Councillor Andrea Reimer has Facebooked this:
Nine years ago today, the Greenest City Action Team made its first recommendations to Council. In the time since then we seen:
- a 27% reduction in waste
- 32% reduction in distance driven per person
- 49% increase in green jobs
- 42% increase in local food assets
- 15% reduction in GHGs
- more than half our residents now walk, take transit or bike.
At 3.9 T person, we have the lowest per capita emissions in North America and we’ve made longer range commitments to ensure we continue to get results on a range of green policy areas including transportation, green economic growth, zero emissions buildings, zero waste, access to nature, clean water, local food and air quality.
Questions: Do people care? Will this kind of progress even get reported, much less registered in the public mind? Have we moved on, caring more about housing to the exclusion of other agenda items?
Or do we simply discount progress, focus on the failures, and generally ignore or minimize the positives even as we raise the bar for the future. Like this email that came in at the same time from Michael Alexander:
Time for Vancouver to leapfrog 50%?
San Francisco sets bold new goal: 80 percent of trips by sustainable modes
Last week, Mayor Mark Farrell announced a new goal to make 80 percent of all travel in San Francisco by a sustainable mode of transportation. That includes walking, biking, public transit, and carpooling. Having exceeded our former goal of 50 percent sustainable trips, San Francisco is well-poised to achieve this new goal—and we look forward to helping the city get there.
The new 80 percent goal supports another major pledge the Mayor made during Earth Month: committing San Francisco to become carbon neutral by 2050.
I should clarify the purpose of the post (and why I changed the title.)
The Greenest City initiatives were an example of a government setting out priorities, establishing both vision and goals, and committing to a timeline. And then doing most of what it said it wanted to do – sometimes beyond the expectations of both advocates and critics.
The response? As far as much of the media and public: yawn. Too often Instead: cheap cynicism.
Critics are dismissive. Advocates raise the bar. Some give a quick acknowledgement and then move on – to the failures, the inadequacies, the missed opportunities.
It’s as though the achievements are inconsequential or inadequate to deal with more urgent matters.
This is not helpful at a time when we need positive examples and reinforcement to tackle the challenge, in particular, of climate change. The celebration of success is not unwarranted if earned; it’s essential if hope is to be maintained and continually renewed.