Seeking to confront climate change “head-on” locally, Dane County announced last week a collaboration between officials throughout the county to work on ways to do that, including with Fitchburg Mayor Richardson.

In a news release Aug. 15, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi and Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes Conway announced the “first of its kind collaboration” to bring together elected officials, administrators and staff who work on sustainability issues from nearly two dozen cities, villages, and towns in Dane County.

In its first meeting last week, the Sustainability Leaders Collaborative established working groups on four issues: solar development; renewable fuel usage for municipal fleets; energy efficiency/sustainability for facilities and “green” infrastructure to manage run-off from heavy rain events.

The group will re-convene this winter to review progress made by those groups and “develop implementation plans for using sustainable strategies in both the public and private sectors,” according to the news release.

Dane County, the City of Madison and several other local communities agreed to achieve 100% sustainability, reducing carbon emissions and implementing practices that help improve resiliency for extreme weather events.

Parisi said addressing climate change and advancing clean, green energy projects is a “shared mission” of communities around Dane County.

“By uniting in a shared vision, we can work together to support our sustainability efforts, positively impact the environment, and set the stage for others to follow suit,” he said in the news release.

Richardson, a member of the collective, said he’s excited to work with leaders from other communities throughout Dane County to increase sustainability efforts.

“This is a great chance to not only work together but to learn from others to increase the effectiveness of efforts,” he wrote the Star in an email. “I’m excited to keep working with our neighbors to implement initiatives that will do things like increase solar, reduce runoff and ensure Dane County is a great place to live for generations.”

Email Unified Newspaper Group reporter Scott De Laruelle at