The City of Calgary’s State of the Environment Report, released today, shows significant progress has been made on some of the essential building blocks for Calgary’s environmental sustainability. However, much remains to be done.
“In the past decade, the big environmental story in Calgary is how much our City has grown,” said Dave Day, Director of Environmental & Safety Management. “This has placed increasing stresses on our land, air and water. While growth provides attractive opportunities, it also makes us more accountable to manage growth to mitigate or offset these risks.”
The State of Environment Report considers long term trends affecting land, air and water resources in Calgary and highlights our progress and challenges. For citizens, the report provides a single, comprehensive source of information about City of Calgary environmental initiatives.
More than 16 City business units and organizations contributed to the report, providing a wide range of research and expertise. The report tracks more than 40 indicators that reflect the impact that Calgarians and The City have on Calgary’s environment. For the first time, The City is providing the report to Calgarians in an on-line format with video interviews with key experts.
“Many of The City’s environmental programs are intended to reduce our per capita ecological footprint such as water metering to promote water conservation, our green buildings policy to reduce emissions from City operations, and blue carts that reduce waste going to landfills,” said Day.
Since the 2006 report, Calgary’s progress highlights include:
- The adoption of an integrated Municipal Development Plan and Calgary Transportation Plan, which integrates ecological protection goals into the long-term direction for sustainable growth.
- The launch of the blue cart recycling program to approximately 300,000 homes and conversion of community recycling depots to no sort recycling.
- The City’s signing of the World Energy Cities Partnership Calgary Climate Change Accord, committing The City to support actions that will reduce municipal greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 20 per cent by 2020.
- The full commissioning of the Pine Creek Wastewater Treatment Centre in 2009 to produce the highest quality of treated effluent of any major city in Western Canada.
- A reduction of total per capita water demand to 406 litres per capita per day, surpassing a 2010 goal of 464 litres per capita per day.
Areas for improvement include:
- The city’s population continues to grow and, with growth, come increasing stresses on our environmental resources. Since our last report, community GHG emissions have increased by almost five per cent. To address this trend, The City is developing a community GHG plan to help citizens reduce their GHG emissions.
- Calgary’s overall energy footprint continues to grow as energy consumption related to mobility and goods and services increases.
- Although Calgary Transit has become the most common commuting method to downtown during rush hours, and walking and cycling have increased, Calgarians continue to rely on their vehicles for most trips throughout the city.
To view the report, visit www.calgary.ca/SOER. This is the fourth State of the Environment Report; previous reports were published in 1998, 2002 and 2006.