4 min read
Posted on 02.28.13
  • 4 min read
  • Posted on 02.28.13

As transcribed:

Well, good afternoon and welcome to everyone. It is great to see everyone here at Lambert International Airport. Today we unveil the City's first Sustainability Plan. It is a culmination of two years of community engagement. This is not just a City Government plan; this is our city's plan. The Sustainability Plan is extensive. It is a collection of goals, specific objectives and direct strategies identified by people in the city of Saint Louis as being important to our well-being and our quality of life.

Some of the objectives will be achievable soon; some will take a very long time. Others are aspirational, but all of them will make our city a better place for more people. The Plan has three purposes: First, to make our city cleaner, healthier, and a place with less waste of energy and natural resources. Second, to create a place that knowledge workers who are coveted in today's economy find attractive. Third, to make life better and easier for all of our citizens. Overall, it is about making the urban core even more connected, diverse, vibrant, livable and appealing. It will make it easier to live and work in the city without being dependent on a car.

Over the course of two years, my staff and cabinet members representing various city departments worked with experts, individuals, citizens, and community stakeholders to imagine and prioritize what a sustainable city could and should be. We held workshops and public meetings. We took input in person and over the internet. The result is this plan. And there are not a lot of printed copies here today for all the right reasons.

We have a lot to build on. The city already has an array of assets. It is compact and located in the center of a metropolitan area. The city is comprised of numerous charming and vibrant neighborhoods. It is filled with creative, accomplished, diverse, and engaged citizens. We have the fourth largest watershed in the world and the largest watershed in North America, and one of the best parks and green space programs in the country.

We want this plan to be real. We want to improve this city in ways people can feel, touch, understand and measure. The city government does not have all the resources to achieve or even attempt all of these strategies by itself or at once so we have set priorities for over the next 5 years. We are calling them the Mayor's Sustainability Action Agenda, which is right over there. And that is Catherine Werner who is unveiling that now; she is the first Sustainability Director in the city's history. I will say a few words about her in just a moment. I've created an office of Sustainability to work with a City Green Team, as well as a Mayor's Community Council on Sustainability Implementation.

This fall, citizens can get further involved as we host the sustainability summit 3, themed "Implement." Everyone can do something. It may be as small as turning off a light when you leave a room to reduce your electric use; it may be as large as converting your company's fleet to cleaner fuel. We can all pitch in, and we must.

My Sustainability Director whom I just recognized, Catherine Werner, deserves a huge round of applause and thanks for her tremendous leadership. I have worked with Catherine for the last couple of years, and there is nobody more dedicated to her job or more passionate about the City of St. Louis and sustainability than Catherine. She not only brings a lot of knowledge and a lot of energy and passion to what she is doing, but she also comes with a lot of credibility. She knows a lot of people in the community and helped us bring a diverse group of organizations and people together. She really did shepherd this entire effort forward so we could come up with this plan and the Action Plan as well. So Catherine, I want to thank you for all you do, it has been a pleasure working with you. I am very excited about working together to make this Action Plan come to reality.

I just want to finish by just saying that Catherine is a person who walks the walk. She was involved in bringing single stream recycling to every single neighborhood in the city. When she came to my office, she brought with her dishes and silverware so we could do away with the plastics. She even drives a hybrid car when she is not using public transportation. We are most grateful for Catherine's work. Of course, we couldn't be here without some of our wonderful partners, some of which you will hear from in just a moment here. I want to extend a special thanks to our Vanguard Cabinet, which is an organization of our 20 and 30 something's in the City of St. Louis who have been working with me on many issues to help make St. Louis a more viable vibrant place for young people, and is represented here by a couple of individuals. They are doing a great job and are a wonderful asset to me.

I certainly want to thank Don Roe from our Planning Agency. He and his team have played a critical role in providing leadership as well. Thanks to my entire cabinet and my staff members as well. Of course, we couldn't get here without a lot of people and partnership.

Now, I would like to introduce to you Jay Swoboda and Whitney Sewell, two members of the Vanguard cabinet, who have worked with us from the very beginning, not just in coming up with ideas for the plan but helping us orchestrate an approach that was inclusive, meaningful, an effective. So with that, I will call on Jay Swoboda and Whitney Sewell.