Office of Sustainability & Environment

For over 10 years the Office of Sustainability & Environment of Seattle (OSE) has been working to protect the cities environment for future generations to enjoy. The office has four areas of focus in which planning and programs are implemented:

  • Environmental Sustainability Coordination
  • Environmental Sustainability Innovation and Research
  • Climate Change Action Planning, Policy and Measurement
  • Green Building and Resource Conservation

Pike Place Market SignThe sustainability and environmental department coordinates with all other city departments in areas such as green team building, office sustainability and cross-departmental program implementation. The office also promotes interconnecting sustainability into any and all projects other departments might be working on. Policy, the most notable of the offices programs is what really makes an effect on the city. The OSE can recommend full policy or policy additions to the city council or mayor with a decent amount of buy in, but the office has been careful not to over reach or abuse their standing. One policy the OSE has worked to enact is Seattle going carbon neutral by 2050.

A program the OSE is working on that seems to be spreading throughout the country is growing food in the city. The OSE has been working with the public and is trying to engage them on why growing food is so important and how easy it can be with a little elbow grease. The office has laid out basics to gardening and the benefits that go with it. The department of sustainability and environment works in just about every area that has to do with sustainability and even through the recession the municipality has been able to keep the office going. Why does every city not have a department representing sustainability? Most cities could most likely justify it if they were to label the department something like: The Department of Efficiency. That really is all that sustainability is; efficiency in environment, society and business. Perhaps re-branding sustainability into efficiency would translate better for areas that are not so embracing of the green movement.Seattle Public Library by Thomas Hawk

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