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GUEST OPINION: On choosing the right person to lead the county’s sustainability office

  • Updated
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Greater Prince William Climate Action Network advocacy

Members of the Greater Prince William Climate Action Network lobbied the Prince William Board of County Supervisors for dedicated staff and funding to back up the climate change resolution the board passed in 2020.

This past April, after months of advocacy from Mothers Out Front and the Greater Prince William Climate Action Network, the Prince William Board of County Supervisors finally adopted a new budget for fiscal year 2022 that included, for the first time in the county’s history, funding to create an office of sustainability, a sustainability commission and a climate action plan.

This funding will allow the county to achieve the targets set in the climate resolution the supervisors passed last November, which includes the goal of sourcing 100% of Prince William County’s electricity from renewable sources by 2035. Among other commitments, the resolution emphasizes the need to incorporate equity principles and environmental justice into the county’s comprehensive plan. 

We were thrilled to see the county board advance ambitious climate targets with dedicated funding. But in order to make these targets a reality, we need the county’s first leader for the new office of sustainability to be someone who listens to and represents the community.  

Staffing is one of the earliest and most important steps in establishing a county office of sustainability and developing a climate action plan. Now is the time to get this right. For this crucial position that will set the stage for sustainability for years to come, we need to hire a candidate, preferably a woman of color, who approaches this work through an equity and environmental justice lens.

Historically, senior staff leadership of environmental organizations have been white and male in the United States. According to Green 2.0, an organization focused on the intersection of environment and race, in 2018, the percentage of senior staff of color at large environmental non-governmental organizations was 21%. This type of homogeneity results in mainstream environmental policies that may reduce some carbon emissions but will not prepare low-income and communities of color for climate impacts. 

We see this in Prince William County, for example, in areas where communities with higher proportions of minority residents have life expectancies up to 17 years shorter than the predominantly white communities. This is the case for Bull Run, a largely Hispanic community that has a median income three times less than the predominantly white Haymarket.  

To ensure we attract candidates outside the white and male dominated norm, we must prioritize community engagement skills, lived experience and diversity in the staffing process. Finding someone with innovative ideas and experience in engaging historically excluded communities is crucial for effective sustainability policy and projects. Therefore, the job description should explicitly say that both experience working with underrepresented groups and lived experiences will be valued in the hiring process and the position itself. 

Ultimately, taking diversity and equity into deep consideration when hiring the manager of the county’s office of sustainability is critical. We need this office to represent our county and support a climate action plan that ensures climate justice -- not just for current residents of Prince William but for future generations.

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(8) comments

Faithmy

When one reads a garble of nonsense that hits all the popular buzz words, mentioning race and climate, amidst the barrage of words all thrown together that make no sense at all, one can take it to the bank that it’s woke garbage. Woke garbage is guaranteed to produce absolutely nothing good and cost a bundle. It’s anti capitalism, anti legitimate progress, racist, and costly. Congratulations, PWC, for joining the ranks of the communities willing to bend the taxpayers over for racist garbage.

weouchere

Why are you wasting my tax dollars on this???

Hawkeye10

I would think because these folks want a job, instead of having to run and serve on an environmental board and be paid a stipend. So not only are these people trying to save the planet, they are also job creators! They want to be paid more for their innovative ideas and their 30 year carbon plan, and their future electric hyper superspeedway grid, instead of warning of the dangers of smart-meters on every home, electromagnetic radiation and high frequency pulsation, abuse of cell-phone antennae placed on public school grounds and within feet of occupied dwellings. Instead of trying to protect and preserve for a better future and environment, they are strapped to demolish it completely because they believe that carbon, which equals life, is the enemy. When its not. Want to save the planet? Dont plant cell-phone towers and smart-meters all over the place and use the guise of under-served communities and the future of broadband as your reason. These politicians are being used and swayed by a variety of special interests to do just that. They fall for "green energy" and complete ignore electrosmog and the devastation it has on the health to humans and our planet. Whats going to be next, fully digital libraries, because the offgasing of the paper used in the books is an environmental threat and hazard? And instead of having libraries with real, solid books the'll tear them down, re-name them something else other than a Library because that word alone is offensive and patriarchal, and re-name them, community think tanks? And then plant trees and burn all of the books in the name of environmentalism and progress?

[alien]

But back to my original statement, these people want a good paying job to further their agenda and lie to our up and coming generation. So yes, sorry your tax dollars will be defunding the end of humanity. But at least you don't have to get in a car and drive to a library anymore. You'll be saving the planet by not doing so.

[tongue]

Hawkeye10

These people are prince william trash and are only polluting the climate with their extremism and marxism. They are a cult and manipulate our children into their sick ways. Send them into space with branson and bezos, they can set up shop there instead of promoting their sick and twisted ways here on earth. UN funded soros backed climate justice avenging b.s., backed by hollywood and the media.

One World Government, New World Order. Not rocket science, just the facts. Total control of the people. Mask up, Vax up, or ELSE!

Catharpin411

There is NO chance a white male will get a fair shake.

Race and gender will be points 1& 2 during the process.

I am famiar with the old hiring for the Boston Pops. An artist would try out behind screen so age race and gender would play no part. Gone are the days.

Finally this ...the BOCS is full throat in bulldozing trees grasses natural habitate for native wildlife so big box energy suckers of data centers can destroy parts of the country . We will see how serious these faux leaders are about sustainability.

Personally if it means more under the table cash for some on the BOCS then they will destroy the Crescent, build the By Pass and give the Crescent the look of Centerville...a sea of rooftops .

I this office zero chance of having an impact.

Omarndc72

"Members of the Greater Prince William Climate Action Network"

What is that? , lol lol. More waste of residents taxes on political junk.

Faithmy

Lol. Garbage. That’s what that is

Sharonharvey

Why not advertise for skill and knowledge of sustainability programs rather than a particular ethnic profile? How many Hispanic wpen have the credentials and scientific background out nd with managerial experience to set up a viable program? What did Fairfax do?

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