In accordance with City Council's goals to promote community sustainability through economic, organizational, and environmental resiliency, staff has developed the Sustainability Action Plan for Internal Operations which was adopted on July 21, 2015. The update and adoption of the Sustainability Action Plan is a key priority identified in City Council's Goals for 2013-2015. The Plan will not only aid in the achievement of Council's Goals, but will also elevate the City's internal sustainability performance through the implementation of strategic and systematic approach to enhancing organizational resiliency.
The City began developing a Sustainability Action Plan in 2010 following the adoption of the Mayor's Climate Protection Agreement in October of 2006, and the development of the Climate Energy Action Plan (CEAP) in 2011. The original Plan was intended to help the City achieve the greenhouse gas emission reduction targets outlined in the Mayor's Climate Protection Agreement and establish a path forward for addressing the emission reduction strategies and targets identified in the CEAP. As such, the 2011 Draft Sustainability Action Plan identified six priority areas: Renewable and Efficient Energy Use; Green Buildings; Transportation; Waste Reduction and Recycling; Healthy Ecosystems; and Management, Education and Outreach. Although Council reviewed the draft document and provided feedback at several Study Sessions, Council never formally adopted the 2011 Plan. Even without a formal policy in place, until this year, the City has successfully implemented several sustainability projects resulting in an estimated $400,000 in cumulative savings since 2007.
Since the development of the original plan, notable and large-scale changes in the national and world economy and climate have fundamentally alter the world view and refocused several key priorities. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) 2014 Climate Change Impacts, Adaption, and Vulnerability Summary for Policymakers, notes (with very high confidence), that "impacts from recent climate-related extremes, such as heat waves, droughts, floods, cyclones, and wildfires, reveal significant vulnerability and exposure of some ecosystems and many human systems to current climate variability". The City of Durango seeks to be a leader in addressing these challenges and recognizes that complex issues, such as global climate variability, require more than mitigation. Addressing these issues will require flexibly, resiliency and, more often than not, the ability to adapt to a range of future possibilities.
As highlighted in the policy statement from the Sustainability Action Plan, the City of Durango is committed to improving the quality of life for the citizens of our community by systematically, creatively, and thoughtfully utilizing environmental, human, and economic resources in a manner that maintains the unique character of our community for the benefit of present and future generations. The City acknowledges that addressing long-term organizational sustainability will require a coordinate and deliberate effort as outlined in the Sustainability Action Plan. This Plan will help the City achieve its goal, while making the City's operations more resilient to future climate variability.