Using Best Practices
Why We're Here
The development and implementation of local environmental protection policies, through the adoption of environmental ordinances and policies, has a profound and positive impact on environmental protection. The adoption of local Polystyrene bans by dozens of coastal jurisdictions in California, for example, has resulted in a dramatic drop in littered Polystyrene on beaches and in the marine environment. Likewise, the adoption of green building ordinances has resulted in dramatic reductions in natural resource and energy use in those jurisdictions that have adopted them. In addition, State legislators often look to the most innovative examples of local policies to help shape state policy. A well crafted local environmental ordinance can set the bar for state policy.
The development of such legislation, however, is time consuming and filled with unforeseeable pitfalls. In addition, Cities and Counties generally operate completely independently in developing and implementing environmental ordinances and policies. Re-inventing the wheel is commonplace and errors are often repeated.
Many small cities don’t have the staff to conduct comprehensive research to develop environmental ordinances and policies, and many large cities, which do have the resources, end up duplicating the efforts of other cities in developing policies and ordinances. In addition, city and county staff field many calls from other jurisdictions asking about how environmental programs, ordinances and policies have been developed. There has been no central repository of information that cities and counties can access.
Green Cities California's Best Practices Website
This website has been created specifically to provide the central repository of resources. The primary mission of Green Cities California (GCC) is to “accelerate the adoption of sustainability policies and practices through collaborative effort,” and this website is one way we are striving to achieve our mission. We want to share these Best Practices as widely as possible, and make them as easy as possible to adopt in as many jurisdictions as possible.
This website offers easily downloadable Best Practices already in place around the state in key environmental areas. Our hope is that other cities and counties will take the documents we’ve provided and modify them to suit their own jurisdiction. Almost everything you need is provided – the policy document (ordinance, resolution, executive order), staff report, outreach materials, etc.
Whenever possible, we’ve provided essential documents like the ordinance or resolution and the staff report in Word so that you can literally cut and paste to develop your own legislation. We’ve also provided these documents in PDF format. For the most part, we’ve taken the jurisdiction’s name out of the Word document, so you can just insert your own. Of course, you’ll probably want to change some other things as well; we’re just trying to make this as easy as possible!
This website is designed to serve the following audiences:
Large cities and counties:
This website is an excellent resource to access cutting edge environmental ordinances and programs. Large cities and counties will be able to access what others are doing, and will also be able to contribute their own Best Practices.
Small cities and counties:
This website will save smaller cities and counties a lot of time because it provides easily accessible cutting edge environmental ordinances and programs.
Engaged residents and non-governmental organizations:
This website demonstrates what’s possible in cutting edge environmental ordinances and programs. Individuals and non-profit organizations can use this information to convince local politicians and government staff to implement similar programs in their communities.
Although the initial version of this site was based on best practices in California, it now includes best practices from around the country. As of right now, this website can help any jurisdiction in the country expedite their research in developing cutting edge environmental ordinances and programs that have already been implemented in California and that have a proven track record.
How the Best Practices Are Organized
The Best Practices are organized using the seven thematic categories of the Urban Environmental Accords that have been adopted by all GCC members, as follows.
- Energy: Renewable Energy | Energy Efficiency | Climate Change
- Waste Reduction: Zero Waste | Manufacturer Responsibility | Consumer Responsibility
- Urban Design: Green Building | Urban Planning | Green Jobs
- Urban Nature: Parks | Habitat Restoration | Wildlife
- Transportation: Public Transportation | Clean Vehicles | Reducing Congestion
- Environmental Health: Toxics Reduction | Healthy Food Systems | Clean Air
- Water: Water Access and Efficiency | Source Water Protection | Waste Water Reduction
Please join us in accelerating the adoption of sustainability policies by adopting and implementing sustainability related Best Practices!
Last updated March 6, 2012
GCC policies have resulted in...
- Conversion of over 665 million sheets of paper to 100% recycled content each year, which saves:
- 10 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions
- Almost 80,000 trees
- More than 23 million gallons of water
- More than 6,600 barrels of oil
- 1,633,302 plastic water bottles from being landfilled, which saves:
- GCC member cities over