Southampton – Showing What it Takes
Transitioning an industry to clean, quiet land maintenance practices is a multi-faceted effort. It requires making the health and environmental impacts visible, giving people the resources to create solutions, motivating them to persist with new approaches, rewarding those new approaches and behaviors, and working with leaders who want to set the example. In Southampton, NY, this model is being implemented successfully. Under the leadership of Town Council member, Christine Scalera, the Town is transitioning all its municipal operations to battery electric technology, creating the first AGZA Green Zone® community in the Northeast, and now is extending those efforts to engage the business community.
The process really began in 2016 with the first step being education -- helping public officials and residents understand the public health, worker health and environmental impacts of gas-powered landscape maintenance practices. The second step was to hold an orientation with the Town’s Parks and Recreation Department showing them how battery electric technology and better practices could get the job done, improve worker health, and restore peace and quiet. The third step was to create an AGZA Green Zone at a town park to demonstrate proof of concept. The success of that effort led the Town to expand quickly to Town Hall. Now other town properties are being transitioned. Impact reports and visual maps are helping to communicate the positive environmental and health benefits.
With Town support, businesses in the area are getting an opportunity to create a clean, quiet business sector. The recent Go Electric! business workshop from AGZA and QC (March 29, 2019) was attended by several businesses, among them Jackson Dodds & Company, an area leader that now provides battery electric land care. Bill Fox, owner of Bill Fox Grounds Maintenance intends to do the same. His workers liked the simplicity of “just having to push a button rather than pulling a cord to start up the equipment. Converting our 2-stroke tools will be the first step for us,” he added.