Many cities across the country have launched initiatives to make their communities more environmentally-friendly. The Mayor’s Green Ribbon Committee on Environmental Sustainability recently submitted a plan designed “to make Nashville the greenest city in the Southeast.”

Nashville’s Green Ribbon Committee was created as a result of an executive order issued by Mayor Karl Dean in June 2008. The Committee, comprised of 27 citizen leaders with experience, expertise and interest in environmental and sustainability issues, met as a whole and in four subcommittees over a ten-month period.

In April 2009, the Committee issued its goals and recommendations to the City. “Making Nashville Green,” the committee’s report, contains 16 goals and 71 action recommendations, which fall into five main categories:

  • Build a culture of sustainability;
  • Conserve energy, reduce waste, and green our buildings;
  • Expand transportation options;
  • Protect our natural resources; and
  • Reduce greenhouse gases.

The goals and action steps are classified as short- medium, and long-range projects. For example, within the Build a Culture of Sustainability category, having public libraries highlight environmental activities and books during a focused time period, and identifying an “environmental steward” or “green team” for all metro government departments are ideas that could be implemented in the short term, while establishing a Center for Sustainability Education and Green Building Design as a public/private partnership is a longer-term recommendation.

In a City press release, Mayor Dean says, “The report provides a comprehensive vision for making Nashville a more environmentally sustainable city. I look forward to further reviewing the goals and action steps, working on an implementation plan, including necessary budget analysis, and ultimately seeing the results from the committee’s intensive work.”

Nashville has not stood still while waiting for the Committee’s recommendations. The Metropolitan Transit Authority recently added six hybrid buses to its fleet; the Mayor’s Office appointed a Bicycle and Pedestrian coordinator “to help make Nashville one of the most walkable and bikeable cities in the country”; and the City’s Clean Water Infrastructure Program was filed for legislative approval earlier this year.

Citizens and other interested parties can follow the progress of the Green Ribbon Committee and its recommendations on Nashville’s web site.