The idea of Green Your Routine began several decades ago in places all around our City. It began with neighbors teaching neighbors to recycle, children reminding their parents not to litter, businesses testing carpooling, scout troops volunteering for beach clean-ups, visitors reusing their towels, and hundreds of other individual actions that together began to make a difference.
Elected leaders, city volunteers, and employees were all a part of that. Environmental responsibility became a topic at meetings. People wanted to learn more. The culture of our City was shifting.
In 2009, the City of Fort Lauderdale formed an inter-departmental Green Team to take action within our operations. That same year, our City Commission created the Citizen’s Sustainability "Green" Committee (CSGS), which later became known as the Sustainability Advisory Board. The City Commission and CSGC approved our first Sustainability Action Plan (SAP) soon after. The initial SAP introduced five priorities for a greener government and 17 goals towards a more sustainable city. Working towards these goals would ensure that City operations, services, and regulations would be “triple bottom line” focused, taking into account fiscal, social, and environmental factors.
We are proud to say that every City department took action. We made policy changes to decrease engine idling, we passed ordinances to reduce water usage, we formulated environmentally preferable purchasing practices, and we built LEED certified facilities. We utilized grant funds to enable faster change, like the switch to single stream recycling and the installation of LED lighting in our garages. And we took on the responsibility to spread the word and provide the tools through programs such as LauderScape and SmartWatts.
In December of 2011, we updated our SAP to reflect new scientific findings and new technologies. We anticipate a progress report in 2014 and another plan update in 2015. This new one will reflect our links to regional and State partnerships. It will tie the plan more directly to our City’s strategic plan and vision, and enable us to streamline resource commitment and performance tracking so that we know our investments are working. Our most recent stride was to formally organize an Sustainability Division.
We Still Need You!
We know that you are interested in taking action too. Green Your Routine started with volunteerism, and it still needs you. So turn off those lights, and bring your own bags to the market. Plant a native garden, and carpool to work. Teach your kids to brush with the water off, and teach your coworkers to buy local. The more we can each lower our impact on the environment in small ways, the easier it will be for us to work together on big challenges.