S.F. Environment Conference for World's Mayors Will be a Hands-On Experience in Green Cities Living
Workshops and Tours To Focus on Real-Life Examples
San Francisco – Mayors from around the world participating in the UN World Environment Day conference here in June will see first-hand examples of how environmentally sound policies can be – or need to be – carried out.
On the eve of Earth Day, organizers of the World Environment Day conference announced that the mayors will break into working groups each day as they prepare to adopt a set of Urban Environmental Accords, which will provide a roadmap for environmental improvements in cities. The seven environmental categories covered by the accords are: urban design, transportation, energy, open space, recycling, health, and water.
"This will be the first United Nations conference to focus on urban environment," said Mayor Gavin Newsom, who is the host of the June 1-5 conference. "The accords that we mayors sign will leave a legacy that advances environmental wellbeing for cities around the world."
The working groups of mayors leading to the accords will tour Bay Area locations that show the challenges and opportunities for sustainable urban life.
"Mayors from all over the world will see first-hand the good, the bad, the beautiful and the hopeful examples of bringing environmental responsibility to everyday city life," said Jared Blumenfeld, director of the San Francisco Department of the Environment. "They will see real-time implementation of the policies behind the urban accords that balance the environment, economic well-being, and social equity for all cities worldwide,"
Some examples of the tours and workshops for the mayors during the conference:
- A tour of an edible school yard where students grow organic food.
- A "toxic tour" of neighborhoods near oil refineries and other pollution sites.
- A tour of the solar power installation on the roof of Moscone Center.
- A workshop developed by the Pacific Institute/Earth Day Network on clean water.
- A workshop developed by the United Nations Environmental Program and Natural Resources Defense Council on clean fuels and urban air quality.
- A workshop developed by the City of Zurich on public-private partnerships for sustainability.
The United Nations Environment Program awarded the conference to San Francisco, the first time the conference has ever been held in the United States. It is being hosted by the Mayor and the San Francisco Department of the Environment.
"Mayors have the power to shape the future of the world's environment," said Blumenfeld. "With the majority of the earth's population living in cities, decisions made here at World Environment Day will have far-reaching effect."
The accords will be signed at City Hall at the end of the conference on June 5.
Beyond the official calendar of the conference, more than 150 community activities are scheduled around World Environment Day. The activities range from special organic menu selections at Bay Area restaurants to an organic fashion show. In addition, there will be a Green Cities Expo with booths and exhibits at Fort Mason June 3-4-5. Those slated to attend the conference include Klaus Toepfer, executive director of the United Nations Environment Program, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and mayors from London, Shanghai, Kabul, Buenos Aires, Moscow, Phnom Penh, Jakarta, Rome, Delhi, and Istanbul.
World Environment Day is a project of the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP). Since its inception in 1972, World Environment Day has given a human face to environmental issues, and promoted an understanding that communities are pivotal to changing attitudes about the environment. UNEP provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.
Sponsors for World Environment Day in San Francisco include the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation, the Tommy E. Short Charitable Foundation, Earth Council Alliance, Norcal Waste Systems, Federal Express, IMG Home, Organic Bouquet, Sierra Club, Mitsubishi International Corporation Foundation, Mitsubishi Corporation, Sound Energy Solutions, KPIX, KGO-TV, UPN Bay Area, KMPT World Channel, Sina, KQED, Mother Jones, E the Environmental Magazine, KRON, KNTV, KTVU.
Debra Benson (415) 788-7788, cell: (415) 341-7338
San Francisco is habitat for 800,000 people – meeting needs for space to work, play, and learn; for food, water, and air; for community with local flora and fauna. SF Environment provides support for urban agriculture and forestry and green buildings, helping residents and businesses harness environmental opportunities.