The South Orange Village government established the Environmental Commission to protect and restore the quality of our air, water, and open space. These life-supporting elements link us to the larger community of species that together form the watershed of the East Branch of the Rahway River. Through programs, publications, activities and in-governmental actions, the Commission seeks to create real world change that makes sustainability a part of our community's daily life.
The Environmental Commission is composed of seven citizen volunteers, two alternates, and one liaison to the Board of Trustees. It also oversees the Green Team, which is unlimited in membership and open to all residents who wish to pursue projects affecting the environment and quality of life. The Commission can propose new laws and guidelines, or motions to amend existing ones, to the Board of Trustees. It also has the authority to conduct research into the uses of land within the municipality, and may sponsor events and projects, submit grant applications, coordinate with donors and other bodies, and prepare maps, plans, books and pamphlets.
The Commission seeks to empower residents with the knowledge that their individual and collective actions directly affect their environment and their own health. For example: eliminating the use of lawn chemicals reduces toxins in our water, reducing the burning of fossil fuels in cars and home furnaces improves our local air quality, and reducing the use of plastics reduces the toxins in the seafood we eat. The Commission sponsors a number of events and initiatives, such as River Day, designed to help people better understand these linkages.
The Commission is required by law to keep a Natural Resources Inventory and a list of all open areas, publicly or privately owned, to ensure proper use of such lands. The index of open lands is kept both as part of the Recreation and Open Space Index (ROSI) provided by the Village to the NJ State Dept. of Environmental Protection, and by the Village Planner as part of the Master Plan.
- James McGowan, Chairman
- Siobhan Noland, Member
- Patricia Canning, Member
- Robert Orgera, Member
- Richard Bell, Member
- Neil Chambers, Planning Board Representative
- David Kraiker, Secretary
- Ritu Bachhawat, Alternate #1
- John Calhoon, Alternate #2
- Walter Clarke, Village Trustee Liaison