Vancouver is set to becoming the greenest city in the world by 2020 according to the City of Vancouver Action plan seen here at http://vancouver.ca/files/cov/Greenest-city-action-plan.pdf. This report is highly detailed and I would sincerely encourage everyone to take a look at it because for now I will only be providing a brief detail of its contents.
In their plan 10 goals are outlined. They are: 1. Green Economy, 2. Climate Leadership, 3. Green Buildings, 4. Green Transportation, 5. Zero Waste, 6. Access to Nature, 7. Lighter Footprint, 8. Clean Water, 9. Clean Air, and 10. Local Food. These are clearly important points that every city should include in their action plans for sustainable development. Unfortunately not all cities in the world will emphasize as great a need or urgency I should say to be as sustainable so soon as does the city of Vancouver. I will say that every city should look to Vancouver as a model city for what the entire would needs to achieve and in doing so we might just have more than 100 years left on this planet before it is ruined beyond habitability for humans.
Now to get to the point I would like to dive into Vancouvers action plan a little by jumping to point number 5, Zero Waste. There plan by 2020 is to reduce solid waste going to landfills or for inceration by 50% from 2008 levels. This certainly is an ambitious goal given they only have 5 years and a cities worth of trash to take care of. How will they do it? Well some of the plans they have already put into action are things such as expanding the residential food scrap composting program, an extremely useful public resource in that it reduces landfill waste an increasing the availability of compost to grow richer more nutritious produce right from your back yard. Another important method they are using is public education programs toward reducing the amount of recyclable goods that are accidently or purposefully placed into the waste stream, aka “landfill”.
Finally, in the coming future there are many more goals that Vancouver has set for itself in order to become the greenest city in the world. Such as opening its first tool library or eliminating the use of plastic bags. One topic and goal for Vancouver that I think is vitally important is access to nature. In Vacnouver by 2020 they hope that all residents will live within a 5 minute walk of a park, greenway, or green space. As well they want to plant 150,000 new trees by 2020 according to the action plan. Personally I think it is vital not only that we live in a sustainable world but that sustainability should really be a regenerative process that seeks to replace more than what we have taken. It also should be self evident that this world is not worth living in if you can’t enjoy the simple pleasures of nature on a daily basis and preferably multiple times a day in my opinion. One day I hope I can retire in Vancouver or a city similar to it.