Mayor announces new environmental office

Thursday, April 1, 2010 at 3:34pm

In 2008, Mayor Karl Dean announced a goal to make Nashville the “greenest city in the Southeast.” Today at Vanderbilt’s Flynn Auditorium, he lauded the creation of a new Office of Environment and Sustainability, naming Chris Bowles as director, to help achieve that goal. Bowles is currently an attorney practicing environmental law with Bass, Berry & Sims.

As director of environment and sustainability, Bowles will oversee the implementation of the Mayor’s Green Ribbon Committee report of recommendations completed last June, one of which was to create his office. If awarded to Nashville, Bowles will be in charge of overseeing a $6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to fund energy efficiency and conservation projects in Metro. Dean noted that green building projects were a focus of the city's grant application.

A greenhouse gas inventory in Nashville revealed that 5 percent of local greenhouse gas emissions come from Metro government. Of that, 44 percent is from Metro buildings. Dean wants to lower local government’s environmental impact by making these buildings more energy efficient and to set an example for local businesses.

Julia Green Elementary is the first LEED-certified elementary school in Tennessee; the Music City Center will meet LEED certification as well. In the private sector, he commended Vanderbilt University for its collection of environmentally friendly buildings and mentioned the construction of the Gulch, the first LEED-certified neighborhood in the Southeast.

“Obviously, this involves much more than just the government," Dean said.

Dean also wants to work with regional governments. This year's caucus of regional mayors, an idea he borrowed from Denver, was focused on the issue of regional transportation. Dean said he'd like to have a plan in place by May. 

Transportation is at the forefront of local environmental issues as well. The greenhouse gas inventory revealed that 33 percent of Nashville’s emissions are from transportation. Citing new light rail systems in Charlotte and Austin as motivation, Dean noted that Nashville needs to step up in the arena of public transportation. Metro government is working with the Metro Transit Authority to increase bus usage; a new circulator bus making stops throughout downtown is free of charge.

“People want to live in a place with a sense of community, with great parks and greenways, with clean air and open space”, Dean said.

Improving and increasing Nashville’s parks and greenways will be another task of the Office of Environment and Sustainability. Last year the city added 350 acres to the park system. Moving forward, recycling efforts will be intensified throughout Nashville communities. “The goal of public works is to expand recycling county-wide over the next few years," Dean said.

Bowles will have his work cut out in his new position; Dean noted that Bowles would be the only employee of the Office of Environment and Sustainability. However, Metro has already made strides in implementing Green Ribbon Committee recommendations through collaborative efforts in all departments. Community participation is another encouraging factor.

"Citizens of Nashville are interested in this," Dean said. "People have this pent up desire to do more.”

18 Comments on this post:

By: Magnum on 4/1/10 at 1:42

In 2008, Mayor Karl Dean announced a goal to make Nashville the “greenest city in the Southeast.”

Didn't I just read that public works was getting a budget cut which would result in the closure of 8 recycling centers...

"Today at Vanderbilt’s Flynn Auditorium, he lauded the creation of a new Office of Environment and Sustainability."

I've got an idea, their first project could be to figure out how closing 8 recycle centers is good for the environment.

By: TharonChandler on 4/1/10 at 2:09

This is great news and I offer my congratulations to Chris; Re: "Chris Bowles as director, to help achieve that goal. Bowles is currently an attorney practicing environmental law with Bass, Berry & Sims".

There is nothing more important than such work and nothing more inversely related to the profit economy. The task will need be almost like law enforcement, againt the polluters, and for ethics all proceeds collected from such lawsuits should be diverted directly back into the stewardship program.

Hey, Bobby Keneddy cleaned up the Hudson Bay; they say.

By: concernedtaxpayer on 4/1/10 at 3:33

This is the biggest joke ever. What else can Dean pull out of his sleeve. Dean wants Nashville to be the biggest green city by creating a new department while the city is already facing problems reducing the budget. Even if the department will receive a $6 million grant, everyone knows the department will also need additional money. And already this week Public Works has said they will have to close some of the drop off recycling sites along with two convenience centers and the mulch facility.

By: Equanimity on 4/1/10 at 4:16

A lawyer?

Dean is hiring a lawyer to run his green initiative?!!!

Are lawyers even capable of working alone?

And if Bowles is to be the only staff, exactly how would the $6M grant be administered and spent?

Lawyers don't build consensus. They represent interests. Lawyers don't know how to "green" a city. They litigate, and seldom have original thoughts of their own. Lawyers have no scientific credentials to "green" a city.

A lawyer?!!!

Oh, a lawyer. I get it.

"People have this pent up desire to do more.” (... quoting Karl Dean.)

Yes, Karl. More fixing your wretched schools. More resurfacing streets. More library hours.

Less closing of recycling centers. Less Karl.

By: Meee on 4/1/10 at 4:48

Uh oh, sounds like Agenda 21 crap to me. Check it out.

REALITY REPORT - Tom DeWeese on Agenda 21
http://www.blip.tv/file/3419124

By: Strider on 4/1/10 at 7:05

Healthy Living Director????
Environmental Director????
I think their titles should be "Czars" What a waste. More duplication to render a top heavy world of Stateists while the front line folks get swept out.

By: Myth_of_the_Nob... on 4/1/10 at 9:58

A focus on long-term sustainability and improving quality of life is mission critical to Nashville's position in a national and global economy. There are many citizens who welcome the Office of Environment and Sustainability, I am one of them. In addition to all the challenges Chris Bowles will face that are worthy of his time, he will also have to contend with a small but vocal contingent of shortsighted individuals that are hell-bent on delaying Nashville's growth and progress (see above comments). I wish Chris good luck and applaud the Mayor's efforts. You chose the right man for the job.

By: JohnGalt on 4/2/10 at 5:08

Way to go, nobby. You got the talking points right and the buzz words in the correct order.

Well done.

By: idgaf on 4/2/10 at 5:25

Typical democrap spend even if you don't have the money.

By: Strider on 4/2/10 at 7:00

Myth-Nob, you can count me as one who welcomes planning and design that incorporates good environmental practices, healthy living, etc. The point is there is already an infrastructure in place that is trained and practicing these things already that is stretched too thin and getting thinner. To hire some attorney to add another beaurocratic layer and manage a mere $6m grant pool smells of a wasteful use of diminished taxpayer dollars.

By: stlgtr55@yahoo.com on 4/2/10 at 9:19

And the taxpayers get hosed again.

By: Dragon on 4/2/10 at 9:35

"Funding coming from stimulus grants to city for green efforts"

There's one job created. How many more "Directors" can we add to the payroll?

By: DDG on 4/2/10 at 2:04

“Capitalism and communism stand at opposite poles. Their essential difference is this: The communist, seeing the rich man and his fine home, says: 'No man should have so much.' The capitalist, seeing the same thing, says: 'All men should have so much.'”

“Most people who read "The Communist Manifesto" probably have no idea that it was written by a couple of young men who had never worked a day in their lives, and who nevertheless spoke boldly in the name of "the workers".”

"Socialism is the same as Communism, only better English”

By: Equanimity on 4/2/10 at 2:46

Responding to DDG on 4/2/10 at 3:04, who said:

“Capitalism and communism stand at opposite poles. Their essential difference is this: The communist, seeing the rich man and his fine home, says: 'No man should have so much.' The capitalist, seeing the same thing, says: 'All men should have so much.'” “Most people who read "The Communist Manifesto" probably have no idea that it was written by a couple of young men who had never worked a day in their lives, and who nevertheless spoke boldly in the name of "the workers".” "Socialism is the same as Communism, only better English”

DDG - Uh... thanks. Drop by our planet again next time you're close, m'kay?

By: JohnGalt on 4/2/10 at 3:01

If you can't understand a post Equanimity just say so.

By: Equanimity on 4/2/10 at 3:23

Ouch! Smells like we got us a lawyer here!

The post itself is accessible if rather pedestrian Marxist pablum.

The relevance to this thread? Beats me harder than you.

By: Myth_of_the_Nob... on 4/5/10 at 1:49

Strider and JohnGalt,
Nashville is not the first City to establish and Office of Environment and Sustainability, in fact it is a little late to the game. There will be other grants and other sources of funding in the future the important thing at this point is to get started. If it follows the model of other cities the office will grow, and even though it is contrary to some individual's ideological point of view, this is a case where creating a new position is a good thing for a bureaucracy, more importantly for the citizens of Nashville. The problem is that the current "business as usual" functioning of the existing infrastructure is not producing adequate results. True, there are sporadic attempts at sustainable initiatives going on in various departments of Metro Government, without a serious effort at coordination these efforts are missing critical opportunities to build on each other. Other cities have recognized the need to create an entity with the responsibility for coordinating those efforts in order to amplify the effects. Further, this was the first recommendation of the Green Ribbon Committee which held multiple public input workshops, if you did not participate in any of those workshops then you do not have much credibility in being critical after the fact.

-MythOfTheNobleSavage

By: G-man on 7/16/10 at 7:40

What's with this society? Anyone trying to improve anything gets the s&@tballs thrown at him. Everyone's a critic. Well my faultfinding friends, just what is YOUR plan? Now go back to staring in the headlights. . .

Bravo Mayor Dean. Keep on keeping on!

G.

Aspire higher. . .if you can.