Super green, round two

Mayor’s Greenwise agenda mixes new and recycled content

Eight months and several pep rallies later, Mayor Kevin Johnson’s Greenwise Sacramento initiative is moving into its implementation stage.

Greenwise was certainly an organizational feat. Over months of meetings, the mayor brought speakers like former environmental adviser to President Barack Obama, Van Jones; New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman; and well-known environmental lawyer Robert Kennedy Jr.

Of the 100 pages of the Greenwise Sacramento Regional Action Plan, released last week after the mayor’s State of the City address, there are a solid five pages of acknowledgments, thanking everyone from the group’s “honorary chairs,” such as former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, U.S. Rep. Doris Matsui and state Sen. Darrell Steinberg; to the initiative’s sponsors, like PG&E, Wal-Mart Stores, AT&T and Sacramento State.

Kudos also went to the five dozen people with actual expertise who took time out from their day jobs at local government and regulatory agencies, green business and academia to help with the mayor’s project.

As for the actual product of the Greenwise effort, some of the ideas are original—like creating a joint powers authority to raise $100 million to retrofit area schools and make them more energy efficient. But much of the mayor’s action plan is borrowed from initiatives already being pursued by local governments and other organizations.

“I think the value of this document is that there’s now a shared vision. And it’s grassroots,” said Julia Burrows, project manager for Greenwise.

Among the initiatives that may get a boost:

The plan calls for 3 million new trees to be planted in the region—something already being pursued by the Sacramento Tree Foundation.

The action plan calls for 20 percent of the region’s food to be produced by local farmers and ranchers—borrowing a page from the Sacramento Area Council of Governments and its Rural-Urban Connections Strategy.

And where the Greenwise plan calls for a 25 percent of homes and office buildings to be retrofitted to be more energy-efficient, it’s really just acknowledging work already being done by several government agencies, including SMUD and the city of Sacramento’s green-building policies begun under former Mayor Heather Fargo.

The Greenwise initiative now moves on to its implementation phase, and the formation of yet another entity called the Greenwise Joint Venture. One of the first tasks of the Greenwise Joint Venture will be fundraising and marketing.

“A big part of it is marketing, it’s telling the story,” Burrows said.