Staff Editorial

Cedar Rapids has promising sustainability plan

People walk during a march from the New Bohemia district to city hall in Cedar Rapids on Friday, Dec. 6, 2019. People ma
People walk during a march from the New Bohemia district to city hall in Cedar Rapids on Friday, Dec. 6, 2019. People marched in support of a call by Linn County Supervisor Stacey Walker and U.S. Senate candidate Kimberly Graham for a climate crisis declaration. Climate "strikes" took place around the globe Friday in order to draw attention to the earth's changing climate and its effects on humans and the environment. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

Iowa’s second-largest city is launching its first-ever sustainability plan, aimed at reducing climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions, improving water quality, expanding the city’s tree canopy and connecting residents to community resources, among other objectives.

City leaders rolled out the framework for the iGreenCR Action Plan late last week. Its initial components, we believe, look promising.

At first, its focus will be limited to making municipal operations the city controls more sustainable. Over the next year, the city plans to meet with business and industry, nonprofit organizations, neighborhood groups and others to set community wide goals. The City Council is expected to vote on the framework in January and officials intend to evaluate and update iGreenCR in 2022

Reducing emissions, energy and fuel consumption and landfill waste are among the plans objectives, as well as increasing the use of renewable energy sources. The city would have more trees and would address water issues, including water quality, flood threats and potential recreation. Preserving and reusing historic buildings, making the city more resilient in the face of climate threats and exploring public transportation options also are mentioned in the plan.

The city’s announcement comes as the Linn County Board of Supervisors recently voted for a resolution declaring a “climate crisis,” with hopes of sparking efforts to reduce countywide carbon emissions by 45 percent by 2030. By 2050, the county calls for reducing methane emissions, zeroing out coal-generated electricity and generating all power with renewable energy.

It’s good to see local elected officials willing to do their part to confront a global issue. We hope the ambitious goals and objectives set out in the county’s resolution and the city’s framework lead to specific, actionable proposals that expand into the community beyond government.

The city and county have each shown that can address environmental issues. The city has been a force behind the Middle Cedar River Watershed’s upstream runoff control efforts and revamped city stormwater fees encourage conservation practices. The county has protected natural areas from development and led the push to pass a county conservation bond providing millions of dollars for water quality and runoff control efforts.

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So it’s yet another good opportunity for cooperation. And we’ll need a well-coordinated local effort to make even small dent here in a problem facing the entire planet.

Comments: (319) 398-8262; editorial@thegazette.com

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