Mayors are in the forefront of sustainability issues and a number of them have shown tremendous initiative in addressing issues at the local level. For example, Michael Bloomberg, the Mayor of New York City, offers an assessment of federal leadership in the U.S.A.: “We can’t wait for the Federal Government to take action when it comes to our environment… Cities are leading the way and making a real difference in cutting greenhouse gas emissions and addressing climate change.”
It is time for us to challenge our cities. Consider scheduling an appointment to meet with the mayor of your city or municipality, write a letter to him/her, and/or write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper to get people thinking.
We offer the following questions for you to ask your local leaders. These questions are based on areas of sustainability used to determine “Greenest Cities”: CO2 emissions, energy, land use, buildings, transport, water, waste, air quality, and environmental governance. You need not use every question.
Does your city have a mandatory recycling program?
What are the criteria for new building construction?
How many miles of bikeways does your city have?
How many green roofs do city buildings have?
Does your city have an Office of Sustainability?
How efficient is public transportation?
Does your city have hybrid buses?
How much green space does the city have?
Does your city ban the use of plastic bags?
Does your city have a climate action plan?
What plan does your city have to reduce greenhouse gases?
What plans does your city have to reduce dependence on fossil fuels?
Does your city have a plan with target dates to reduce energy consumption?
What portion of the electricity in your city is from renewable energy sources?
(Based on material from Caroljean Willie, Sisters of Charity Federation)