Assault on the Summit

Want a greener Truckee Meadows? Here’s your chance to make an impact in a few short hours.

The city of Reno will host the second Green Summit during which Truckee Meadows residents can help develop plans to “reduce emissions, improve energy efficiency, recycle, create sustainable building practices, use environmentally friendly products and contribute in other ways to protect our environment.” It’ll happen Saturday, Sept. 20, from 1 p.m.-6 p.m. on the fourth floor of the Joe Crowley Student Union at the University of Nevada, Reno.Nearly 400 people participated in last year’s Summit, and when you get right down to it, the results were striking, with local government taking real steps to make Reno a more sustainable community. That included such things as increased recycling (including recycling at all city-sponsored events); city-sponsored van pooling for city of Reno employees; policies to turn out unnecessary lights in government buildings, and a laundry list of other Earth-friendly practices.

“[In the action plan created at the Summit last year] the city staff pulled out 39 items that they could work on,” says Jason Geddes, environmental services administrator for the city of Reno. “Of those, 21 were accomplished. The rest have rolled into this year’s draft action plan and other items that have come up, and that’s the draft that we’re taking to the Summit. … Now’s your chance to say, ‘Are we going in the right direction? What haven’t we looked at? What should be a higher priority? What should be a lower priority?’ And it’ll just be that giant dialogue with the community.”

The 2008 Green Summit will update the community about what’s happened since the last summit and set priorities in the 2008-2009 Green Action plan.

The schedule, according to one provided by the city of Reno, looks like this:

1 p.m. Welcome statements by UNR President Milton Glick and Reno Mayor Robert Cashell. Reno City Councilman Dave Aiazzi will give a report. Rocky Anderson, president of the High Road for Human Rights and former Salt Lake City mayor will offer the keynote address. His environmental programs while mayor achieved a 31 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in Salt Lake City’s municipal operations.

3-5 p.m. Four concurrent breakout sessions:

1. Transportation: The discussion will focus on successes in the transportation arena, including Transit Oriented Development, alternative fuels, alternative transportation and public transportation. The group will also discuss solutions and future direction to address transportation issues facing our region.

2. Green Building and Guidelines: The discussion will describe successes in green building in our region, zoning changes to encourage more green building and the Sierra Green Guidelines created by the Builders Association of Northern Nevada that are used by builders in our area. The group will discuss technologies and incentives used in our area and future steps in expanding opportunities.

3. Single Stream Recycling and Plastic Bags: The panel will provide an overview of current recycling programs, options that are occurring in other communities, commercial technologies changing the marketplace, and progress to date. This session will also review the findings and recommendations of the Plastic Bag working group and provide direction for a best course of action.

4. Youth Programs and Participation: Members of the UNR EnAct program and the Reno Youth Council will discuss current activities in our region to get youth engaged in the sustainability movement. They will also discuss what new initiatives could be undertaken to get more youth involved or expand current activities to have a greater influence on policy direction.