable energy and sustainable waste management will benefit our environment and our quality of life.
My vision for Coral Springs is to transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources and net-zero carbon buildings. This is achievable by 2030. Our city currently has an estimated 19 million dollars in its Capital Improvement Plan. Prioritizing sustainability will allow us to address concerns regarding outdated infrastructure, water efficiency, and decreasing our dependence on fossil fuels. Our city budget outlines our priorities, and moving toward renewable energy should be at the top.
Environmental resilience starts with elevating community awareness around sustainable choices for households and businesses to keep up with important environmental trends, which improve the quality of life for residents. Our city has recently suspended recycling due to high levels of contamination. Transitioning to waste energy and/or incineration is a major source of heavy metal emissions, which cause a range of harmful health effects. Public Health costs should always be considered when determining strategies for waste disposal.
My suggestions for sustainable waste management in Coral Springs include:
- Conduct a city-wide survey asking the community for thoughts about ending the recycling program.
- Highlight financial burdens in full detail. Many individuals don’t know our recycling program has been suspended, and for full transparency, the city must announce its future plans for the program.
- Make a final decision once a comprehensive county-wide plan has been created with involvement from all municipalities.
- Team up with HOAs, community leaders, and grassroots organizers to educate on how to properly recycle and decrease contamination.
- Revert back to the 3-Bin system in which we designate each bin for specific items, e.g., a bin for plastics, cardboard, and paper.
Coral Springs can set the standard on recycling and compost. I encourage composting to decrease waste and to eliminate fertilizers currently used in the maintenance of our parks and playgrounds where our families should be kept safe.
I am the environmental leader who will continue to advocate for transitioning our city into a model for green development, including downtown buildings with “green roof” areas full of vegetation that absorbs stormwater, lessens the urban “heat island effect,” and lowers the building’s heat and cooling power costs, thereby saving taxpayer dollars.
The economic and social impact of climate change on our communities cannot be understated. Coral Springs can, and should, lead the fight for environmental sustainability, taking decisive action on emissions and waste management. Coral Springs has the opportunity to contribute to a renewable world.
As your next Commissioner, I will encourage eco-friendly practices that generate incremental change so that the nation is more inclined to take actions that contribute to sustainability rather than maintain the degenerative status quo.
Nancy Metayer is an environmental scientist, a former member of the Broward County Soil and Water Conservation District. She graduated from Coral Springs Charter School, earned a bachelor of science in environmental science from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, and a master’s of health science from Johns Hopkins University. She is a candidate for the City of Coral Springs Commission.
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