Green goals in Flossmoor selected from regional initiative

  Flossmoor Mayor Paul Braun reads a resolution
  honoring Brian Zakem.
(Provided photo)
Flossmoor has signed onto a Chicago-area initiative that encourages green practices to make local communities — and the entire metropolitan — more environmentally sustainable.
At their April 2 meeting, village board members approved a resolution listing nearly a dozen specific goals proposed by the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus. The overall goals, the Greenest Region Compact 2 (GRC2), are an update of the environmental initiative first outlined by the caucus in 2008.
Brian Zakem, a member of the village’s Green Commission, said that his group tailored GRC2 proposals to best fit environmental needs in Flossmoor. 
“What was unique to Flossmoor's approach to become a member of the GRC2 was we used (the caucus’s) broad catalog of 'actionable,' environmental sustainable initiatives and programs that prospective government entities needed to support and try to engage in their towns and cities,” Zakeem told the H-F Chronicle.
“Flossmoor's Green Commission said we want to select what we are already doing, (and) intend to expand and use it as a formal plan to implement and measure the results, reporting back to the village the results in a year or even less — to be determined, but not focus our plan, than our proposal based on their broader base catalog.”
Zakem was Flossmoor’s liaison to the caucus on the GRC2.
Edith Makra, director of environmental initiatives for the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, said Flossmoor is a good model for other communities as they adopt GRC2 for their own use. The caucus is made up of 72 Chicago-area municipalities.
“I will likely use Flossmoor as an example of how to tailor the GRC2 to suit,” Makra told Zakeem in a letter. “Your process is not common and could be a useful example to others.”
Zakeem said 72 Illinois communities are now part of the GRC2 initiative. 
The nine-member Green Commission is charged with examining and making recommendations on programs for Flossmoor residents that promote green awareness and behavior by residents that helps bring about an environmentally conscientious community on the household level.
Village staff agreed with the commission’s GRC2 recommendations, which fall into three main categories.
The first set of goals calls for Flossmoor to promote values of sustainability in the village’s educational and outreach efforts. These include providing education and outreach programs on sustainability, cultivating a conservation ethic in the community, educating and engaging the community in a sustainable food culture and promoting water stewardship.
The next goals call on the village to engage the community in sustainable landscape stewardship. These include conserving and restoring natural features and ecosystems, supporting accessible, well-used and enjoyable parks, sustaining a robust urban forest canopy, sustaining landscapes that provide ecosystem services and encouraging the community to reduce impacts from fertilizer.
The final goals call upon Flossmoor to engage the community in clean air and energy practices by maintaining clean and healthful air and engaging the community in clean energy practices.
During the April 2 meeting, Zakem was also honored for his service to the community. He is stepping down from the Green Commission and moving to Minnesota. The village board’s resolution honoring Zakem notes that he was the original chairperson of the village’s Green Study Group in 2010. That later became a subcommittee of the Community Relations Commission and, last year, became the Green Commission.
Zakem told the board and village hall audience that he is proud of the work he’s done on the commission and its precursors over the last eight years. He said that GRC2 shows that Flossmoor’s environmental efforts can make an impact on the metropolitan region.
He thanked the other members of the Green Commission.
“There are nine of us,” he said. “We are a team.”

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