For Immediate Release
Press Contact: Neal DeSnoo, Energy Program Officer, (510) 981-7439

BERKELEY’S GREEN POLICIES HIGHLIGHTED ON NEW BEST PRACTICES WEBSITE
Launch of Green Cities Website Designed to Expedite the Greening of America

Berkeley, California (Wednesday, October 21, 2009) - City of Berkeley efforts to reduce global warming emissions and save energy are highlighted and available for residents to review on an innovative environmental policy best practices website launched today. 

The website was launched by Green Cities California (GCC), a collaborative of ten of California’s most environmentally progressive jurisdictions. In addition to the City of Berkeley, members of GCC include Los Angeles, Marin County, Pasadena, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Barbara, and Santa Monica.

The purpose of this website is to help cities across the U.S. design effective, cutting-edge environmental policy by learning from the experience of leading green cities like Berkeley.  The site includes case studies of environmental legislation that will help policymakers across the nation avoid pitfalls and save time when working to increase energy efficiency, reduce solid waste, and promote sustainable transportation modes in the community. 

Local government sustainability policies can have a profound and positive impact on environmental protection and quality of life in communities. For example, California experienced a dramatic drop in littered polystyrene on beaches due to the adoption of polystyrene bans by dozens of coastal jurisdictions in the state, including the City of Berkeley. 

Berkeley FIRST, Berkeley’s much acclaimed solar financing program is cited on the GCC website.  Already this program has been used as a model for policymakers throughout the country including spurring new legislation in California and at the Federal level. 

As a central repository of green legislation, the GCC website will further stimulate local governments to be leaders in developing environmental policy.  By sharing resources and policy ideas around sustainability, cities can learn from each other, encourage leadership and reduce redundancy. In addition, the website will allow local residents to learn about what policies other jurisdictions are enacting and advocate for similar green policies in their communities. 

“Achieving significant reductions in global warming pollution requires that we share ideas across city boundaries and with other levels of government.  GCC’s new website will help Berkeley to show what’s working here and to learn from other cities’ experiences as well,” said Timothy Burroughs, Climate Action Coordinator for the City of Berkeley.

The free Web site – created by local governments for local governments and their residents – provides everything policymakers and advocates need to implement new policies, including the policy document itself, staff reports, background research, legal analysis, and outreach and education materials. Almost 50 Best Practices, organized around the seven categories of the Urban Environmental Accords – Energy, Waste, Urban Design, Urban Nature, Transportation, Environmental Health and Water – can be accessed now at www.greencitiescalifornia.org.

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