Long Beach Earth Day Events Encourage: Think Globally, Act Locally

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earth-day-long-beachThe City of Long Beach announces a week of events celebrating Earth Week 2009, including unveiling a new City LNG fueling site, proposing a new Green Building Ordinance for City Council approval, announcing a new Marina Recycling Program and introducing Operation Mulch-A-Lot, an innovative program that turns tree-trimming waste into mulch for vacant City lots.

In addition, each member of the City Council will be giving away free compact fluorescent bulbs, which use up to 75 percent less energy than incandescent light bulbs.

These events, featured in the ‘Celebrate Our World’ Earth Week 2009 calendar, are a collection of City and community events designed to raise awareness about our natural environment and our interconnectedness to it, and how individuals can take steps to become better environmental stewards.

“Long Beach uses a combination of innovative solutions and simple, yet effective, steps to eliminate waste as we move towards our goal to become a sustainable city,” said Mayor Bob Foster. “Our City has already been recognized with many environmental awards and we continue look for more opportunities to develop and implement more green programs.”

The first Earth Day was celebrated on April 22, 1970, with the goal of inspiring environmental awareness and encouraging the conservation, protection, and appreciation of our nation’s natural environment, ecosystems and resources. Today, Long Beach has turned this celebration into a week of events including ribbon-cuttings and program unveilings, neighborhood clean-ups and tree plantings, speakers and forums, and farmers markets.

The City of Long Beach is undertaking a major shift in the way it handles sustainability initiatives. In April 2008, Long Beach introduced a new Office of Sustainability, which was created to facilitate the process of developing and implementing model sustainability programs for the City of Long Beach. This Office, which reports to the City Manager, is responsible for coordinating and implementing sustainability initiatives and has primary responsibility within the City for setting the green agenda and working with City Departments to jointly implement green projects and programs.

Some of the major initiatives and accomplishments in the last year include:

  • As a first step toward aggressively improving energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the City became a member of The Climate Registry and the California Climate Action Registry and is producing the City’s first greenhouse gas emissions inventory, which will identify the City of Long Beach’s total carbon dioxide emissions from all of its facilities, sites, and operations. This inventory will be concluded this spring and will be available to the public in the summer.
  • Long Beach has undertaken a major effort to become the most bicycle-friendly urban City in the United States. The City has secured more than $10 million in dedicated grants to hire a mobility coordinator; update the City’s bicycle master plan; install custom bike racks; design creative bike routes like sharrows, bike boulevards and protected bike lanes; introduce an employee bike share program; and launch a new website geared toward all things bike in Long Beach. For more information, visit www.bikelongbeach.org
  • Long Beach has been awarded the No. 1 Government Green Fleet in North America by the US Department of Energy’s Clean Cities Program. The City’s fleet contains several hundred CNG, LNG, propane, electricity and biodiesel vehicles, in addition to a growing number of hybrids. The Biodiesel Pilot Program features 10 beach maintenance vehicles, and the City recently introduced four plug-in Toyota Prius hybrids, which have an additional battery and get the equivalent of up to 100 mpg.
  • Since Long Beach became the first major city in the State of California to implement permanent prohibitions on certain outdoor uses of water citywide, Long Beach has set 10-year record lows for water consumption in 17 of the last 20 months. So far this year, Long Beach water consumption is nearly 20 percent below the 10-year average. Long Beach is the best-prepared city in California to forestall and lessen the impact of a severe water supply shortage.

For the Earth Week 2009 Calendar of Events, visit: www.longbeach.gov

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