Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Greenworks: How far we've come

Philly's getting greener!

Greenworks: How far we've come

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Philly's getting greener!

Nearly 90,000 trees have been planted since 2008.

Driving is down. Alternative energy use is up.

Last night at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, the city's director of sustainability, Katherine Gajewski, delivered the fourth annual update on the Greenworks plan.

In a nutshell: 

"We’re proud to report that work on 95 percent of our 166 initiatives is underway or complete. We’re exceeding our waste diversion and vehicle miles traveled reduction goals, and we’ve created nearly the number of gardens, farmers markets, and farms we’re striving for by 2015," noted Gajewski and Mayor Nutter in a summary statement.

"For the first time we have enough data to report Greenworks trends," they said. "Municipal government has lowered energy use by seven percent since 2008, and we’ve started construction on projects that will yield significant additional reductions. The percentage of alternative energy used in Philadelphia has increased from 2.5 to 14 percent, putting us on track to achieve the Target 4 goal."

Released in 2009, the plan outlined 15 measurable targets.

Not all of them are showing improvement. For instance, the baseline for community greenhouse gas emissions was 21.2 million tons of CO2 equivalents. The goal is 17. And where are we now? Slightly up, at 21.3. A tough nut to crack, evidently.

As for air quality improvement, the city started with 20 unhealthy days. The goal is 10. But currently we're at 21.

But the city has already exceeded its goal of diverting 70 percent of its solid waste from the landfill. It's at 77 percent.

You can read the full report here.

Inquirer GreenSpace Columnist
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About this blog

GreenSpace is about environmental issues and green living. Bauers also writes a biweekly GreenSpace column about environmental health issues for the Inquirer’s Sunday “Health” section.

Sandy Bauers is the environment reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where she has worked for more than 20 years as a reporter and editor. She lives in northern Chester County with her husband, two cats, a large vegetable garden and a flock of pet chickens.

Reach Sandy at sbauers@phillynews.com.

Sandy Bauers Inquirer GreenSpace Columnist
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