Mayor Francis Slay has unveiled the first-ever sustainability plan for the city of St. Louis.
Slay and his so-called "Vanguard Cabinet" of young city residents developed the plan with community input over the last two years.
It includes 29 immediate action items to be completed by or around 2018. Among them:
- A 25 percent reduction in city greenhouse gas emissions by 2020;
- Planting 16,000 more trees;
- A 25 percent reduction in crime;
- Open 20 new charter schools;
- Remediate and prepare at least 40 vacant properties for development.
"This is what we call a triple bottom line sustainability approach," Slay said. "We'll make our city more sustainable economically, socially and environmentally.”
There is no estimate of how much the plan will cost. But Slay's new director of sustainability, Catherine Werner, says most will come from existing resources.
"Part of the mayor’s commitment is to encourage, and require, frankly, the departments to set aside and use some of their resources that could be used for various things to use them in these specific sustainability manners," she said, adding that her office will also tap into federal and state grants.
Not everyone, however, was impressed by the plan. A handful of protestors at the event at Lambert-St. Louis International airport held up signs asking how Slay could consider himself "green" while taking donations from Peabody Energy and other companies.
In a statement, the climate activist group that staged the protest said the plan did not attempt to address the root cause of climate change, and announced an initiative to "end public money to fossil fuel corporations in the city and instead invest in renewable energy and sustainability initiatives to create local green jobs."
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