Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mayor calls for elimination of 'food deserts,' 25 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020

Posted By on Tue, Oct 26, 2010 at 2:23 PM

Mayor Kasim Reed yesterday rolled out a sustainability plan that he says will help Atlanta become a truly green city that has cleaner air, saves water, and offers residents greater access to locally grown food.

The goal: Establishing Atlanta alongside New York, Chicago and Seattle as one of the country's top ten greenest cities. From the city:

Mayor Reed’s plan to achieve the top 10 city ranking includes a combination of new projects and policy initiatives, as well as the continuation of several successful, well-established programs. The plan sets sustainability benchmarks for all City departments, such as the reduction of petroleum fuel usage and water system leakage.

In addition, the plan’s new initiatives will create green jobs, push more transit and transit-oriented development, and reduce food “deserts” in the city — neighborhoods where access to locally grown produce is limited. Targets guiding the new projects include:

· Reduce greenhouse gas emissions within the City of Atlanta’s jurisdiction 25 percent by 2020, 40 percent by 2030, and 80 percent by 2050;
· Reduce energy use for existing municipal operations 15 percent by 2020, 40 percent by 2030, and 80 percent by 2050. Make renewable energy five percent of total municipal use by 2015; and
· Bring local food within 10 minutes of 75 percent of all residents by 2020.

The remaining 25 percent of residents will be forced, by special "sustainability foot soldiers," to walk 932 miles and hunt rabid boars.

All terrible jokes aside, it's an ambitious plan. But Reed says the city's well on its way. (It's already achieved more than 50 percent of the energy- and water-saving goals outlined by Mayor Shirley Franklin in 2008.)

One of the most daunting tasks is boosting transit. After all, the city can only do so much if the General Assembly continues to view rail as either unimportant or undeserving of attention. Another is instituting a green building ordinance, which Council failed to pass last year after pressure by developers.

Download the mayor's full sustainability plan here. Or check out an eight-page summary here.

Yesterday's announcement kicked off the city's five-day celebration of all things eco-friendly, including a farmers market inside City Hall. That takes place tomorrow. If you're in the area, stop by. A calendar of this week's remaining activities follows after the jump.

Tue Oct. 26: Mayor Kasim Reed joins Southface officials for the unveiling of the Southeast Weatherization and Energy Efficiency Training (SWEET) Center, 10:00 a.m.,
(590 Piedmont Ave. N.E., Atlanta, GA 30308) More information at southface.org

Wed.Oct.27: Highlighting the city’s effort to bring local food within 10 minutes of 75 percent of Atlanta’s residents by 2020, City Hall will host a Local Food Day, featuring a farmers market, demonstration edible garden on the roof of City Hall, and “lunch and learn” for city employees focused on the health benefits and the impacts on the local economy. 11:00 a.m.(City Hall)

Thu Oct. 28: City officials will celebrate its gains in water conservation by showcasing innovations of the Department of Watershed Management at City Hall. DWM will be announcing the extension of low-flow toilet rebates to multi-family dwellings, in addition to showcasing products from Toto®, and providing FREE tickets to the Fernbank Museum WATER Exhibition. (City Hall)

Fri Oct. 29: Mayor Kasim Reed joins Nissan to announce Atlanta as one of the first cities in the Southeast to launch the Nissan LEAF electric vehicle, 12:00 p.m. (Georgia Tech’s Manufacturing Research Center (MARC) - 813 Ferst Dr. N.W., Atlanta, GA 30332)

Area students will benefit from an Electric Vehicle Forum paneled by experts from Georgia Tech., Georgia Power, Nissan, and the Atlanta Electric Vehicle Readiness Task Force beginning at 1:00 p.m.

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