Story by Adam Kwoh
Photo by Katelyn Hernandez
The South Pasadena city council unanimously voted to adopt the Green Action Plan on Wednesday, Nov. 20. The plan will address the city’s environmental concerns in order to prepare for the long term climate action plan, which is anticipated to be finalized at the end of 2020.
The Green Action Plan outlines five goals based on the Natural Resources and Environmental Commission’s (NREC) recommendations: making South Pasadena plastic-free, furthering the city’s water conservation projects, increasing organic diversion from landfills, mitigating the increasing heat of urban areas, and preparing for future sustainability considerations with plans like the climate action plan.
The city plans to accomplish these goals through actions such as the implementation of water bottle refilling stations, exploration of forming composting centers, and providing more education to the community on plastics and tree conservation.
Mayor Marina Khubesrian commended the plan’s environmental goals and actions, including the possible incorporation of banning single-use plastic straws with an ordinance in April — an issue pushed by South Pasadena youth during their climate strike in September.
“I know that the youth of this city have been very involved with the NREC… and in particular have expressed a lot of interest in banning single-use plastics,” Khubesrian said. “I’m very excited to hear that level of predictability in being able to get to these projects with the green action plan.”
Although Councilmember Diana Mahmud also supported the plan’s current goals, the former Clean Power Alliance member expressed concern over the Green Action plan’s lack of consideration for energy efficiency.
“I would like to see the plan amended and brought back to the council because in my view there is a huge hole in regards to energy efficiency,” Mahmud said. “This green plan is deficient unless you address energy efficiency. At this point… I believe there has been a net energy efficiency because there has been an advancement of energy-efficient vehicles and a concerted marketing effort to adopt energy-efficient fixtures… that’s the kind of thing that adding energy efficiency can achieve.”
NREC member and resident Bill Kelly echoed Mahmud’s concern, but assured that many more issues such as energy efficiency will be addressed in the climate action plan.
“I believe the staff’s plan is to handle [energy efficiency] in the climate action plan. Although I would concur with you for the need to marshal energy efficiency, incentive money, and resources here,” Kelly said. “I think that leadership in the environmental field starts at the local level… I think a lot is possible [with the development] of this plan.”
South Pasadena has made sustainability a main priority, being named a certified “Green Zone” in 2016 for its participation in adopting the expanded polystyrene and plastic bans and water conservation programs.
The city has also prioritized public outreach, hosting a public meeting in early November to gain feedback on the climate action plan.
The Green Action Plan plan will be adopted in January 2020 and last until June 2021.