A June 6 Baltimore Sun commentary discusses Baltimore City’s progress in implementing the sustainability plan that the City adopted in 2009. The plan makes policy and programmatic recommendations in seven key areas designed to make the City more sustainable: (1) cleanliness; (2) pollution prevention; (3) resource conservation; (4) greening; (5) transportation; (6) education and awareness; and (7) green economy. The Baltimore Sustainability Commission monitors the implementation of the plan’s 29 goals and 131 strategies through the release of an annual status report. The Commission released its 2010 Annual Report on April 16.
The 2010 Report depicts an improving but still mixed picture:
Most of the 29 goals are accompanied by a quantifiable metric or measure of progress. In some cases, these metrics are measured against baselines set in the 2009 Annual Sustainability Report and we will continue to measure future changes against those baselines. In others, longitudinal data is already available, enabling the report to illustrate trends over time. As these measures indicate, many areas are improving; recycling collection is up, residential energy use on a neighborhood level is down, food access is increasing and Baltimore’s tree canopy continues to grow. Other data points paint a less encouraging picture; water quality still remains a major concern, code orange and red days were exponentially higher, residential energy use increased on a city-wide level, and trash and illegal dumping continue to litter our streets.
The Sun commentary argues that citizens, businesses, and government officials should all contribute towards meeting the plan’s goals and urges elected officials to support a proposed zoning code that will create a new farming zone within the City:
Local elected officials can do even more to support sustainability efforts through increased funding, stronger policies and more public attention to the issues. For example, the proposed new zoning code, Transform Baltimore, will support a new farm zone, making it easier to have income-producing farms in the city. And it will remove some barriers in the existing zoning code related to solar and wind power. The new code will come before the City Council next year for approval.