Have you wondered what the City of Albuquerque is doing to support sustainability? The Sustainability Office is leading the city government’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while growing our economy and protecting residents’ health.
What does the Sustainability Office do?
The Sustainability Office was created by Mayor Keller in 2019 and is housed in the Environmental Health Department. The office focuses on implementing projects and policies to equitably address climate change and environmental impacts across Albuquerque. One of the office’s major undertakings includes the development of the 2021 Climate Action Plan (CAP), whose core authors are 19 task force members representing frontline communities in Albuquerque. The 2021 CAP includes 50 strategies organized into seven categories. It is both a response to City Resolution R-19-187’s declaration of a climate emergency and an update of the city’s 2009 Climate Plan.
The office is headed by Sustainability Officer Kelsey Rader and has expanded to include Sustainability Specialist Denise Gonzalez, Sustainable Transportation Specialist Albert Lee and Sustainable Waste Specialist Sandra West. These staff members help implement the 2021 CAP goals and track progress for the public while taking guidance from community members. The office detailed recent progress in the first-ever CAP Implementation Report, which describes projects such as the expansion of publicly accessible, city-owned electric vehicle (EV) charging stations from two charging ports (aka plugs) to 36 ports as of July 2022. Other recent sustainability wins for Albuquerque include:
- Achieving 100% municipal renewable energy use by 2025 (only 12% remaining!)
- Reducing the City’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by over 25 percent below 2005 levels by 2025
- Exploring more equitable approaches to heat resilience and combating climate change
- Planting 100,000 trees
What is the Sustainability Office working on now?
The Sustainability Office’s staff is looking forward to a year full of progress and new projects. For example, the office recently released heat-impact data collected in collaboration with NASA. The data will help staff decide where siting projects are most needed and better understanding the impact of heat-mitigation projects. In the transportation sector, residents can look forward to hearing more about EV rideshares and public transit access. In terms of waste reduction, the office is focusing on reducing food loss and waste and supporting community composting. Learn more about the Sustainability Office’s work.
Why are partners including the Water Authority important?
The success of citywide initiatives and goals rely on collaborations with partner organizations and support from the community. The Water Authority is a particularly important partner as water and waste are an integral part of many sustainability initiatives, including the mayor’s tree planting goal. The work that residents, the Water Authority, other like-minded organizations and the city are doing to reduce water waste and strategically utilize water in our homes and landscapes is an integral part of creating a healthy, resilient and equitable Albuquerque for all.
How can I stay informed or get involved?
To hear updates directly from the Sustainability Office, sign up for the Sustainability Office newsletter by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The office wants to hear from residents during quarterly CAP community engagement meetings and public surveys and is now asking for input on public transit and traffic safety issues. To share your input, please complete the survey this month (available in English and Spanish) and encourage your friends and neighbors to do the same. For those who want to dive into more information, please explore resources on the city’s website at www.cabq.gov/sustainability.
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