21st-century vision includes alternative fuels, recycling
Honolulu's recently unveiled sustainability plan is the practical "nuts and bolts" application of the principles outlined by our Vision for the 21st Century Ahupuaa. The goal is a Honolulu that is more self-sufficient and sustainable in terms of its infrastructure and operations and one that is more in harmony with our island home and cultural heritage.
This document is the first comprehensive sustainability plan developed with full participation of all affected city departments. It sets ambitious goals over a 10-year time frame and identifies specific programs, responsibilities and methods for measuring progress. Each department is represented on the Mayor's Energy and Sustainability Task Force, chaired by Mary Pat Waterhouse, director of the Department of Budget and Fiscal Services. The task force was created to coordinate, set goals, collaborate and work together as a team on sustainable operations on an ongoing basis.
At the beginning of this year, in my February state-of-the-city address, I was specific about the intent and direction of our sustainability and environmental policy. Excerpts from that speech include:
"I asked the Department of Budget and Fiscal Services to lead a working group to put the ideals of the 21st Century Ahupuaa into action. Specifically, I asked them to develop a 10-year plan with goals for alternative fuel usage, hybrid vehicles, co-generation of electricity, conservation and recycling."
And on curbside recycling:
"The voters made it clear in November that we should be doing even more with recycling. I am therefore proposing that we try to introduce curbside pickup of recyclables this year."
I am happy to report that my task force has performed with enthusiasm and competency and created an action plan that will help us achieve all of those goals.
Our new sustainability plan will help to keep our city among the leaders in sustainable practices, energy conservation and responsible environmental stewardship. Nine working groups will focus their efforts on energy conservation, fuel and transportation, material recovery and recycling, water conservation, watershed protection and management, agriculture, urban forestry, innovation, and education and outreach. The MESTF will continue to examine new technology and improve upon existing practices, maximize energy efficiency, reduce waste and protect the environment.
Our administration has a history of proactively addressing the energy efficiency and sustainability of its facilities and resources. Early in 2005, I made sure that Honolulu was among the first cities that signed on to the U.S. Mayor's Climate Control Agreement, a nationwide effort to reduce greenhouse gases. This year, the city was ranked 11th out of 72 major U.S. cities for its success with sustainability and environmental management by the Earthday Network. However, our work is still just beginning, and that's why I have formed the 21st Century Ahupuaa Youth Council to help recruit the next generation of leaders to help design and maintain a sustainable future of our island home.
Mufi Hannemann is the mayor of Honolulu.