What is an Eco-City?
- City’s 21st Annual Alexandria Earth Day a Success!
More than 2400 residents, students, families, business owners, and exhibitors attended the City of Alexandria’s 21st annual Alexandria Earth Day and Arbor Day celebration at Ben Brenman Park on Saturday, April 26, making it one of the City’s most successful Earth Day events to date!
Sponsored by the City’s Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities (RPCA), the Department of Transportation and Environmental Services (T&ES), and the Alexandria Environmental Policy Commission (EPC), this year’s theme was "Are You an Eco-Citizen?” highlighted by the fourth annual Upcycling Showcase. The showcase featured students from Alexandria City Public Schools, who modeled fashions created from upcycled materials. The showcase also highlighted music, dance, literature and visual arts produced by the students.
Exhibitors included City agencies and organizations dedicated to protecting public health and the environment. Exhibitors provided environmental educational activities for the whole family. On display at the event were a hybrid Trolley, an electric car fueled by energy generated from the Covanta Energy-from-Waste facility, and other green vehicles. Additional activities included the Annual Earth Day Tree Sale and the Arbor Day tree planting. Live music was performed by local Alexandria band Fuse Box.
Alexandria Renew Enterprises and the Alexandria Environmental Policy Commission awarded the UpCycle Creative Reuse Center with the Ellen Pickering Environmental Excellence Award. The award is named in honor of the late Ellen Pickering and her lifelong dedication to City preservation and conservation. A tree was also planted in Fidler’s honor.
For additional information on the Alexandria Earth Day event, visit http://alexandriava.gov/EarthDay.
- 26th Annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup
The 26th Annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup was a success! On Saturday, April 5th, the City's Transportation and Environmental Services (T&ES),Office of Environmental Quality (OEQ) and Solid Waste Division, in conjunction with the Alice Ferguson Foundation, hosted two cleanup sites in Alexandria at Four Mile Run Park:
Thanks to the more than 90 volunteers who came out to participate in the event, 110 bags of trash and more than 50 pounds of loose bulk trash were collected and removed from Four Mile Run! Residents, families, scouts, students and local businesses all joined forces and came out to support the event. Some of the many interesting items found include: fire extinguisher, grocery cart, fishing pole, and dozens of tennis balls.
- End of 3700 Commonwealth Avenue
- 4131 Mt. Vernon Avenue (on the right before crossing Four Mile Run)
The Alice Ferguson Foundation created the watershed-wide cleanup in 1989 and has overseen the collection of well over 5 million pounds of trash. This year alone, 7,791 volunteers at 251 sites in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. collected 161 tons of trash, including 595 tires, 108,850 recyclable bottles, 29,200 plastic bags, and 15,300 cigarette butts.You can visit the Potomac River Watershed Cleanup webpage to find out more information about the annual event.
Eco-Cities are places where people can live healthier and economically productive lives while reducing their impact on the environment. They work to harmonize existing policies, regional realities, and economic and business markets with their natural resources and environmental assets. Eco-Cities strive to engage all citizens in collaborative and transparent decision making, while being mindful of social equity concerns.
What is Eco-City Alexandria?
Early in 2007, under the Mayor and City Council's direction, the City of Alexandria partnered with Virginia Tech's Department of Urban Affairs and Planning located in Alexandria to develop a new and holistic strategic environmental planning process called Eco-City Alexandria. The ultimate goal was to create an Eco-City Charter and Environmental Action Plan to guide Alexandria toward environmental sustainability. The Alexandria Environmental Policy Commission, a Council-appointed volunteering group of 13 citizens with expertise and interest in the environmental field, is the project's principal advisor along with representatives from Alexandria City Council and City Staff. The Director of the City's Office of Environmental Quality serves as the City's project manager.
In 2007, the Eco-City Alexandria team conducted an inventory of existing City programs to create "Eco-City Alexandria: A Green-Ventory of City Environmental Policies, Plans and Programs". In addition, Virginia Tech examined best practices from across the country and abroad to create a Compendium of Model Programs and Practices.
In 2008, the project team focused on the development of an Eco-City Charter. An extensive public outreach campaign was devised to ensure that the Charter reflects the wishes and priorities of the citizens. A successful Eco-City Café was held to obtain public inputs required for the development of a draft Charter. This draft Charter was then released for public comment at the following annual Alexandria Earth Day. A very successful Eco-City Summit was then held to get additional public feedback on the draft Charter. The keynote speaker for this summit was Mayor Bob Harvey of the City of Waitakere, New Zealand, a pioneer of Eco-City and sustainability. The Eco-City Charter, one of the first of its kind in the country, was unanimously adopted by City Council in June 2008. This Charter encompasses the core values and ten guiding principles which is the basis for the Environmental Action Plan.
The Environmental Action Plan 2030 (EAP 2030) was adopted by City Council in June 2009 and follows the guiding principles outlined in the Eco-City Charter. It serves as a road map for City leaders and residents to implement the Eco-City Charter. The EAP 2030 outlines 48 goals, 50 targets and 353 actions for the next 20 years to lead the City towards environmental sustainability.
What is Sustainability?
Sustainability is progress that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The central goal of sustainability is to provide the best outcomes for the human and natural worlds.
A sustainable community is an environmentally, economically, and socially healthy place where people can live, work and play for decades to come:
- Ecological sustainability ensures that all parts of the natural and built environments work together as a single ecological system.
- Economic sustainability ensures a healthy economy that supports and sustains people and the environment in which they live over the long-term.
- Social sustainability ensures that a community meets residents' basic health and social needs and has the resiliency to prevent and/or address problems in the future.
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