Kenney announces new sustainability plan

Mayor Kenney on Wednesday announced his plan to make Philadelphia a healthier, greener and more sustainable city.

Standing on the green roof of the Free Library on Logan Square, Mayor Kenney announced on Wednesday his plan to make Philadelphia a healthier, greener, and more sustainable city.

"Sustainability is about more than the environment, it is also about tackling issues such as economic opportunity, health, and neighborhood equity," Kenney said.

The city's new sustainability plan comes with a number of goals, which include making sure that all Philadelphians have access to healthy and affordable food and water, clean air, and safe and low-carbon transportation, and that they can benefit from the city's parks, trees, and waterways.

"It really is a continuum of issues that are all affected by and interrelated to each other, and create either a great environment to live in the city or a not-so-great environment," Kenney said.

Christine Knapp, the city's director of sustainability, said part of the plan is to engage residents, community groups, churches, and institutions in the process. The city's Greenworks website has a section that informs people on what they can do to keep energy costs down and improve air quality.

"The overarching seam of this is equity and sustainability," Knapp said, "making sure that every person in every neighborhood has the same benefits of sustainability."

Knapp said there is also a Greenworks online dashboard to allow the city to update data on green initiatives more than once a year when an annual report is released.

She said another change in the administration's sustainability plan is a focus on climate change. She said the city will look at ways to prepare for and protect itself from the effects of climate change, such as installing green roofs and using data to determine which areas of the city are hottest.

Former Mayor Michael A. Nutter, who left office in January, created the Office of Sustainability in 2008 to make Philadelphia greener and more energy-efficient. Since then, the city has reduced the amount of waste generated in the city and the amount of electricity consumed in city buildings.

The Office of Sustainability became a permanent office in November 2014.

Kenney and Knapp said they want to continue to make Philadelphia a greener city.

"Becoming a cleaner, greener city will reduce the number of children who suffer from asthma, lower energy costs, increase access to healthy foods, prevent flooding, and create job opportunities in a clean economy," Kenney said.

To read the new Greenworks plan online visit www.phila.gov/green.

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