Welcome to Oklahoma City, ICLEI's 600th U.S. Member!by Allison Webster and Ryan Foshee
Oklahoma City, OK, has joined ICLEI as our 600th local government member in the United States. We’re pleased to reach this membership milestone with the addition of such a key city, which is the largest in Oklahoma, as well as the state capital. It’s worth taking a moment to look at what Oklahoma City has already accomplished in its efforts to become more sustainable, and what it hopes to achieve, especially through membership in ICLEI.
Oklahoma City already has an impressive track record with climate and energy actions. For example, the City recently retrofitted its traffic signals with energy efficient LED’s and installed energy management control systems, ensuring that City heating and air conditioning units are operating efficiently. The City also converted a portion of its vehicle fleet to natural gas and formalized plans to acquire more hybrid and electric vehicles in the future.
But now the City is gearing up to take its efforts to the next level. It recently hired its first Sustainability Director, Autumn Radle, to coordinate its sustainability and energy initiatives, which will be boosted by the receipt of $5.4 million through the Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program. With Radle in place, the City joined ICLEI and is now in the process of formulating an energy efficiency and conservation strategy. That strategy will focus on the transportation and building sectors to cut back GHG emissions associated with energy consumption. By saving energy and fuel, the City will also save money and improve air quality.
In particular, Radle believes there are great opportunities for improving transportation within the community: “If someone wants to walk to work, bike to work, or take transit, it’s the City’s responsibility to help facilitate those choices – to make sure there’s sidewalks, to make sure there’s bike lanes, to make sure there’s bus or rail,” she explains.
Radle says Oklahoma City is excited to be part of the ICLEI Network. She’s looking forward to tapping into the wealth of knowledge that other ICLEI local government members can provide, and learning from the successes and challenges of other jurisdictions. “It’s really exciting to have a whole new world of research and case studies opened up as well as networking opportunities with other sustainability directors,” she adds.
Using ICLEI’s Clean Air and Climate Protection Software 2009 (CACP 2009) will provide a powerful tool for the City to quantify its current greenhouse gas emissions, and set a baseline target reduction goal. As part of the ICLEI Network, Oklahoma City now has access to tools that will enable it to track its success and share its sustainability story more accurately, not just to City staff and leadership, but to the community at large. To learn more about ongoing sustainability efforts in Oklahoma City, visit www.greeningokc.com.
By the way: Is your local government an ICLEI member? Find out here.