Winter Park is entirely on board with trying to continue to make its city more sustainable. Their Sustainability Department has a mission to “To improve the quality, sustainability and aesthetics of our environment in order to create a healthier, more beautiful place to live, work, and play for today’s residents and future generations.” The most significant part of this mission statement is the last section talking about providing for both the present and the future. As a society we too often focus on the impacts that our actions may cause in the short term and lose sight of the long term consequences. The sustainability department seeks to address many of the Sustainable Development Goals; such as water and air quality, clean energy sources and responsible consumption. All of these facets are interwoven with each other creating for a complex web of issues. If you are not sure how you can help or where to begin, no worries. The Sustainability Department offers a variety of different environmental and sustainability event throughout the year such as: Earth Day in the Park, Adopt-A-Highway and Watershed cleanups.
Image courtesy of https://www.un.org/development/desa/disabilities/envision2030.html
Winter Park is not just settling for a periodic environmental event; they have actually created a Sustainability Pledge. The pledge is both informational and non-binding. The premise is to both show local residents what they could be doing to be sustainable and give the residents the chance to review their actions and see how they are doing in terms of living a sustainable lifestyle. The pledge is not trying to scare individuals away and shame them for their behaviors but to instead talk about simple day to day actions that when all is said and done makes a huge difference. The topics in the pledge are wide ranging, talking about everything from buying local food to limiting energy consumption. The beauty of the pledge is that for each section, there are multiple links to further learn about the environmental, social and economic reasons for making the change as well as links to programs that Winter Park provides in the hope of addressing each particular issue.
An example of a topic that is addressed in the pledge is waste management and recycling diversion program. Currently, Winter Park can send text and email reminders as to when your recycling and trash collection dates are in the calendar. Also, the website does a great job describing which items can be recycled and which items have to get thrown in the trash. Lastly, there is a rather extensive list of frequently asked questions and answers so that you never have to feel like you don’t know what you are doing. Regardless of if you are working towards improving your recycling behaviors or looking for innovative ways to improve your home efficiency, remember to glance over the Winter Park Sustainability Department’s information.