Welcome to the Sustainability Program's website!
What does Sustainability mean?
Sustainability is implementing projects and programs that meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Sustainability is about balancing the environmental, social, and economic impacts of our actions.
What does the Sustainability Program do?
The Sustainability Program works on financially responsible projects and plans that reduce harmful environmental impacts while also improving community health and well-being. Examples of the work completed by the Sustainability Office include:
- Lead a climate change vulnerability assessment and adaptation plan
- Perform recycling education for businesses
- Support renewable energy and energy efficiency efforts
- Track greenhouse gas emissions community-wide and within city operations
- Manage the Community Canopy (a free tree give-away) program
- Support the reduction of single-use plastics
- Support community composting efforts
- Support efforts that increase walkability, bikeability, public transportation use, and electric vehicles
- Coordinate with other local organizations on regional sustainability projects
- Support living shorelines and environmentally-friendly seawalls
Local Sustainability-Related Announcements and Events
June 17th at 1:30pm at City Hall the City Commission will consider an ordinance related to regulating polystyrene material among special events, those with sidewalk cafe permits, public facilities, and business who operate within public facilities. The City Commission will also discuss an "upon request" policy for straws on public properties. This would mean businesses could not distribute a single use straw unless requested by the customer. Businesses can provide an alternative to a plastic straw (such as a paper straw) but they must have plastic straws available for those who specifically request one. This condition is based on feedback from community members living with a disability.
July 10th at 9:30am at Harvest House off 17th street in Sarasota, the City and County will host a public workshop for a new program called Partners for Green Places. This program aims to assist local environmental and human service non-profit organizations invest in energy efficiency so they can save money to put back into their services to our community. Non profits with human service or environmental missions are welcomed to attend and find out more on how to apply for grant funds.
Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) is a tool for property owners to finance private property improvements related to renewable energy, energy efficiency, and hurricane hardening through assessments levied on their property tax bill by special districts established for that purpose. PACE home improvements include rooftop solar panels, solar water heater, energy efficient air conditioning unit, cool roof, impact windows, insulation, and more. The Sarasota City Commission adopted an ordinance setting the framework for a PACE program, and signed agreements with four PACE providers. Currently, there are two approved PACE providers that can operate in the City of Sarasota, YGrene and Renew Financial. For more information on PACE financing and its risk and opportunities, visit Sarasota County's PACE website.
Want to try and curb your use of single-use plastics? Visit the local non-profit Rethinking Plastic's web-page for helpful tips for businesses and individuals.
Red Tide: Algal blooms, including red tides, are natural occurrences. They are part of the complex life cycles and ecological balance of our marine ecosystem. However, excess nutrient pollutants, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, from human activity can disrupt the nature's balance creating blooms in our waterways that are more intense, larger, and last longer. Did you know that within the City of Sarasota you’re not allowed to use fertilizer with nitrogen or phosphorus during the rainy season of June 1 – September 30? The City of Sarasota has not used any fertilizer on public landscaping during this restricted period, but we know protecting our Bay and the Gulf of Mexico from excess nutrient pollution is a year-round job, and everyone has a role to play. With our area still experiencing heavy rains and with Red Tide still impacting our waters, we wanted to provide you with ways to keep nitrogen and phosphorus out of our bay by using sustainable landscaping methods.
What can you do?
- Watch the weather. Rainstorms don't help fertilizers soak in, they wash fertilizers away. Do not fertilize when heavy rain is expected.
- Use Florida-friendly plants. Plants adapted to Florida need less fertilizer, water, pesticides and overall care.
- Leave a 10-foot-wide, no-fertilizer zone (a "Ring of Responsibility") around or along water bodies.
- After October 1, it's required to use at least 50 percent slow-release nitrogen in lawn or landscape fertilizers.
- Skip the phosphorus. Sarasota County is naturally rich in phosphorus.
- Test your turf. If the problem is a pH Imbalance, pest invasion or disease, then fertilizer is not going to get you better dirt.
- Add compost to improve your soil and give your garden a boost.
- check out the Florida Yards and Neighborhoods Handbook for all kinds of great tips on sustainable landscaping.
- Leave grass clippings on your lawn after mowing.
Here are some local websites with more information:
Did you know the City of Sarasota has committed to 100 percent renewable energy community wide by 2045 and for municipal operations by 2030? This commitment was part of the Sierra Club's Ready for 100 Campaign. We have spent the last year facilitating workshops and identifying strategies. Check out the Roadmap to 100 year one report and check back often for updates. The next community meeting will be in January.
We are a proud Green Business Partner! We are among over 200 local business, non-profits, and governmental entities that are committed to resource conservation and sustainability.
City Sustainability in the News
- City Considers new rule on plastics Your Observer
- Florida Cities Are Most at Risk From Climate Change , Bloomberg article discussing Sarasota's vulnerabilities to Climate Change
- Mayor Shelli Freeland Eddie joins 232 other Mayors across the U.S. to submit a formal letter to the EPA to appose the Clean Power Plan carbon guidelines. - Climate Mayors
- Leading the Way: City of Sarasota a leader in preparing for sea level rise - Herald-Tribune
- City finds receptive audience for climate change - Herald-Tribune 09/29/2017
- Sarasota is looking more sustainable after City Commission Meeting - Herald-Tribune 06/19/2017