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Office of Sustainability releases Baltimore's first sustainability report

The Baltimore Office of Sustainability has released its first annual report. Developed with the input of more than 1,000 residents, the Baltimore Sustainability Plan, was adopted by the Baltimore City Council in March, 2009. The annual report outlines the progress made to date toward achieving Plan goals and highlights the work underway that city leaders hope will benefit the economic, social, and environmental health of Baltimore.

The report identifies the seven major areas that define the goals of the Sustainability Plan: Cleanliness; Pollution Prevention; Resource Conservation; Greening; Transportation; Education and Awareness; and Green Economy. Each section includes a feature story that highlights the accomplishments toward achieving the goal as well as "Steps You Can Take" that provide citizens with suggested actions they can take to move the process forward.

"Sustainability becomes increasingly more important to us as a City, a State and a nation because we recognize that our global resources are finite," says Mayor Rawlings-Blake. "By making smart decisions about how we use resources, and involving residents in the process, we can save money, improve quality of life, and position Baltimore to benefit from growing investment and job creation in the green economy."

The report includes a feature on the city's Green and Healthy Homes Initiative that seeks to improve health outcomes for Baltimore households while saving residents money on their energy bills and reducing their environmental impact. The program, which has roots in Baltimore-based Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning, is now being replicated in cities throughout the country.

The benefits of the program exemplify the triple bottom line goals of sustainability; healthier homes lead to families with less asthma and lead paint cases, residents save money on utility bills and find jobs in green trades, while at the same time reducing energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions.

Also featured are the Harbor Connector water taxi service and the Charm City Circulator, recent expansions in Baltimore's public transportation system. The water taxi service from Fells Point to Tide Point averaged 200 trips daily during an 8-month period , thereby reducing traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions.

Launched in January 2010, the Charm City Circulator, hybrid buses that offer free bus service throughout Harbor East and downtown, recently celebrated its 100,000th passenger. Service extends to the west to the B&O Railroad museum and soon will include the Johns Hopkins Medical Campus to the north. These sustainable transportation developments help bolster the local economy by expanding options for employees to reach their jobs and for visitors to explore Baltimore, according to the city.

Source: Baltimore Mayor's Office
Writer: Walaika Haskins

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