What is Sustainability?
Sustainability means taking proactive steps to protect Austin's quality of life now and for future generations. Sustainability is about finding a balance among three sets of goals:
People & Equity
Ensuring community health, equity, and cultural vitality.
Planet & Environment
Practicing conservation for the health of our environment.
Economy & Prosperity
Supporting prosperity and promoting jobs.
What We Do
Brief and advise City of Austin department directors, the City Manager, Boards & Commissions, the Mayor, and City Council about sustainability aspects of City policies, programs, and initiatives.
Oversee and coordinate activities with departments that accomplish operational objectives sustainably, including green purchasing, energy conservation, recycling, green building, resource and water conservation, greenhouse gas reduction, and environmental reporting metrics.
Manage the Climate Program and related actions to reduce the City’s carbon footprint and be more resilient to the effects of climate change.
Offer educational outreach on conservation and sustainability initiatives to engage the community in making sustainability a priority – at home, at work, and all around town. We seek ways to inspire Austinites to take action for a bright green future for our community.
Promote partnerships and work with community members, organizations, and other government agencies to establish sustainability programs and practices.
History & Accomplishments
- Lucia Athens, Chief Sustainability Officer
Chief Sustainability Officer
Lucia Athens is the City of Austin's first Chief Sustainability Officer. Recognized internationally as an authority on sustainability, she is the author of the Island Press book Building an Emerald City: A Guide to Creating Green Building Policies and Programs. Her forthcoming book is called The Sustainability Revolutionists.
Lucia began her career in public service at the City of Austin as a key member of the development team for Austin Energy's Green Building Program in the early 1990s. From there, she spent ten years leading the City of Seattle's Green Building Program. She rejoined the City of Austin in 2010.
Lucia has served on the Board of Directors for the U.S. Green Building Council, Green Building Certification Institute, and EcoDistricts. Currently, she is on local Advisory Councils for EcoRise and the Sustainable Food Center. She also has collaborated on design projects with the Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems, Rocky Mountain Institute, and U.S. Global Green.
Lucia represents Austin as part of the North American Climate Mayors and as a delegate to the global C40 Cities group.
Lucia has a Master of Science in Architectural Studies from the University of Texas and a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture from Texas A&M. Locally, she has served as a Water Efficiency Program Assistant for the City, a Water Efficiency Program Manager for the Lower Colorado River Authority, and helped to write Austin's "Green Builder Guide." She also helped found the Sustainable Building Coalition of Austin, which has since morphed into Design-Build-Live.
- Zach Baumer, Climate Program Manager
Climate Program Manager
Zach Baumer leads the City of Austin’s Climate Program, providing strategic direction to meet our city’s goal of net-zero community-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. Under Zach’s guidance, the Climate Program is responsible for:
- Tracking greenhouse gas inventories at the City department level and community-wide.
- Collaborating with City leaders to improve sustainability performance and reduce departmental carbon footprints.
- Monitoring advances in technology and changes in cost structures to continuously refine emissions reduction strategies.
- Coordinating with City staff to identify vulnerabilities and prepare for the impacts of climate change.
In each of these efforts, Zach strives to continue Austin’s leadership efforts in addressing climate change.
Before joining the City of Austin in 2011, Zach served as a Sustainability and Environmental Consultant. In that capacity, he collaborated with major private corporations and public entities to create and manage overall sustainability strategies that included calculating greenhouse gas inventories, developing tracking and monitoring protocols, and creating emissions reduction plans. In this capacity, he prepared a Corporate Sustainability Report for CPS Energy, provided a Sustainability Plan and staff training program for Tennessee Valley Authority, performed an evaluation of a carbon offset project for the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, and completed a Climate Action Plan Cost-Benefit Analysis for the City of Palo Alto.
Zach is a LEED Accredited Professional with an MBA in Sustainable Management from the Presidio School of Management in San Francisco. Zach is a native of Indianapolis and holds undergraduate degrees in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering from Purdue University.
- Edwin Marty, Food Policy Manager
Food Policy Manager
As the City of Austin's Food Policy Manager, Edwin Marty is responsible for advancing initiatives that build a healthy and equitable local food system. In that capacity he:
- Connects City programs, policies, and procedures that impact the local food system to create alignment and optimize outcomes.
- Engages with community members and organizations to inform neighborhood food system strategic planning and connect stakeholders with City resources.
- Serves as the City's staff liaison and food policy expert to the Austin-Travis County Food Policy Board.
- Works to raise awareness about food-related issues, motivate positive action to improve long-term health, and promote initiatives to strengthen community resilience.
Before joining the City of Austin's Office of Sustainability, Edwin consulted on numerous urban farm projects around the country, helped establish the Alabama Sustainable Agriculture Network, and co-authored a book about urban farming in America called Breaking Through Concrete. Edwin worked for Southern Living Magazine as a garden writer and was the Founder and Director of Jones Valley Teaching Farm, a non-profit located in Birmingham, Alabama. Edwin also served as the Director of a non-profit urban farm in Montgomery called EAT South.
Edwin earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Oregon and completed an Apprenticeship in Agroecology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. He went on to work on sustainable farming projects around the world, including Mexico, Mongolia, Australia, and Chile.