This past spring, Woodstock officially adopted its first citywide sustainability plan. This is a significant milestone on the community’s path to going green, building on 10 years of climbing the ranks of the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Green Communities program.
The plan begins by detailing responses from the public input series, which guided visioning sessions and identified community priorities. In fact, many tasks and strategies in the plan pull directly from feedback received from residents through tabling events and online surveys.
The Sustainability Assessment in the next chapter measures greenhouse gas emissions and other metrics to track Woodstock’s performance and show how standard sustainability protocol intersects with community values.
As a result, the city identified seven focus areas to guide operations in practicing sustainability during the next five years. Within these areas are 20 goals that express Woodstock’s vision for a sustainable future.
Focus Areas, Goals
1. Energy and Building.
a) Increase energy efficiency of new and existing buildings.
b) Increase the use of renewable and clean energy sources.
2. Land Use.
a) Concentrate density in the most urban parts of the city to allow further conservation of outlying areas.
b) Maintain healthy ecosystems.
c) Improve public access to greenspace.
3. Water Management.
a) Encourage water conservation and efficiency.
b) Maintain healthy water ecosystems.
4. Solid Waste.
a) Diversify waste management options.
b) Decrease recycling contamination.
c) Reduce overconsumption and consumption of single-use products.
a) Reduce health risks caused by vehicle traffic.
b) Support the Greenprints Plan.
c) Expand other opportunities for alternative transportation.
6. Public Outreach.
a) Raise public awareness of and participation in the city’s sustainability initiatives.
b) Ensure Woodstock grows equitably.
c) Educate and encourage businesses and schools to adopt more sustainable practices.
d) Engage subject experts.
7. Government Operations.
a) Promote sustainable practices within local government operations.
b) Reduce overall environmental impact of city-owned facilities.
c) Ensure the continuation of established programs.
As a first step of implementing these goals, Woodstock is convening an internal sustainability committee with representatives from each department. This group will take on the responsibility of carrying out and monitoring the plan’s recommendations.
Along with local policy that places an emphasis on environmental and community impacts, the public can look forward to projects such as a nontraditional recycling center that will expand services and an online database that will increase accessibility to educational materials and opportunities to get involved.
By Unwanna Etuk, lead author of the Woodstock Sustainability Plan, currently is an education and outreach developer for the Metro Atlanta Youth Energy Corps.