Working Together for a Greener Milwaukee
On April 22nd Milwaukee and cities across the country celebrated Earth Day, a national event inaugurated by Wisconsin’s very own Senator Gaylord Nelson in 1970 to promote awareness and appreciation of the environment.
Mayor Barrett joins volunteers on the south side for the
Project Clean & Green effort to cleanup Milwaukee neighborhoods.
As Mayor, I recognize that a healthy environment in Milwaukee is critical to our economy and our overall quality of life. I am proud of the tremendous strides we have made since then in making our city cleaner, and “greener.”
The once severely polluted Milwaukee River has become one of our great freshwater treasures. People can now fish on the banks or stroll along the RiverWalk. The Menomonee Valley used to be a place you could only travel through with an all-terrain vehicle, now you can bike or walk along the Hank Aaron trail.
On Earth Day, we take a moment to reflect on these accomplishments but we can work towards making our city greener every day.
After I became Mayor, I brought together a diverse group of more than 80 Milwaukeeans to make up my Green Team. These individuals from government, nonprofits, businesses and local universities have developed a plan to improve environmental conditions in Milwaukee.
In the last two years, we’ve invested in renewable energy to offset carbon dioxide emissions; City development has become greener by incorporating green roofs, rain gardens, porous pavement and other stormwater management into new city projects, like the Josey Heights subdivision.
In addition to creating the first Cabinet-level position dedicated to Environmental Sustainability, I’ve also signed the Mayor’s climate protection agreement to show my commitment to reducing green house gas emissions and save taxpayers money. I’ve asked that the City reduce energy use by 15% by 2012, a goal we are well on our way to achieving. Our reductions to date have already saved more than $35,000.
Just this week I appointed a Green Building Task force that will recommend policies for more energy efficient city buildings and city financed construction. City construction firms, like Pragmatic and Findorff, are embracing green building practices in their developments, and we are working with private developers to promote sustainability in their projects.
I am proud of each of these accomplishments, but there is still much more work to be done.
Mayor Barrett joins the Friends of Milwaukee’s Rivers Spring Cleanup of Jackson Park. More than two thousand volunteers turned out this past weekend to help clean the Milwaukee, Menomonee and Kinnickinnic Rivers.
We must protect Lake Michigan from threatening invasive species, and urge the Wisconsin legislature to adopt the Great Lakes Compact. We must continue to restore the Kinnickinnic River and revitalize the City’s Brownfields.
I want Milwaukee to lead by example when it comes to environmentally sustainable practices in our region. I encourage you to check out the Green Milwaukee section at the City of Milwaukee website. Click here to learn how you can be a part of our efforts.
With your help, every day will be Earth Day in Milwaukee.
Mayor of Milwaukee
(via city of MKE)