Mayor Manny Diaz of Miami and Mayor Greg Nickels of Seattle on October 16, 2008, announced the formation of the Mayors’ Alliance for Green Schools, a coalition of mayors seeking to strategically harness the leadership and creativity of mayors across the country to promote the benefits of green school buildings in their communities.
Developed in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the Alliance will work to accelerate implementation of programs supporting the 2007 U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) resolution calling for green schools for all children within a generation.
"As mayors, we know all too well that schools are the heart of our communities, as they represent the promise we make to our children and future generations, a promise of learning and of opportunity,” said Mayor Diaz, President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. “With this alliance, we are coming together and reconfirming our promise to the health and learning of our children, and ensuring that future generations are mindful of the importance of protecting our environment."
"I’ve seen the enormous impact mayors have when they unite around a common goal," said Mayor Greg Nickels of Seattle, who launched the US Mayors Climate Protection Agreement in 2005, which advances the goals of the Kyoto Protocol and now boasts nearly 900 mayor signatories. "This new coalition of mayors will shine the light on the countless opportunities to make our schools greener, our students and teachers healthier and our communities stronger."
“As first responders to the needs of their communities, mayors are the vanguard of sustainable development in our country,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair of USGBC, “and USGBC wants to do all we can to support them, especially in this critically important initiative. “We have Green School Advocacy Committees in 80 local USGBC chapters throughout the country, and we are putting them at the mayors’ disposal to advance opportunities, programs and initiatives that champion green school causes and help them publicly celebrate their successes.”
Together with Diaz and Nickels, Mayor Gavin Newsom, San Francisco; Mayor Will Wynn, Austin, Texas; Mayor Sheila Dixon, Baltimore; Mayor Frank Cownie, Des Moines, Iowa; and Mayor George Heartwell, Grand Rapids, Mich., have put forth a call to mayors around the country to join this effort to support green schools for all children.
“This new Alliance dovetails perfectly with Baltimore’s new Sustainability agenda,” said Mayor Sheila Dixon. “It also will provide more ways to support our ongoing efforts to promote the health and well-being of our students as we improve the energy efficiency and reduce the carbon footprint of our school facilities.”
Mayors across the country are leading efforts to deliver the benefits of green schools to their communities. For example, EcoMedia is working with mayors in Miami and San Francisco to leverage innovative public]private partnerships that create new opportunities for green school projects.
Other Alliance initiatives will work to:
• Develop and create public]private partnerships with a local business to allow schools to plant a green roof, install a solar garden, or start a recycling program
• Help school districts green their existing facilities through the Clinton Climate Initiative’s K]12 Retrofit Program
• Encourage state legislatures to create policies and incentives for green school improvements
• Engage in a national dialogue about green schools, green jobs and green infrastructure