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Newly-appointed Advisory Committee on Environmental Sustainability looks ahead

“Let the kids do it. Empower them to be the ones keeping us relevant,” said Larry Beer, one of the newly appointed committee members.
Oct 23, 2021 (280)
The city and county of Broomfield operate their offices from within the George Di Ciero City and County Building

The newly-appointed Advisory Committee on Environmental Sustainability met Monday night for the first time. 

While the meeting was mostly meant to be an orientation, the 11 committee members said they were excited to talk about what they want to address in the next few months. 

Addressing and connecting with younger generations was one of the highlights of the night. City Councilmember Jean Lim said the committee had the largest number of young applicants of all Broomfield committees,  and many members of the committee expressed their desire to expand outreach to young people and expand their involvement in sustainability efforts. 

“Let the kids do it. Empower them to be the ones keeping us relevant,” said Larry Beer, one of the newly appointed members of ACES.  

Developing sustainability from a justice mindset was another focus of the night. Vanessa Oldham-Barton, the director of diversity, equity and organizational development for Broomfield, was there to speak about justice and sustainability going hand in hand. 

“We are looking at ways to make sure that equity truly is immersed in everything that we do, that it is the foundation of all the work through all of our departments” Oldham-Barton said. 

One proposed avenue of justice-focused sustainability was subsidized technology including electric appliances and other economic incentives for people in lower income communities. 

With equity and inclusion as a main goal, new committee members and staff discussed the importance of diversity within commissions and committees. Assistant City and County Manager Abby Yellman said there was more effort to increase diversity in committees this year. 

“I think our diversity on our boards and commissions is growing in every way — gender, socioeconomic, everything, but we have a lot more work to do there,” Yellman said. 

Over the past two years, the committee was dedicated to the development of two sustainability plans: the Zero Waste Plan and the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Plan. The long-range strategic plans seek to reach zero waste by 2035 and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30% every five years. This year, ACES will be reviewing and discussing the policies coming from the two plans. 

As part of the zero waste plan, waste haulers began reporting all of their waste starting in 2020. From this data, staff determined Broomfield had a diversion rate of 28% in 2020, which was higher than the committee and Bromfield staff had originally expected. Assistant Director of Strategic Initiatives, Andrew Valdez, said this is proof that “you can’t improve what we don’t measure.” 

The committee will consider six high-impact policy proposals this year which, if passed, are estimated to achieve a nearly 70% diversion rate. 

The Advisory Committee on Environmental Sustainability will continue to meet on the second Monday of the month from 6-8pm at the Broomfield Health and Human Services building. The meetings are open to the public, and the first part of their meetings will be dedicated to hearing public comments. Proposed agendas and supplemental materials are available 24 hours before the meeting here