The Rapidian

A Watershed Moment: Grand Rapids, a leader in sustainability

Haris Alibasic, Director of Energy and Sustainability for the city of Grand Rapids, comments on how Grand Rapids maintains a leadership position in sustainability both nationally and world-wide.
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A Watershed Moment

"A Watershed Moment” is a weekly radio program focused on environmental news and happenings in West Michigan, plus solutions for living a greener life.  Broadcast on WYCE-FM 88.1 on Tuesdays at 8:30am and 5:30pm, this program is produced by Grand Rapids Community Media Center and West Michigan Environmental Action Council.

In this installment of "A Watershed Moment", the Director of Energy and Sustainability for the city of Grand Rapids talks about the 2010 Grand Rapids Sustainability Plan.

According to Haris Alibasic, the plan makes Grand Rapids one of the “most forward-looking cities in terms of sustainability planning."

The plan focuses on managing the economic, social and environmental resources of the city. A progress report published last year noted that progress has been made on 92 percent of the sustainability targets and 8 percent of those targets have been reached.

Sustainability projects in Grand Rapids include such endeavors as establishing renewable solar and wind energy resources, using geothermal energy at fire departments and installing electric charging stations throughout Grand Rapids

What makes sustainability successful in Grand Rapids is “tying the sustainability targets directly to the budget process,” said Alibasic.

When any city department submits a budget proposal, it must tie back to the economic, social and environmental targets as laid out in the sustainability plan, he added.

According to Alibasic, sustainability is a community effort. The city’s management of economic, social and environmental resources are successful because of the commitment citizens, local businesses and non-profits have to sustainability.

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