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Autumn Salamack
Assistant Director of Sustainability
Department of Economic & Sustainable Development

City of Bloomington Releases First Community Sustainability Action Plan

Bloomington, Ind. –  The City of Bloomington’s first ever Sustainability Action Plan was approved by vote of the Common Council October 31. This plan represents the first formal sustainability planning effort for the City, and gives the community an opportunity to strengthen existing sustainability efforts, identify and communicate goals that are both actionable and measurable, and establish a mechanism for annual progress reports.  

The plan is available at the following link:

“In light of the most recently released data on global climate change, the goals set in the Sustainability Action Plan become increasingly relevant,” said Mayor John Hamilton.  “We recognize that it is incumbent upon municipalities to prioritize environmental protection in crafting policy, whether it informs land use, transportation, economic development, social equity, or other issues.  It is good to work with a council and a community that shares a commitment to sustainability.”

The plan is divided into eight areas of focus: climate change and adaptation, energy and the built environment, transportation, local food and agriculture, waste, water, ecosystem health and City operations. A summary of current and past sustainability initiatives is provided for each focus area, along with tables that identify short-term goals, actions, timelines, partners and estimated costs for continued progress in each area.

The plan was developed over an eight-month period by Gnarly Tree Sustainability Institute, in coordination with the City’s Department of Economic and Sustainable Development and with substantial input from City employees and community stakeholders. It provides a five-year framework for Bloomington’s sustainability strategy that identifies both short- and long-term goals and actions in City operations and within the broader community. From February through August 2018, more than 200 community members participated in the development and review of this plan.

Community members developed a vision for sustainability that reads as follows: “The City of Bloomington, Indiana, will become a sustainability leader by working as a community to preserve our natural resources, maintain our distinct culture, build a diverse and thriving economy, and ensure a healthy and equitable standard of living.”

The City addresses sustainability through careful attention to environmental, economic, and social equity issues, and identifies linkages among those issues. For example, increasing access to affordable, locally grown foods helps reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with transporting goods, while strengthening the local farming economy and making healthy food more accessible for residents. While this plan focuses primarily on goals related to environmental quality, it was shaped with a strong view toward actions that can simultaneously improve social equity and economic prosperity.

“Thank you to everyone who participated in the creation of this plan. We look forward to working with community members and organizations to implement this plan and continue Bloomington’s tradition of strong sustainability partnerships,” said Autumn Salamack, Assistant Director of Sustainability for the City.