The city government in Lansing, Mich., is growing its sustainability program. - Unsplash.com photo by Tobias Weinhold.

The city government in Lansing, Mich., is growing its sustainability program.

Unsplash.com photo by Tobias Weinhold.

Mayor Andy Schor announced Oct. 22 the City of Lansing has released its first climate action plan for city operations. As a part of the plan, Mayor Schor has issued an executive order to establish and create the Mayor’s Advisory Commission on Sustainability that will help guide the city in its climate action and sustainability efforts.

The goals of the plan include reducing the city’s carbon impact, increasing energy efficiency, reducing waste, and looking at other areas that lead to long-term operational savings while protecting the natural environment.

“In my vision 2030 plan, I emphasized the importance of increasing sustainability effortsthroughout the city and implementing Lansing’s climate action plan for internal operations, which are just the start of this important work,” Schor said. “We’re committing to creating and maintaining sustainable practices in all city operations, services, planning, design, construction, transportation, fleet, and building maintenance. I look forward to receiving additional input and recommendations from members of my newly-established commission.”

In addition to the executive order, Schor signed the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy (GCoM), which is an international alliance of more than 10,000 cities. The GCoM serves as a method of accountability to ensure the City of Lansing stays committed to promoting and implementing sustainability within the community, as well as the goals outlined in the Paris Agreement. Some of the principles of the GCoM include efforts to minimize greenhouse gas emissions, develop a plan of action to combat climate change, increase sustainable energy, and track the progress that results from these actions.

As a part of the city’s climate action plan, Schor announced the promotion of Lori Welch to become the city’s first sustainability manager in April 2020. Welch’s role is critical for continuing to develop and implement the plan, which includes tracking data inventory to better understand the impact of city operations on the environment.

“Lansing has started to track greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions related to city operations, which will be used to help improve municipal facilities,” Welch said. “I’m looking forward to implementing the plan and helping to set a path toward a more energy efficient and environmentally sound operation.”

The plan includes several other goals already in development including:

● Creating an internal team of city employees to help implement key aspects of the plan, help educate fellow employees, track and set goals.

● Creating a sustainability action plan that focuses on the Lansing community, laying out specific goals and outlining a path forward.

● Engaging residents, community stakeholders, city employees and others to ensure the sustainability planning efforts are transparent, equitable and responsible.

Applicants must have a passion for areas including energy efficiency, renewable energy, waste management, water management and transportation. Commission members will work with the sustainability manager and will act in an advisory capacity to the mayor.

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