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.
How does a mid-size city become a national leader in sustainability?
For the past 10 years, the city of Riverside has taken great strides toward becoming a greener and more sustainable place to live. These efforts were launched in 2001 when the city began using light-emitting diodes in all city traffic lights, cutting energy costs and making the signals more visible. This was also the year Riverside Public Utilities installed solar panels at its Utilities Operation Center and started its Tree Power shade tree giveaway program. Since then, we’ve given away more than 100,000 trees.
These innovative projects convinced city leaders and residents that more could be done to make Riverside a greener place, and as word of our success spread, local support poured in.
A few years - and a few major green achievements - later, Mayor Ron Loveridge asked community members Bill Warkentin and Jane Block to head the city’s new Clean & Green Taskforce and develop a policy statement that would highlight Riverside’s need for sustainable practices. The task force responded with the 2007 Sustainability Policy Statement (SPS), a seminal document with eight categories: Save Water, Keep it Clean, Make it Solar, Make it Shady, Clean the Air, Save Fuel, Make it Smart and Build Green. Later that year, the SPS was officially adopted by Riverside’s city council.
The SPS gave way to the task force’s Green Action Plan, a robust strategy designed to show city officials and residents how go green in the areas of: Energy, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Waste, Urban Design, Urban Nature, Transportation and Water.
This impressive work led to the formation of the Green Accountability Performance (GAP) Committee, a group of dedicated volunteers that together ensure the successful implementation of the Green Action Plan.
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Riverside Public Utilities offers school programs for 4th and 5th graders.