Will Chattanooga go carbon neutral by 2050

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – Over the past half-century, Chattanooga has experienced an environmental revitalization – going from being deemed the dirtiest town in America to one of the country’s fastest growing centers for green, sustainable jobs.

A plan outlined by Green Space’s, a local environmental nonprofit agency, hopes to take that revitalization a step further with its Integrated Community Sustainability Plan.

The plan calls for eliminating most wastes into local waterways by 2035 and achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

Executive Director Michael Walton says the plan is also about embracing evolving technology in the local economy.

“We really see this as an opportunity for us to be able to build a local economy around the technologies that are needed globally to meet this challenge but are being produced locally. So a good example of that is Volkswagen with the electric cars that they’re going to be manufacturing here. You’ve got EPB and TVA. Really for us to get to where we want to go, this plan looks at all the different areas that are involved with that – so from energy, to water, to mobility, to resilient communities, and then how that fits with your ecosystems and materials and waste,” explains Walton.

At Green Spaces, the Integrated Community Sustainability Plan has been introduced as a collaborative effort between Chattanooga’s public and private sectors.

The plan has been endorsed by nine of the fifteen mayoral candidates, including Tim Kelly, who says that his plan for sustainability mostly falls in line with that of Green Space’s.

“I think these things are important for the planet, but they’re also important because they constitute great economic opportunities for Chattanooga. This is an open field as far as cities that can position themselves for economic growth around sustainable energy and it’s ours to lose quite frankly,” says Kelly.

Candidate and City Councilman, Erskine Oglesby, says the plan also creates opportunities for affordable housing.

“Right now with everything that exists with housing and some of our underserved areas, this plan goes a long way to alleviating that. Some of the properties that exist in those communities, there’s an opportunity to create green spaces until such time they can be converted to affordable housing,” Oglesby says.

Categories: Chattanooga, Environment, Featured, Jobs & Economy, Local News