Riverside is the 12th largest city in California and home to more than 300,000 people with diverse cultures and traditions. Our city is home to several prestigious universities and is made up of more than two dozen unique neighborhoods. More than 100 years after its founding, Riverside still honors its strong heritage and takes great care to preserve its natural resources.
Over the past decade, Riverside has taken great strides in becoming a leader in urban sustainability, and as a result, our city has accomplished a long list of green goals. From our hydrogen fueling stations to our many solar rooftops, we're more than just green - we're emerald.
To uphold Riverside's long-term commitment to going green, Mayor Ron Loveridge assembled the city's Clean & Green Task Force in 2005. Led by community members Bill Warkentin and Jane Block, the task force gathered regularly to help guide Riverside on its path toward greater sustainability.
In 2007, the task force created a green visioning statement, one that would inform residents of Riverside's existing sustainability resources, build on the policies of the city's General Plan, ensure that the new green guidelines would be followed, provide a framework for sustainability pilot projects, and initiate partnerships among regional agencies and nearby cities.
Calling it the Sustainability Policy Statement (SPS), the task force's new document featured eight main categories: Save Water, Keep it Clean, Make it Solar, Make it Shady, Clean the Air, Save Fuel, Make it Smart and Build Green. Not long after the policy statement had been approved and adopted by the Riverside City Council, the task force embarked on the creation of a guidebook, one that would tie specific tasks to the policies of the SPS. Calling it the Green Action Plan, the guidebook focused on seven key areas of city life: Energy, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Waste, Urban Design, Urban Nature, Transportation and Water.
To ensure that the tasks of the Green Action Plan would be carried out successfully, the city formed a Green Accountability Performance (GAP) Committee, and within just two years nearly each of the plan's 38 tasks had been accomplished. As for the waste diversion goals of the plan, the GAP Committee began working with California's Department of Conservation (CDC) on its highly effective recycling program. Thanks to this partnership, Riverside now diverts more than half of the city's waste away from landfills.
Another outcome of our partnership with the CDC was the reimagining of the Green Action Plan, leading to bigger goals and a new focus area - Healthy Communities. Riverside’s implementation of this robust plan led to our 2009 designation by the CDC as an Emerald City, an honor that has gained this town national acclaim.
With its eighth focus area, 19 goals and more than 50 tasks, the latest Green Action Plan establishes a clear path to sustainability and reducing our shared ecological footprint. More than that, it's a living document that reflects the growth of the green movement, the progression of renewable energy, and the fresh ideas of the GAP Committee.
We encourage you to join us as we move ahead with our green plans for Riverside.
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Riverside Public Utilities offers school programs for 4th and 5th graders.