It has been quite some time since I last took the stage atop my environmental soapbox, but with news of Kingston’s green-ness spreading far and wide, the time has come for a brief, yet honest discussion about our stature as a sustainable community. In a star studded, green carpet affair, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities recently awarded Kingston with a Sustainability Award in the category of water. The City of Kingston’s website lists rural participation in “Our Well Aware” workshops as the reason behind the shared honour. Even so, in light of the extremely poor quality of Kingston’s beaches this summer, as well as the infamous gas guzzling Poker Run, the Limestone City’s ability to manage water resources is also a contentious issue. So with all possible puns intended, should we liken our sustainable achievements to a glass that’s half empty, or one that’s half full?
More recently, Kingston was named a finalist for a Communities In Bloom award, which recognizes sustainable achievements across a broad list of categories. Sue Hitchcock, the coordinator of Kingston’s Communities in Bloom program, outlines why Kingston is being considered as a serious contender for this year’s award:
Our entry was substantial. Kingston has so much to brag about when it comes to it’s sustainable development efforts, including: building on brownfields as we did with the K-Rock Centre, our very successful new Green Bin program, our strong community partnerships represented on bodies like the Kingston Environmental Advisory Forum and FOCUS Kingston – our list of achievements in this area is extremely long.
On the contrary, the K-Rock Centre design should have achieved platinum LEED certification, and I have recently noticed fewer neighbours placing their green bins out on collection day. If I had my druthers, attaining the sustainability crown should require Kingston to put forth considerably more effort than we have thus far. Where are our recreational waterfront paths, bike lanes, drive thru bans, green parking, pedestrian friendly streets? How can we achieve higher participation in recycling programs, car pooling, public transportation, and environmentally-oriented home upgrades? Does the average Kingstonian even care about sustainability?
If we truly want Kingston to be the most sustainable city in Canada, it is going to require a massive buy in across the community. While I’m not opposed to celebrating our progress, or blind to the wind turbines and numerous other projects on the horizon, the Limestone City must strive to be a much deeper shade of green. Are you ready for a greener Kingston? Thanks to southernpixel for today’s image of the Jones Valley Urban Farm.