Rockland hires sustainability coordinator

By Stephen Betts | Nov 14, 2019
Photo by: Davis Saltonstall, right, and Tessa Rosenberry and their dog "Roo."

Rockland — A new staff member who will focus on reducing the community's carbon footprint to combat climate change will begin work next month.

Davis Saltonstall was hired to be the city's sustainability coordinator, City Manager Tom Luttrell announced Wednesday night, Nov. 13. Saltonstall will begin work Dec. 9. His annual salary will be $25,000.

The city added the part-time position during its budget approval in June. The Rockland Energy Advisory Committee had recommended the position be created.

Saltonstall grew up in Rockport. He is a 2012 Camden Hills graduate and a 2016 graduate of New York University with dual degrees in environmental studies and economics. He was a 2013 Spark Clean Energy Fellow and a 2015 Udall Scholar.

Davis said in a statement that he has demonstrated a long-term interest and dedication to issues of sustainability. He has worked for several solar companies, a clean-technology incubator, and a university office conducting various sustainability projects.

In 2018, he and his partner moved back to the area from New York City and founded ScrapDogs Community Compost.

Since high school, where Saltonstall was a member one of the school's environmental clubs, he has sought to create community and action around environmental and social issues. Throughout college, Saltonstall was an organizer for environmental organizations and continues to volunteer his time to environmental causes.

He was previously a member of Rockland's Energy Advisory Committee before being hired for the city post.

Saltonstall said he is excited to continue working with the city to meet ambitious energy goals in this new role.

The recommendations for the climate action plan released in May by the Energy Committee called for:

Develop renewable local power generation. A first step would be to transition the city government’s energy needs to renewable sources. A next step would be to use renewable power to supply the entire community’s electricity needs, for example via a municipal or regional utility. Identify areas of the city which could be used for wind, solar or tidal power generation.

Craft city policy to reduce greenhouse gasses and improve energy independence. This would include the construction and renovation to have energy-efficient buildings, zoning requirements for renewable energy development, creating a more walkable, wheelable city and encouraging more people who work in Rockland to live here. Creating a building improvement revolving loan fund via a bond and using this fund to upgrade building efficiency, insulation and heat sources. This would be an expansion of the Weatherize Rockland program and would include incentives to encourage landlords to weatherize.

Reduce energy consumption. Convert city streetlights to LED bulbs, a full audit of lighting needs, employing motion detection where appropriate, and adopting a dark sky policy which both reduces energy usage and adds to the natural beauty of the city. Further reductions in energy consumption in both the city government and community at large would help the city better reach its goals.

Eliminate reliance on fossil fuels for home heating.This would have to be accomplished through a combination of improved efficiency and replacement of existing nonrenewable heating sources with those that are more renewable (heat pumps, wood, pellets, solar, etc.)

Make transportation energy-efficient. For instance: implementing a complete streets policy that encourages walking and cycling and is welcoming to wheelchair users, supporting the community bus and helping increase its route and ridership, subsidizing taxi services, and adding electric vehicle charging stations to strengthen the electric vehicle corridor. Any new municipal vehicle purchases should meet city-set standards for efficiency and consumption.

Develop a community outreach and education program. Potential partners include schools, civic and business groups, nonprofits, etc. Develop educational and fun outreach on issues such as: zero waste, water use reduction and water-saving techniques, composting, tips for reducing energy usage, considering more plant-based diets, upcycling rather than recycling, buying used, carbon footprint and cradle-to- grave education in general on topics such as the way in which we are connected to global pollution via server farms, flying, etc.

Form alliances with regional communities and larger organizations that can help the city continue towards its goals, including joining the Global Covenant of Mayors, which can provide additional resources. Also, the report says, there are a number of opportunities on the horizon for collaboration with the state government.

Comments (17)
Posted by: Melissa Byer | Nov 24, 2019 20:24

Boy could I go on and on about this!

Posted by: Dale Hayward | Nov 18, 2019 16:56

Johanna: Let's see what that $25,000 will do toward the earth, the oceans, the air, the trees, the swamps, the dumps, the dog dodo, and all the rest. You seem to think this is a cure all, If only it were that easy. As for being a start, Rocklandia all alone in this effort from what I see.


Posted by: Nicole Jeanette Boutin | Nov 18, 2019 14:42

Is the city for real? Is this what we can expect from our leaders going forward? As I was walking my dog Vinny to go to the bathroom, I noticed there was a tent in the woods , it was the morning that it was real cold out, I thought and wondered if that family, that was living in the tent felt relief that we are spending this money... $25,000 on the cities carbon footprint. What about the surrounding towns , that don't go along with the Rockland leaders bright idea

..Is this money going to be wasted...Plus the article mentioned electric many are in Rockland? My thought...get and do the cities business get off this garbage and get this city moving forward..not one of you are talking about jobs...taxes...infrastructure...that should keep you busy for awhile... don't look to spend money foolishly... let me tell you all something...we don't have it!

Posted by: johanna stadler | Nov 17, 2019 16:11

seriously why would us old farts really give a damn?  After all let's just stick our heads in the sand and make this something more than it is.  Give me a know what if you have the extra special bestest solution then step right up and lay it out rather than bitching and moaning and trying to start something.  How many times do you think we can take a dump on the earth and get away with it?  Open you eyes and look at what is happening to the oceans and our beautiful planet.  bitch bitch bitch rather than help help help

Posted by: Dale Hayward | Nov 16, 2019 21:50

Sustainability is based on a simple principle. Everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment. To pursue sustainability is to create and maintain the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony. After gleaning this little tidbit from the ever faithful google world I now understand that for $25,000 per year the City of Rockland will not only be able to guide our survival but provide for our well-being by, I suspect, teaching us to hug a tree (nature) and pay more taxes (to better exist in Rocklandia world of taxes) we will better exemplify the world's concerns about sustainability: MAKING OUR FUTURE THE CAUSE OF THE PRESENT.


Posted by: James Clinton Leach | Nov 15, 2019 22:41

Welcome Aboard Davis and Good Luck !

Posted by: Dale Hayward | Nov 15, 2019 16:14

Nate welcome to the alliance, you have Greg on your side, I assume you have Vali also. Another day another party.


Posted by: Dale Hayward | Nov 15, 2019 14:38

Perhaps this Saltonstall is part of the Saltonstall family from Massachusetts where money flows like water, and he can afford to work for nothing, But, then again, what does the city expect to gain in actual, honest, future value added services/taxable businesses? If it does not help with tax relief, why are we doing it. We spend enough on purchases and services that are bleeding our tax base.


Posted by: Dale Hayward | Nov 15, 2019 14:33

Susanne, I suspect you live in Rocklandia? I will, however, put my faith in Deborah Morrison for her contribution to show, at least one example, and I have many if you want to hear about them, of what we might conceive as inappropriate and wasteful services that we observe. Not all locations in Rocklandia can be treated the same as for the road conditions. Sometimes it appears that those areas are not well chosen. It sometime appears that public works services are not well thought out. I know sometimes at 4 AM the city sends out the street sweeper that wakes many people up. I know we have city vehicles sitting at local food services for their coffee breaks. I understand this is all supposedly well planned, but why are those parking lots not always full but with ample city vehicles many times idling and wasting fuel. I could carry this on but Deborah is concerned, and I do not speak for her, I speak in unison with her that the perception is sometimes cloudy.  Better yet, if people in their vehicles would drive with more caution and leave home a few minutes early to go to work or an appointment I believe we could cut down on a lot of services: police, fire, ems, and public works.


Posted by: Susanne Ward | Nov 15, 2019 09:12

There was quite a bit of black ice out this morning during the morning commute. It’s nothing to take casually, as I know from experience. As we don’t have much of it here, I thought Public Works was pretty insightful to send out the sanding truck.

Posted by: Deborah Clarisse Morrison | Nov 15, 2019 07:54

"Little San Francisco" (Rockland) now embraces the green new deal.  Before you tell us what we can eat, start with city waste.  I just watched a city truck salting the road when it 33 degrees and it's going to be 45 degrees today. sm

Posted by: Valli Genevieve Geiger | Nov 14, 2019 17:33

Congratulations Davis.  Rockland will receive so much value from your experience, drive and passion for a better world.  Knowing that this is a half-time position leaves me hoping that the city can find the resources to make this a full time effort as there is so much to do.

Greg Marley

Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Nov 14, 2019 17:28

Maybe he is in it for the experience not the money. He's of the generation that needs to focus on saving Mother Earth. Us older folk can help but our best days are long past, eh!

Posted by: Dale Hayward | Nov 14, 2019 15:54

Gee, I have never heard of the name Saltonstall? For $25,000 a year I can only imagine what type of product we will get since we pay of city manager $110,000.00 plus benefits plus benefits. You see, I like to think this highly educated individual would be of greater value since the purpose of this is to accomplish overwhelming success stories for this city. Not apples to apples but check out his education, background, and why would someone want this job for $25,000 per year, and be expected to come up with meaningful research and implementation, not just one report or statistic after another. Here I go again folks, come after me.


Posted by: Kathryn Fogg | Nov 14, 2019 11:45

How many hours is part time?  Or or this just for the remainder of the year?

Posted by: Stephen Betts | Nov 14, 2019 11:37



Posted by: Valerie Wass | Nov 14, 2019 11:13

His pay?


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