Understanding Municipal Sustainability

Last Updated:
Wed, 2018-04-25 15:12

President Obama’s State of the Union address last week charged individuals and federal agencies to work toward energy independence and clean energy. Municipal governments have responded to such charges by developing their own sustainability plans. Community leaders have taken on the responsibility and aim to reevaluate procedures that negatively contribute to climate change.

Rendering of a sustainable citySustainability is important to many individuals because it demonstrates a long-term higher quality of life - economically, socially, and environmentally. We recognize that climate change will have an impact on the ways we live, both from a health perspective and from a financial perspective. We need to be proactive about climate change at all levels of government, to ensure a cleaner and healthier environment for all.

We know from Executive Order 13514 how federal agencies plan to achieve the sustainability goals that have been set for them by the Commander in Chief. Members of the community want to know what actions their municipal governments are taking in accomplishing similar goals.

At the core of many sustainability initiatives is the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Cities often own and operate some of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions, such as wastewater and water treatment systems, airports, convention centers, and transportation fleets. Because of this influence, more than 1,000 municipalities in the United States have committed to addressing climate change by reducing their contribution to greenhouse gas emissions.

According to the Denver Business Journal, “most municipalities with GHG commitments have set deadlines of 2010 or 2012 to reach ambitious emission-reduction targets (in the range of 7 percent to 20 percent), and few have been able to achieve or even come close to those goals.”

Some of the problems that exist include setting unrealistic goals, failing to track progress, and not monitoring regulatory developments at the state, regional, and national levels. The best way to fix these problems is to assemble a task force of sustainability experts who have experience creating and maintaining sustainability initiatives.

For more ideas on how to improve sustainability efforts within your municipality, call Everblue at 800-460-2575.

By Lesley Cowie

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