In the race towards sustainability and a healthier environment, Blacksburg recently won “Gold” in the Green Government Challenge hosted by the Virginia Municipal League, earning 160 “green points” out of the maximum 200 and securing the certification of “Green Government.” The award was presented at the annual VML conference in Arlington, Va. on Oct. 15.
The VML Green Government Challenge was a competition held among local governments in Virginia in an effort to promote a healthier environment, safer living, and the preservation of natural resources and landscapes. It required the implementation of environmental policies and actions that would protect the environment and reduce carbon emissions. The “green points” were awarded when up to 30 policies and actions in different categories were adopted and implemented.
“We got points for establishing an electronics recycling program with Virginia Tech so that the people in the community have a place to recycle their household electronics which end up in landfills which ends up in the water supply," said Carol Davis, Blacksburg’s sustainability manager. "People can take them to the money or use it for other programs."
Other town council members agree that Blacksburg has done a lot in the past and is currently working hard to focus on sustainability and promote a healthier environment.
“We have hybrid buses, we have put public recycling bins downtown and we are working on energy efficiency in our buildings," said council member Susan Anderson. "We want every new building or every building renovation as a town building to be lead certified. And again, it’s our staff that makes those things happen but our town council supports that."
Furthermore, Sustainable Blacksburg, a non-profit community organization focused on reducing Blacksburg's environmental impact, has played a big role through education and outreach programs.
“Sustainable Blacksburg has been a great partner and resource to us," Davis said. "They helped us get the word out with their community groups. Sustainable Blacksburg has a partnership with us to find initiative that we all want to advance and host various events on that."
Seven other communities ranked higher than Blacksburg, prompting an increased fervor for Davis.