sustainability's good day

Sustainability

Susan Askew
Susan Askew

sustainability's good day:

commission advances initiatives

Sustainability is perhaps most often considered an environmental term, as in not depleting our natural resources. But environmental sustainability is integral to economic and social sustainability, especially in a city that depends heavily on tourism. Miami Beach implemented a Sustainability Plan in 2010 with the purpose “to improve resources, prevent harm to the natural environment, protect human health, and benefit the social, economic, and environmental well-being of the community for present and future generations.”
 
Among the guiding principles of the City’s plan: “lead by example”, “local decisions and policies have regional and global impact”, and “policies and programs that improve economic and social stability support the sustainability of our community.”
 
The City has been a leader in efforts to combat sea level rise, but other sustainability initiatives are also underway and, this week, Commissioners took steps to move them forward.

Eliminating gas powered leaf blowers: The City will begin to transition from gas powered leaf blowers to electric-powered equipment. There are 40 blowers in service now and, because an immediate transition was not budgeted for, the current gas-powered equipment will be replaced one by one as each reaches the end of its lifespan. The next step will be to include a requirement for non-gas powered blowers in the City’s green space contract to maintain right of ways. The current contract expires in March of next year. In the meantime, the City will encourage the contractor to phase out its use of the gas-powered equipment.
 
Mayor Philip Levine asked if the concept could be expanded to include private landscape companies. Item sponsor and Chair of the Commission’s Sustainability and Resiliency Committee, Commissioner Michael Grieco said, “Generally with these somewhat progressive environmental ideas, we try to start in-house, [and] get everybody comfortable with the idea.” Once that happens, he said, “The goal is we get there.”
 
Tesla Superchargers: Commissioners gave Staff the go ahead to explore an agreement with Tesla for supercharger stations that would be installed at no cost to the city in underutilized garage spaces. Commissioner Grieco said, “They are put in areas where there is less demand. These are underutilized spots and they are not Tesla-specific spots.”
 
The City has a non-exclusive agreement with Blink for electric charging stations but they are not ideal for Tesla vehicles as they can take up to 12 hours to charge a Tesla, according to Grieco, whereas the superchargers take 35 minutes. On the other hand, the Tesla chargers are not compatible with other electric vehicles. “No other car can use these superchargers,” he said, “but maybe one day they work out their technology and they can be adapted.” He said the use of the superchargers would “put us on the map” as forward thinking.
 
Greater sand sifting for cleaner beaches: Commissioners advanced a proposal for the City to do its own sand sifting – a process that cleans the sand of debris as small as a cigarette butt – allowing for beach sifting once per week versus once per month as is done now by Miami-Dade County.

The first year expense would be $365,000, which includes the purchasing of some equipment. The proposal now goes to the budgeting process.
 
Commissioner Grieco said, “To me, this is a no-brainer. This is one of the easiest investments, even if it just comes from resort tax dollars. This is a no brainer to take our beaches to the next level.”

Reducing plastic bag use in Miami Beach

Sustainability


Susan Askew
Susan Askew
sustainability committee suggests ordinance for sidewalk cafés

getting charged up at city garages


Susan Askew
Susan Askew
miami beach installing electric vehicle stations