The Glendale City Council passed a sustainability resolution on Nov. 9, which will take Glendale down the path to becoming a greener and more environmentally friendly community, as well as protecting the health of residents.
The resolution states that local government actions will be taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and will increase efficiency by providing local benefits, including decreasing air pollution, creating jobs, reducing energy expenditures and saving money for the local government, its businesses, and its residents.
“The accord will lead the city in reducing energy consumption, renewable energy, recycling, zero waste, recreational open space, protecting drinking water and habitat, locally grown organic food, reducing single occupant vehicle trips, reducing toxics, green building, and neighborhood planning,” said Mayor Ara Najarian said at the city council meeting.
The resolution also states that sustainability means sustaining society in the long term by meeting current environmental, social and economic needs while ensuring that future generations can meet their own needs.
Glendale adopted a strategic goal in the City’s Long Range Plan to lead the way toward a sustainable future, in order to promote a healthy and safe environment for all its residents, also stated in the resolution.
“The public wants this and the voting on Nov. 2 which allowed AB 32 to remain in effect showed that,” said Michael Reed, associate professor of geography and the college’s sustainability coordinator.
AB 32 is an environmental law signed by Gov. Schwarzenegger in 2006, which aims to reduce the greenhouse gas emission levels in California back to the levels of 1990 by the year 2020.
The request for Najarian to sign the sustainability resolution and the United Nations Urban Environmental Haghani, director of community planning and general manager of Glendale Water and Power, who said that signing it would qualify the city for future grants that will help the city in forwarding the sustainability programs already initiated.
The Urban Environmental Accords has 21 specific goals within seven areas, which are energy, waste reduction, urban design, urban nature, transportation, environmental health, and water. It was a new project introduced at a United Nations meeting in 2005 by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who was elected lieutenant governor of California Nov. 2.
The implementation statement of the Urban Environmental Accords says it will require and open, transparent, and participatory dialogue between government, community groups, businesses, academic institutions, and other key partners.
It also says that from the beginning of the accords and the World Environment Day 2012, cities shall work to implement as many of the actions as possible.
“It is a very broad report and we are pushing forward in all those fronts, under the guidance of Mr. Haghani and his staff, Glendale Water and Power, and others involved,” said Najarian at the meeting.
Glendale Community College has an Environmental Affairs Committee, which has set as their mission to raise campus awareness of sustainability and support the implementation of sustainable practices across the college campus. In a survey taken by Reed last spring, results showed that more than 90 percent of the college faculty and staff believed the college needed to move in a greener direction, and 40 percent of them believed that it should be done even if it cost money.
“Environmental sustainability is critically important to Glendale Community College,” said Reed, who is also chair of GCC’s environmental affairs committee. “In the spirit of striving to provide leadership and resources to the City of Glendale and students, the college commits to purchasing environmentally friendly and energy-efficient products and equipment, reducing greenhouse gas emissions at the college, using recycled and recyclable materials, and developing administrative and training procedures in conformity with the policy.”
Among the Environmental Affairs Committee’s additional proposals to committing to the college’s sustainability; are minimizing the generation of solid waste, accessing renewable energy sources, reducing student and staff commuting, nurturing environmental stewardship and environmental literacy across the curriculum, and regularly measuring and assessing the performance toward the goals.
Reed said that he will meet soon with GCC President Dawn Lindsay to discuss the Environmental Affairs committee’s proposal policy on sustainability, which he hopes will be in front of the board of trustees before the end of the year so the college can adopt the policy.