Mayor Marks Earth Day With 30 Days of Sustainability Pledge

Better urban planning & increased density can help save our planet – Sullivan

Mayor Sam Sullivan and Councillor Suzanne Anton today marked Earth Day with a special 30 days of sustainability pledge. Over the next month they will introduce new environmental measures and participate in special events to promote green living.

“Better urban planning and increased density can help save our planet,” said Mayor Sullivan. “Earth Day represents an opportunity to renew our commitment to protecting the environment. We want to encourage all residents, businesses and community organizations to take measures that will reduce their environmental footprint and promoter sustainable development.”

Over the next 30 days, Mayor Sullivan confirmed plans to:

  • introduce improved EcoDensity Charter & action items to reflect public consultation
  • recommend Council support BC’s Bill 27 for greener municipalities
  • participate in community clean-up campaigns
  • promote Athletes Village as North America’s greenest housing development
  • complete green private sector partnerships in association with 2010
  • recognize youth achievement in environmental awareness
  • update UBC rapid transit line consultation plan
  • license more hybrid taxis
  • expand street cleaning services
  • update first phase of Downtown Streetcar

Mayor Sullivan and Councillor Anton also confirmed they will ask city staff to consider powering down city buildings each weekend as a legacy of this year’s international Earth Hour celebration.

“These measures complement our extensive record on the environment over the last two and a half years,” said Councillor Anton. “The land use decisions which will flow from EcoDensity will have a significant impact on reducing city GHGs – our most significant challenge. We are very pleased to see the provincial government’s recognition of this relationship as set out in Bill 27.”

Mayor Sullivan will be participating in the official “30 Days of Sustainability” launch at a special event this evening (7:30pm, HSBC Pendulum Gallery, 885 West Georgia).

Fact Sheet: Better Urban Planning and Increased Density Can Help Save our Planet

  1. On average, residents in higher density cities consume less fossil fuels. The average Houston resident will purchase about 2700 litres of gasoline/year compared to the average Parisienne who purchases about 450 litres/year.
  2. Vancouver residents cause 5 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions/year – compared to Calgary (17) and Toronto (9).
  3. The average downtown Vancouver resident emits approximately 1.5 tonnes of GHG emissions compared to the average Vancouver resident outside the downtown core who emits up to 6 tonnes.
  4. With the current projected growth, Vancouver will be nearly as dense as Zurich in 25 years. In 50 years, we will approach the density London has today.
  5. If everyone on the planet lived the same way we did in Vancouver, it would take approximately 4 planet earths to sustain us.
  6. In 2008, Vancouver plans to add a record 76 km of new bike lanes in the City. This year, Vancouver will pass a milestone of developing over 400 km of bike lanes within our city limits.
  7. Implementing the 1997 Vancouver Transportation Plan that placed a priority on pedestrian, cycling and transit improvements resulted in an increase in walking trips of 44%, bike trips of 180%, and a decrease in vehicle trips in and out of the city by 10% over the last decade (1997-2007).
  8. Over 70% of all trips in Vancouver’s downtown are now done by foot, bicycle or alternate forms of transit.
  9. Based on the 2006 census, 70,500 Vancouver residents took transit to work, 34,250 walked and 10,500 cycled. These actions reduced GHG emissions by over 100,000 tonnes/year compared to if the trips were made by car.
  10. Once the Canada Line is fully operational, it will provide additional transportation capacity equivalent to 10 major road lanes.