Named after the Roman god Janus, January can be thought of as the doorway to the New Year. But before moving forward, we wanted to look back and reflect on the past year. Here are ten of our favorite accomplishments from 2015:
1. Finalized the Austin Community Climate Plan for Council adoption by working closely with 65 City staff and community leaders, collecting more than 1,200 public comments, and identifying 130 actions that will achieve community-wide net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
2. Released the first State of the Food System Report, designed to offer City Departments and community stakeholders a coordinated tracking and reporting framework, as well as baseline information about the interconnected components of Austin’s local food system.
3. Awarded 54 Bright Green Future Grants to elementary, middle, and high school sustainability projects that promote environmental stewardship among K-12 students, as well as the broader community.
4. Launched the Rethink/ White Paper series to offer some of the best sustainability thinking from community thought-leaders to residents and decision-makers about Austin’s future.
5. Produced an Organizational Sustainability report card that provides four years of data on ten Key Performance Indicators of the City of Austin’s sustainability performance, including impacts related to employees, facilities, fleet vehicles, and purchases.
6. Completed a climate change vulnerability assessment of regional transportation infrastructure in collaboration with CAMPO, and the Austin Transportation, Public Works, Watershed Protection, Fire, and Aviation Departments through a grant funded by the Federal Highway Administration.
7. Reduced the annual City of Austin combined Departmental Carbon Footprint by 72% since the baseline established in 2007, and initiated planning for carbon offset purchases toward meeting the goal of carbon neutrality by 2020.
8. Established a Leadership Advisory Committee of community stakeholders for the Seaholm EcoDistrict to provide guidance related to EcoDistrict governance structure, public-private partnerships, fundraising and resource allocation, and implementation of EcoDistrict catalytic projects.
9. Conducted in-depth community outreach and engagement to develop a neighborhood-based food planning toolkit for the Rundberg area as part of a multi-disciplinary grant awarded by the American Planning Association’s Plan4Health program.
10. Delivered a City Council Policy Workshop to the new Council and Mayor on the topic of Resiliency that covered climate change and extreme weather disruptions, transportation infrastructure vulnerabilities, mitigating wildfire risks, and planning for economic and social resilience.