Recycling Paper

Heather Drain recycles her mixed paper March 6. She is part of the movement to combat climate change by recycling.

CDP Worldwide named Fayetteville one of 105 global cities that is significantly addressing climate change in 2019 and can serve as a case study for other cities.

CDP Worldwide is a non-profit charity that manages the environmental footprints of states, regions, cities and organizations and ensures they are aware of their impact on the planet, according to the CDP. The CDP listed Fayetteville as a city on the “A list” for 2019 in February 2020.

“It is recognition of all the work that we’re doing across the city to improve the health for the community,” said Chris McNamara, Fayetteville sustainability project manager.

CDP listed Fayetteville as a case study to show that a small, growing city can set an example and be a global leader against climate change.

For CDP to score Fayetteville, UA workers and interns collected data and compiled documents to send to the CDP, McNamara said.

To produce its “A list,” CDP scored cities based on climate hazards and vulnerability, adaptation, city-wide emissions, emissions reductions, opportunities, local government emissions, energy, transport and water security.

Fayetteville sustainability employees have developed programs and plans intended to keep the city, community and environment healthy, McNamara said.

Fayetteville employees are expanding bike trails, offering free public transportation within the city limits through Ozark Regional Transit and expanding recycling and composting programs to make the city more environmentally friendly, McNamara said.

City buildings are running on 72% solar energy and city officials are planning more solar development projects to make them 100% clean-energy-powered, McNamara said.

UA Young Democrats President Billy Cook recognizes and appreciates that Fayetteville is making progress to combat climate change, he said.

“I feel a lot of pride when I'm able to say that Fayetteville has such a robust sustainability agenda, and I think the leadership of Mayor [Lioneld] Jordan has just been great,” Cook said.

UAYD members who fundraise and advocate in the fight for climate change acknowledged that the Fayetteville city government has been taking action for sustainability, but residents and elected officials can continue to keep fighting, said UAYD Secretary Matt King.

“We can take this pride and put it into further action because we can always be doing more,” King said. “There’s always more that we can do to progress action against climate change.”

Fayetteville sustainability employees are undertaking short-, medium- and long-term goals that will build a 100% clean-energy-powered government by 2030 and a 100% clean-energy-powered city by 2050, McNamara said.

“We keep doing building improvements,” McNamara said. “So upgrading lighting systems so they’re more efficient, window tinting, changing out heating systems so they’re more efficient, improving insulation. Just lots of behind the scenes actions that add up to a bigger effect.”

To continue improving the city’s sustainability efforts, residents can contribute on a smaller scale, McNamara said. The actions residents can take include driving less, using reusable bags instead of single-use plastic bags, participating in recycling and lobbying elected officials for climate action.

“You can advocate,” McNamara said. “It's great for our public service commision or our legislature to hear from citizens.”

On the city website, Fayetteville sustainability workers have listed small ways people can fight climate change at home, including swapping incandescent light bulbs for LED bulbs and washing clothes in cold water.

“There's a lot of effort required for the community to address climate issues and promote sustainability,” McNamara said.

The city has a 90-page energy action plan that details future projects that will have a positive impact on the community and the planet, according to the city of Fayetteville.

“We’re preparing for any issues that might be coming related to climate change or broader issues around community health and energy demands and trying to make sure we’re a resilient community,” McNamara said.

Abby Zimmardi is a staff reporter for the Arkansas Traveler, where she has been a staff reporter since April 2019.

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