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Environmental Sustainability Vision

In January 2006, City Council adopted the Focus on Longmont plan, which incorporated input from the community, and identified “Enhance the Natural Environment” as a major policy direction. This policy states that improving and sustaining our environment are key elements of a sustainable community.

To be a sustainable community we must be able to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. We all rely on environmental resources and ecological services to meet our needs and to sustain our quality of life. This includes not just environmental needs but also the economic and social needs of a community.

The shift to sustainability management seeks to balance economic growth, community social development, and environmental conservation while anticipating and accommodating the needs of current and future residents. The consideration of economic, environmental and social aspects is often referred to as “triple bottom line” analysis. This approach requires a wide range of topics to be addressed and the interconnections between issues identified. These interconnections allow mutually beneficial actions to be encouraged and negative consequences to be avoided or mitigated.

The City acknowledges that environmental resources and services are limited and have a finite carrying capacity. For our community to be sustainable, we must enhance the environment while harvesting the resources we need in a sustainable manner. If we don’t comply with these principles of sustainability we risk damaging the ability of the environment to sustain our quality of life.

The main strategies that the City can use to influence sustainability include the following:

• Reduce energy and water use
• Provide renewable and alternative energy sources
• Recycle and reuse materials to minimize waste and pollution associated with production and disposal
• Protect open space to preserve wildlife habitat
• Utilize land use controls to protect and preserve environmental resources
• Provide a water supply to meet the needs of people and their environment
• Reduce emissions of air and water pollutants
• Promote local agriculture

Council decided that the City should move ahead with a broad range of initiatives and programs to further the intent of Focus on Longmont policies and at the 2007 retreat directed staff to pursue activities in the following areas:

• Energy efficiency/conservation
• Green build program
• Watershed protection
• Stream restoration
• Stormwater quality
• Water Conservation
• Enhanced recycling programs
• Continuation and use of open space tax funds