Nashville Celebrates Earth Day, Sustainability Progress Under Mayor O’Connell

Mayor Freddie O'Connell highlighted Nashville's sustainability initiatives at Earth Day celebrations.

Mayor Freddie O’Connell joined a large crowd Saturday at Centennial Park to celebrate Earth Day and the city’s progress on several initiatives that will reduce the city’s carbon footprint and allow Nashvillians to live more sustainably.

In the mayor’s remarks, he highlighted the following:

  • Upgrading of 6,183 streetlights to new LED technology. The upgrades will slash energy consumption by 60 percent, save the city $20 million in energy costs and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 36,000 metric tons over the next decade.
  • Nashville has been selected as one of 25 U.S. metros participating in the Bloomberg American Sustainable Cities program. This is a three-year initiative designed to leverage historic levels of federal funding to incubate and implement transformative local solutions to build low-carbon, resilient, and economically thriving communities.
  • Friday, the mayor unveiled his transportation improvement program, Choose How You Move: An All-Access Pass to Sidewalks, Signals, Service, and Safety. More than half (51%) of Nashville’s greenhouse gas emissions come from the transportation sector. It is the single largest sector contributing to climate change in Nashville.
  • Metro’s Food Scraps Program has reported sustained success. Launched back in October, this program provides free curbside composting services to 750 Nashville households for one year. In the first 24 weeks of the program, 52.2 tons of food waste has been kept out of the landfill.
  • On Tuesday, Metro Council confirmed the first 10 members of the newly formed Sustainability Advisory Committee. This group will advise the mayor’s office and Metro departments on a number of critical sustainability and resiliency topics.
  • Two months ago, Mayor Freddie O’Connell helped introduce Metro’s largest solar installation to date at Omohundro (on the Water Services campus). It’s the eighth solar installation from Metro Water Services, and this doubles Metro’s solar capacity.
  • Furthermore, to support our urban forests Nashville has dedicated funding both to plant and maintain trees. Metro has planted over 2,000 trees the past six months. There are now 43,348 trees registered on Root Nashville website tree counter.

“A more sustainable future goes hand in hand with a more affordable, livable city for our residents,” said Mayor O’Connell. “Improving our community by investing in our infrastructure helps us reduce stress and find more active ways to meet our neighborhoods. Investing in energy-efficient lighting also produces considerable safety benefits for people traveling by sidewalk, bike, or by car. Our work underscores our commitment to a future facing workforce with jobs and programs that will long outlast the work we do today.

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