It’s a new department. It’s not new that Goshen is doing environmental things. Goshen’s been doing environmental activities and improving things with respect to the environment for decades, I’m sure. It is new as a purposeful dedication of time and resources.
Initially, the Environmental Resilience Department was set up with the intent to develop and work on a climate action plan and thinking about reducing the energy – especially on the government side – that we use. It was set up to bring in solar projects and to really change the way that we do business and to think about our carbon footprint. It was a way to intentionally think about business as not just business as usual, but to really have an environmental focus on everything that the city does.
What we do is to really work with all of the departments and to help look for ways to be more efficient, to reduce our carbon footprint, to reduce our bottom line, to promote environmentally positive projects for Goshen that are also economically positive for Goshen.
The virus has made a really big impact. Not so much on the work that we do, but maybe raising the awareness of how even food insecurity fits into sustainability and being a sustainable community. Even though food insecurity wasn’t one of our initial projects that we were looking at, when COVID-19 came along, I think it raised awareness that it’s so important to be a sustainable community, making sure everybody’s needs are being met.
One of the things that we did before COVID-19 happened, or became a real issue locally, was working to raise the environmental awareness here in the community. So we started doing in-person presentations that became webinars when COVID-19 came.
We have continued that in large part because we realized there was an audience for it and people were really interested in getting more information on environmental topics. And partly because we realized that that really should be a core part of our mission: To make sure that we are getting public education out where people could get it. We realized that those webinars are a great way to reach people.
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