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Vancouver Makes a Bright Green Future its Official Goal

Oct 20, 2009 - World Changing

Vancouver just released its new city strategy, titled Vancouver 2020: A Bright Green Future (PDF), and it's a bold step forward (as well as a flattering adoption of our bright green frame):

We envision a bright green future that couples economic prosperity, health, and happiness with decreasing greenhouse gas emissions. We envision less pollution and cleaner air, less machine noise and more birdsong, less pavement and more green space, fewer sick days and healthier people. We want to send a clear and compelling message to the world: prosperity and environmental stewardship can be partners, not opposing forces. We can meet the challenge of climate change in ways that will improve the quality of life for our children, and our children’s children.

The plan's central, measurable goals include:

>eliminating fossil fuels by 2040

>reducing greenhouse gas emissions 33 per cent below 2007 levels by 2020

>cutting water use 1/3 by 2020

>cutting the carbon footprint of the city's food supply by 1/3

>creating 20,000 new green jobs by 2020

>making all new buildings carbon neutral while increasing existing building's efficiency by 20%

>making trips by foot, bike and transit the majority of all trips in the city

>cutting solid waste by 40%

>planting 150,000 trees

The goals are very much seen as a competitiveness strategy:

“These are undeniably bold for any city,” Robertson said. “They’re certainly achievable.” Many of the initiatives are underway in Northern European cities, the Mayor noted [which] means Vancouver is “playing catch-up”. But Robertson wants the west-coast metropolis to be a world leader in green urban strategies within one generation.

The gauntlet is thrown. Well done, Vancouver!