Recently, the City Council and I appointed 25 well qualified members and alternates to serve on the Sustainable City Committee. The members include residents and business persons with a wide range of professions and interests. So what does it mean to go green and to become a sustainable city? Going green means we reconsider the choices we make today to conserve resources and operate responsibly to preserve and protect our environment. Sustainability considers how these choices will affect future generations. By changing the way we do business today, we can leave behind a cleaner, safer environment for the generations that follow.
The Sustainable City Committee is charged with the task of developing a Sustainable City Program for the City of Signal Hill. They will study the issues and recommend program and policies to the City Council. The City has already switched to hybrids and natural gas vehicles, replaced municipal building lighting with low-energy lighting and implemented recycling programs. Moreover, many of the newer hilltop houses exceed California energy standards for new construction, an important issue when considering that heating and cooling of buildings consume more fuel than our automobiles.
The City is also a large consumer of goods and services. It buys office supplies, trucks and police cruisers. It hires contractors to build roads and maintain park landscaping. When looking at a sustainable future, how the City does business is very important. I am looking forward to working with the Sustainable City Committee as they begin to study how we can reduce our negative impacts on the environment through a variety of conservation efforts.
In closing, here are some of the things your Sustainable City Committee members are already doing in their daily lives to go green:
• Install compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFCs) for energy saving.
• Plant drought-tolerant species or California natives to conserve water.
• Use an electric, rechargeable lawn mower to reduce emissions.
• Print on the back side of scrap paper to save paper resources.
• Use a phone with a cord instead of cordless as it saves energy.
• Unplug cell phone chargers when not in use.
• Set your thermostat to 80 degrees in summer.
• Let your lawn grow taller and mow it less frequently to conserve water.
• Water plants early in the morning to minimize evaporation.
• Pack a “zero-waste” lunch to minimize waste and packaging.
• Install power strips with manual shut-off switches for electrical appliances.
• Purchase carbon offsets for your car and airline travel.
• Instead of bottled water, use a thermos or refillable water bottle.
• Use a reusable mug for trips to the coffee shop or juice bar.
• Carpool, walk or bike to work or the local market.
• Install ceiling fans instead of AC units.
• Wash clothes in cold water and air dry.