To extend our community outreach, the library partners with many of the municipal, non-profit, and business organizations that make Princeton such an extraordinary town. This month, Sustainable Princeton is in the spotlight.
Libraries are inherently sustainable. It is part of the library’s mission to shepherd the funds entrusted to us by our community to benefit as many community members as possible. This is true of our books, electronic materials, museum passes, databases and the programs we create.
Given that, it should be no surprise that we work with Sustainable Princeton on a variety of endeavors. Many may have observed that we collaborate on public programming like the “Great Ideas” series, but we also support Sustainable Princeton’s work with local organizations and find ways that the library and Princeton can be more sustainable.
We reached out to Molly Jones, Christine Symington, Jenny Ludmer and Ellen Malavsky to learn more about the work that Sustainable Princeton does in town.
How long has Sustainable Princeton been in Princeton?
Sustainable Princeton was founded in 2009 and received its IRS non-profit status in 2012. We’re a nonprofit organization whose mission is to inspire the community to develop and implement solutions that positively impact the environment.
What are your primary areas of focus?
Currently, our primary focus is finalizing, and ultimately implementing, Princeton’s Climate Action Plan (CAP). The goal of the CAP is to reduce Princeton’s greenhouse gas emissions and become more resilient to the impact of climate change.
Our vision is for Princeton to be a model town that examines every action through the lens of sustainability ensuring a healthy environment, a strong economy, and the well-being of all community members now and in the future. Sustainable Princeton supports the belief: Change a Habit, Change the World.
How does your mission align with the library?
One of the ways we work to fulfill our mission is with education and outreach to the Princeton community. We are so fortunate to have a partner in the Princeton Public Library who co-hosts the majority of our large audience outreach events. With PPL as a natural hub of Princeton, we reach the greatest number of people when our events are at the library. We also appreciate that the library lending model supports the very sustainable concept of sharing learning resources, so PPL’s mission very much aligns with the values of our mission.
With whom do you work most in the community?
We work equally with businesses, non-profits, the government and residents in Princeton to assist them in leading sustainable lives.
What is something that you do that people might not know about?
Sustainable Princeton is a go-to resource for the community for information, education, and outreach to help Princeton reduce carbon emissions and become a more resilient town. People might not know that we often work behind the scenes with municipal staff, business and schools to help find sustainable solutions to their daily operations.
Is there any project or event that you are particularly excited about at the moment? In addition to the Climate Action Plan, we will be launching the S.T.A.R. Neighborhoods program. STAR, an acronym for Sustainable, Together And Resilient, provides Princeton residents the opportunity to actively participate in building a more sustainable community. Participating neighborhoods select activities that will enhance their neighborhood, and reduce their carbon footprint. The goal is to empower neighborhoods of Princeton to take action on behalf of its residents, and to inspire others to follow suit.
We are also very excited about the implementation of our climate action plan. A couple of the upcoming programs will include promotion of Community Solar, a cost-effective way to save on our utility bills and support the growth of renewable energy, and consideration of how best to prepare our most vulnerable community members for climate emergencies. There is so much to be done!
In collaboration with Sustainable Princeton and the library’s ‘green team’ the Princeton Public Library became the first library to be listed on the NJDEP’s NJ Sustainable Business Registry and was awarded a “Certificate of Innovation in Sustainability’ by the DEP in February.
Along with the public collaborations with Sustainable Princeton we offer many other ‘environmental’ programs including the upcoming Princeton Environmental Film Festival from April 8-14.
The library offers numerous resources for those who want to dig more deeply into issues around sustainability. Explore our science reference databases including ‘GreenFILE’ which provides information covering all aspects of human impact to the environment in a collection of scholarly, government and general-interest titles.
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