Sustainability education is important because it gives people an understanding of the dependence between humans and the environment where they live and the skills and knowledge necessary to handle the social and environmental changes that will occur in the future. Perhaps most importantly, education can bring about a fundamental shift in how we think, act, and discharge our responsibilities toward one another and the planet. After all, while financial incentives, targeted policies, and technological innovation are needed to catalyze new ways of producing and consuming, they cannot reshape people’s value systems so that they willingly uphold and advance the principles of sustainable development.
In 2017, the City of Norcross adopted its first Sustainability Plan after education and close collaboration with residents. Since then, 23 out of the 36 action items from the plan have been accomplished by city staff and partners. “Pollinate Norcross,” the Norcross Bee City Subcommittee, has been focusing on educating kids in the community about the importance of pollinators. Pollinate Norcross partnered with the Brookhaven Innovation Academy located near Downtown Norcross to host after-school classes and sponsored the creation of the school’s own pollinator garden. To help educate the community about recycling, the City worked with students and staff from Norcross High School to film an educational recycling video in January 2020.
Norcross also seeks to collaborate with the local business community on sustainability issues. In 2019, the Sustainable Norcross Commission launched its first voluntary plastic reduction program, “StrawLess Norcross.” This campaign gave resources and recognition to restaurants in Downtown Norcross that volunteered to only provide plastic drinking straws upon request in an effort to reduce single-use plastic use.
The City of Norcross is certified under the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) Green Communities program and is one of only several Platinum-level Green Communities in metro Atlanta. Below, see how Norcross is doing on completing ARC Green Communities measures around education:
|Utility Tracking and Management||224||5 or 10||Yes|
|Community Member Education||227||5||Yes|
|Youth Sustainability Education||232||5||Yes|
|Sustainability Business Outreach and Collaboration||234||5||Yes|