Indeed. At Molloy College In Rockville Centre
We've often said, only half in jest, that about the only thing that is sustainable on Long Island, particularly along its forgotten and long-forsaken south shore, is the blight.
Indeed, in Hempstead Town, communities officially "blighted" -- such as Baldwin, Elmont and West Hempstead -- wear the blight designation as a sort of badge of courage. [Or was that like a Scarlett Letter?]
Anyway, far above the blight, in the hallowed halls of academia, an institute (unlike that of Mel Brooks High Anxiety fame) was founded (had it been lost?) earlier this year, whose mission is, if not exploring new worlds, then, at least, to sustain this one. [The mission statement reads, "To integrate the idea of sustainability into the academic life of Molloy College and to serve as a core resource on environmental responsibility to help ensure a sustainable future for the students and faculty of Molloy College, as well as the larger Long Island community." Ugh. Say that ten times fast!]
Yes. The Sustainability Institute at Molloy College. Headed up by someone who is familiar to anyone and everyone who, in any way, shape, or form, has thought about, talked about, or even wondered about Long Island's future -- Neal Lewis.
Neal and his team -- most of whom followed him from their former gig at the Long Island Neighborhood Network -- echo many of the same concerns as we at The Community Alliance have blogged about over these many years. Clean and reusable energy. Organic (or at least, non-toxic) resourcing. Global warming. Downtown cooling. All of the good stuff that, packaged together, helping to create a self-sustaining, liveable suburban environment.
Established in April, 2009, the Institute has already developed initiatives ranging from Go Green on Halloween to Greening Your Place of Worship, with such Neighborhood Network staples as Do-It-Yourself Organic Lawn Care and 15 Things Long Islanders Can Do To Be Energy Efficient, being integrated into the program.
Of course, to truly create sustainability on Long Island, the Institute will necessarily have to add to or complement its focus of stated core values and goals (Curb global warming. Reduce environmental toxins.
Improve public health. Promote smart planning that provides sustainable land use. Promote communities and life-styles that are sustainable and affordable in the long-term.) with other elements of smart growth critical to Long Island, and designed to address issues that are infrastructural as well as environmental. [A few that come immediately to mind: Improving transportation. Creating affordable housing. Revitalizing "Main Street." Incorporating density, mobility, and walkability into Long Island's vision of suburbia.]
Ahh. The marriage (or at least a domestic partnership) of The Sustainability Institute with, say, the ideas and ideals of the Long Island Neighborhood Network, Sustainable Long Island, and Citizens Campaign for the Environment. [Wait. Is that a marriage, or a menage-et-trois?]
And, of course, somewhere in that congenial and cooperative mix -- or at least in the discourse and sidebar so crucial to taking a vision of sustainability from drawing board to "Main Street" -- will be none other than The Community Alliance.