Napa residents collaborate on sustainable solutions
By Chantal M. Lovell, Napa Valley Register - Jul 24th, 2011
The city of Napa began working on the community portion of its sustainability plan Thursday with the help of more than 60 residents who turned out to a public meeting.
The city’s sustainability arm, CleanGreenNapa, hosted the meeting, during which attendees brainstormed ideas as to what a sustainability plan for the community should include.
“There are a lot of good things going on with respect to water conservation, energy efficiency, green building and transportation,” said Jeri Gill, CEO of Sustainable Napa County. “A sustainability plan will connect all those pieces under one scope and make those programs work even harder for us than they already are now. (A plan) really talks about where we want to be, how we want to manage our natural resources and where we can contribute.”
Sarah Isabel Parriott, the city’s sustainability consultant, said the term “sustainability” means something a little different to everyone, and the city wants as many community members as possible to provide input to the city before staff begin drafting the community sustainability plan. She asked attendees to imagine what Napa could look like in 20, 30 or 50 years and then write key words and draw pictures of what came to mind.
Some shared thoughts of vast community gardens, others saw cars sharing the roads with non-motorized modes of transportation, and some saw a community that creates everything from food to shoes within its borders so shoppers can buy everything they need locally.
Any resident is encouraged to take a few moments to envision their future Napa, put their thoughts onto paper, and send a photograph or copy of the paper to email@example.com so Parriott and the city can consider everyone’s thoughts when drafting the plan. A hard copy can be dropped off at 1600 Clay St. in Napa.
Andrea Fox, Napa’s sustainability coordinator, said city staff have spent the past several months reaching out to community members through interviews and a survey on the city’s website, in preparation for Thursday’s meeting. Based on those efforts, they created seven preliminary categories the plan could address.
Thursday’s participants broke into groups and wrote down ideas concerning those preliminary categories: community connectedness, energy, business and local economy, local food, transportation, solid waste and recycling, and natural and built environment. Fox said the draft document could have other categories and may not include all seven preliminary ones, and the city welcomes additional feedback.
For the city, drafting a sustainability plan makes sense socially, economically and logistically, according to Fox. She said state laws “strongly suggest” cities will have to have some kind of sustainability plan in place in the future. By planning now, she said Napa can make full use of its Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant funds available, and brainstorm at a time when residents seem to welcome plans on how to reduce their impact on the earth.
“Sustainability to us as a larger framework is this connection between the economy, society and a healthy environment,” Parriott said. “Without a healthy environment, there won’t be a healthy economy because we all depend on the materials from the environment to have a healthy economy.”
In addition to the community sustainability plan, city staff have been working on a city sustainability plan. That plan, still in the works, addresses sustainability in the areas of energy, water, transportation, solid waste and recycling and the natural and built environment, Fox said.
The city aims to have the community and city plans completed by September and will be working with community members in the coming months to draft a document, Fox said. Because it is a community plan, additional input is encouraged from anyone who might have ideas on ways Napa residents can live more sustainability in the future.