Some of you may remember Jordan and Alex from the March GreenDrinks event at iPark...
By Brian Lockhart
WINDSOR - Of the nearly dozen individuals, including Stamford Mayor Dannel Malloy, the state honored yesterday for helping the environment, two were barely tall enough to peer over the podium to deliver acceptance speeches.
Two Wilton boys, Jordan Reichgut, 10, and Alex Scaperotta, who told the crowd he is almost 10, were presented with leadership awards by the Governor's Steering Committee on Climate Change.
The third annual ceremony was hosted at the Windsor offices of ING Financial Services, honored for its green architecture and conservation initiatives that include urging workers to use coffee mugs at work and recycle office supplies and paper.
When they were 8, Jordan and Alex and their parents founded Little People, Big Changes, a club that encouraged 120 Wilton households to sign up for the state's Clean Energy Options program.
The program allows customers of Connecticut Light & Power and United Illuminating to pay a voluntary clean energy surcharge to help fund wind, hydroelectric and landfill gas projects that contribute to the nation's electric grid.
Anne George, commissioner of the state Department of Public Utility Control, presented the boys with their award, saying the state has many programs to help residents conserve energy and it is important to spread the word.
George said state officials launched Clean Energy Options with trepidation, knowing Connecticut residents pay high utility costs.
"I can only hope my children start taking on some of the activities Alex and Jordan have," George said. "When I was 8 years old, I was just running around the neighborhood, playing."
The boys also launched a "no idling" campaign in Wilton to reduce auto emissions and have made several presentations to schoolchildren and officials.
Reading from a handwritten speech, the boys thanked Wilton officials, their teacher and their mothers, "who helped us research global warming, no idling and clean energy."
Gina McCarthy, head of the state Department of Environmental Protection, said the boys reversed roles in spearheading their campaigns.
"At times it's not what we teach our children, it's what our children teach us," McCarthy said.
Malloy and Stamford were honored for conservation initiatives that have saved the city 11 million kilowatt hours and about $1.3 million a year since 1998.
"As the price of energy goes up, we're saving more money every day," Malloy said.
Efforts include using solar panels, reducing street lighting and replacing street lamps and traffic lights with energy-efficient light emitting diodes.
The city has pledged to use 20 percent clean energy by 2010 and reduce greenhouse gases by 20 percent by 2018.
Stamford is rewriting its planning and zoning regulations to require that new developments or upgrades build green, and the city wants to establish its own energy power grid and waste-to-energy facility, Malloy said.
He is among mayors nationwide who have united under the Cities for Climate Protection banner.
"We truly believe . . . that working with local governments who are the largest consumers (and) purchasers of power in the nation is very, very important," Malloy said.