Is Springfield A Green City? Depends on how you define change

Oh you thought I was going to say green didn’t you? Here’s how the story played out in an article by one of Springfield’s best writers:

Springfield to use ‘green list’

ranking to attract visitors



Springfield made a top 50 list of the nation’s greenest cities for the second year in a row in 2008 thanks partly to construc­tion of a clean-coal power plant, plenty of trees and a smoking ban that took effect before a statewide prohibition. But will the No. 29 ranking by “PopSci” — an online edition of Popular Science magazine — bring the tourists in?

The state’s top tourism offi­cials, and Mayor Tim Davlin, said Thursday they certainly plan to make the attempt. “We’re going to put on a cam­paign this year. We should be doing a lot better,” said Davlin, pointing out that Springfield ranked 12th when the city broke onto the PopSci list forthe first time in 2007. Davlin said he believes the city could have made it into the top 10 last year, but a citywide smoking ban did not take effect until September. A statewide ban took effect on Jan. 1 this year. PopSci uses data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Geographic Society’s Green Guide to award cities up to 10 points for green uses of electricity and transportation, and up to 5 points for green liv­ing (parks and preserves) and recycling.

And now, the Springfield re­sults:

     Electricity: 5.3.

    Transportation: 3.0.

    Recycling: 4.2

.    Green living: 3.2.

    Total score: 15.7.     

No city earned a perfect 30. Portland, Ore., scored 23.1 to top the list, while Greensboro, N.C., came in at 50 with a score of 10. Joliet, 40, and Chicago, nine, also made the list.

While families aren’t likely to make a day of it at the City Water, Light and Power genera­tion plant on Lake Springfield, Illinois deputy director of tourism Jan Kostner said “green travel” is one of the fastest-growing seg­ments of the tourism industry.

But she said there also needs to be industry standards for awarding a “green” tourism des­ignation.

“One of the problems we have is there’s no gold standard for the industry. You can say you’re green when maybe you’re not,” said Kostner, who was in Spring­field for the annual Illinois Gov­ernor’s Conference on Tourism.

Tim Landis can be reached at 788-1536.

Tim writes more about the Environment and Energy Issues more better than anyone else in the area. But here is the actual lead on the story:

 America’s 50 Greenest Cities

Want to see a model for successful and rapid environmental action? Don’t look to the federal government—check out your own town. Here, our list of the 50 communities that are leading the way. Does yours make the cut?

In the international alliance to fight climate change, the United States is considered the sullen loner. But in the seven years since we rejected Kyoto, changes have begun. Not at the federal level, however. It’s the locals who are making it happen.

Note the not so subtle difference in the leads. President Bush sucks on the environment. Everyone in the world including President-to-be Putin knows that. You’d think with a name like Bush (think: beer commercial Buusssssssh)  he’d be better than that. But more than that – the question Tim asks is “how can we exploit this rating”? So what has to change? Well: 

1. Springfield’s inability to criticize anybody degrading the environment (by the way according the Pope it’s now a sin).

2. Understanding that exploitation is at the heart of the problem.  
< In everything from emissions control to environmental stewardship,  cities across the country are far ahead of the federal government, and they’re achieving their successes with ready-made technology. Austin has pledged to meet 30 percent of its energy needs with renewable sources by 2020, aided by planned wind-power installations that will surpass their predecessors in efficiency. Seattle has retrofitted its municipal heavy-duty diesel vehicles with devices that will reduce particulate pollution by 50 percent. Boulder has enacted the country’s first electricity tax to pay for greenhouse-gas emission reductions. Something about the comparative speed of city government—a city-council member can greenlight a project and be cutting the ribbon a year later—leads to bold action, and as cities trade ideas, a very positive sort of mimicry is spreading.The 10 trailblazing civic projects profiled in our list of the top green cities in America are among the most impressive success stories to date—examples of what’s possible when elected officials and local business leaders back up their green visions with scientific know-how, clout and creative funding.


Nor does Tim’s article mention what a real green city would look like:

1. Portland, Ore. 23.1

  • Electricity: 7.1 Transportation: 6.4 Green Living: 4.8 Recycling/Perspective: 4.8

America’s top green city has it all: Half its power comes from renewable sources, a quarter of the workforce commutes by bike, carpool or public transportation, and it has 35 buildings certified by the U.S. Green Building Council.

2. San Francisco, Calif. 23.0

  • Electricity: 6.8 Transportation: 8.8 Green Living: 3.5 Recycling/Perspective: 3.9
  • See how San Francisco turns wasted roof space into power, here.

3. Boston, Mass. 22.7

  • Electricity: 5.7 Transportation: 8.7 Green Living: 3.4 Recycling/Perspective: 4.9
  • CASE STUDY: Grass Power
    Boston has preliminary plans for a plant that would turn 50,000 tons of fall color into power and fertilizer. The facility would first separate yard clippings into grass and leaves. Anaerobic bacteria feeding on the grass would make enough methane to power at least 1.5 megawatts’ worth of generators, while heat and agitation would hasten the breakdown of leaves and twigs into compost.


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