The City Becomes a Part of New Sustainability Partnership
CLEARWATER, Fla.— Fifty years ago, on April 22, 1970, millions of people heard the call to protect our planet from pollution, deforestation and other destructive effects of increasing human pressure on Earth’s natural resources. That first Earth Day led to landmark environmental laws in the U.S., including the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts.
Today, the health of citizens and our economic and sustainable future is one of Clearwater’s top sustainability and resiliency goals. The city invites you to take part in celebrating our beautiful planet this Earth Day. Even though as a community we are apart in social distancing and following CDC guidelines, residents can be united in a love of the planet, the protection of it, and the future we share with it.
The city of Clearwater has a range of achievements from the past year to celebrate this Earth Day:
- The city’s first Sustainability Conference was held and focused on improving homes and neighborhoods through sustainable practices. Clearwater residents who also work as regional leaders spoke about energy efficiency, Florida-friendly landscaping, ocean-friendly lifestyles, composting, and more.
- Resolution 19-28, passed unanimously by Clearwater City Council, which supports the newly created Florida Gulf Coast Hope Spot. Hope Spots are recognized areas critical to ocean health and human communities. The Gulf of Mexico ecosystems and animals are central to the city of Clearwater’s economy and the happiness of its residents and visitors. Many endangered species, such as the Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle, Scalloped hammerhead, Blue whale, and North Atlantic right whale live along Clearwater’s coast.
- The city launched a successful Storm Drain Mural program, which was made possible by a grant from the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council’s stormwater education program. This program encourages residents to paint city storm drains with ocean-friendly messages. In addition to their artistic value, these drain murals serve an important educational purpose by addressing the misconception that it’s acceptable to dispose of trash, grass clippings and chemicals down storm drains. In the four months since the program launched, 56 murals have been completed, and more are scheduled for the coming months.
- The Complete Streets Implementation Plan was approved by Clearwater City Council. Its goal is to achieve appropriate, active and safe streets. By understanding how the surrounding community uses core streets, they can be re-designed to better meet needs of people who use them and support alternative modes of transportation, such as walking, biking and public transit.
In addition to these achievements, the city recognizes the amazing work that can only be reached by partnering with and learning from its neighboring communities. Recently, Tampa Bay municipalities have embarked on a sustainability and resiliency partnership: the Pinellas Sustainability and Resilience Network (PSRN). Together, these cities are working to develop shared strategies to achieve sustainability and resiliency goals and to address some of the most pressing concerns as a collective community. This effort will prove to be a collaborative, innovative group of local municipal representatives that will help accelerate the mission to create a sustainable and resilient regional future.
Committee members are uniquely tasked with operational implementation and coordination of the strategic goals established by our elected officials and state and regional partnerships. They are focused on practical implementation methods that are reflective of the diverse needs of our individual communities, guiding long-term sustainability strategies, embedding sustainability across the organization, developing science-based metrics and performance indicators, and generating a net positive and equitable impact on our collective communities. Representatives will communicate shared strategies, address local barriers and manage collaborative partnerships in a way that accelerates our shared mission while reducing burdens for individual communities.
Moving forward, this group hopes to include additional individuals. As critical strategists who help determine the long-term sustainability of our individual organizations and communities, this group will help to launch creative and innovative capacities and ensure the sustainability and resilience of Pinellas County.