Education & Awareness

Overview

Education and awareness is a part of Clearwater Greenprint, the city's sustainability plan

greenprint, sustainability, resiliency, beach, water

Why Education & Awareness Is Important

It’s going to take the entire community to create a sustainable, vibrant Clearwater. Raising community awareness with compelling and useful information about the importance of sustainability is vital. In addition to understanding the benefits of sustainability on Clearwater’s environment, it is important to demonstrate that sustainability will result in improved human health and happiness, economic advancement, and a greater sense of community overall.

To achieve this awareness, the city will create and provide information to educate and involve Clearwater citizens in green best practices and programs. The city will incorporate Clearwater Greenprint 2.0 strategies and initiatives into its ongoing communications activities, creating opportunities to encourage responsibility and foster participation in making Clearwater a sustainable community. Opportunities for education and awareness can be realized by creating venues for different groups to work together. These include neighborhood associations, organizations, schools, businesses, utilities, and government agencies.

Education & Awareness Strategies Overview

Mission Statement

  • Write or re-write mission statement for city of Clearwater to include environmental commitment.
  • Incorporate the mission statement into the local government’s comprehensive plan.

Community Education

  • Promote education through publications and public events.
  • Provide pertinent local GIS and other data online.

Community Outreach

  • Develop new events that engage the community in sustainability through fun and innovative activities.
  • Continue to host an annual sustainability conference.

Youth Programs

  • Continue youth education programs to educate students about resource conservation.
  • Further current efforts by coordinating with the Pinellas County School Board.

Municipal Staff Education

  • Organize ongoing educational workshops and presentations to keep staff and elected officials up to date on sustainability initiatives and opportunities.
  • Integrate sustainable practices into daily operations and serve as ambassadors and educators about city sustainability programs and projects in daily interactions with the public.

Continuous Reporting

  • Continuously measure, evaluate, and address both mitigation and adaptation progress in accordance with ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability, USA Five Milestones for Climate Mitigation and Adaptation.

Resilience Planning and Outreach

  • Form a Resilience Committee comprised of city staff and community partners.
  • Initiate a vulnerability assessment throughout the Clearwater area to identify the factors most at risk to climate change stressors.
  • Formulate a Climate Action Plan to address each of the vulnerabilities identified and further direct the city’s resilience work.

Strategy 1: Mission Statement

  • Write or re-write mission statement for city of Clearwater to include environmental commitment.
  • Incorporate the mission statement into the local government’s comprehensive plan.

The city of Clearwater is committed to accomplishing the strategies outlined in this document. In recognition of the fact that that other municipalities throughout the State of Florida have done the same, the city’s mission statement and comprehensive plan will be revised to formalize this commitment.

Strategy 2: Community Education

  • Promote education through publications and public events.
  • Provide pertinent local GIS and other data online.

In early 2020, a Sustainability & Resilience webpage was created to inform the public about the city’s sustainability goals and progress. This website also functions as a resource center, where Clearwater residents, businesses, and tourists can learn how to become more sustainable in their own lives.

The city will promote education through its publications and public events. A quarterly report about the city’s sustainability progress will be available online and will be promoted through the city’s email and social media accounts. The city will also create an annual workshop series that covers each of the Greenprint topic areas and will involve various staff and community members who are experts in each focus.

Strategy 3: Community Outreach

  • Develop new events that engage the community in sustainability through fun and innovative activities.
  • Continue to host an annual sustainability conference.

Engagement is at the core of education. The city is committed to developing new events that engage the community in sustainability in fun and innovative ways. Examples include art contests, speaker and film series, and neighborhood campaigns.

In 2019, the city held its first sustainability conference. Created in partnership with the Clearwater Neighborhoods Coalition and Suncoast Sierra Club, the conference was titled “Building Better Neighborhoods Through Sustainability: A Toolkit for Positive Change”. Topics included energy efficiency for the home, Florida-friendly landscaping, waste reduction, composting, and ocean-friendly lifestyle practices. The conference was well received, and the city intends to make this an annual event.

Strategy 4: Youth Programs

  • Continue youth education programs to educate students about resource conservation.
  • Further current efforts by coordinating with the Pinellas County School Board.

A successful education initiative must also engage Clearwater youth. Various departments, like the Public Utilities and Solid Waste/Recycling departments, have programs to educate students about resource conservation. The city will further this effort by coordinating with the Pinellas County School Board to create a School Sustainability Committee.

Strategy 5: Municipal Staff Education

  • Organize ongoing educational workshops and presentations to keep staff and elected officials up to date on sustainability initiatives and opportunities.
  • Integrate sustainable practices into daily operations and serve as ambassadors and educators about city sustainability programs and projects in daily interactions with the public.

The city will organize educational workshops and presentations to keep decision-makers up to date on sustainability initiatives and opportunities as well as to keep City Council members connected to the Greenprint 2.0 goals, strategies, and initiatives. Designated city staff will pursue ongoing education and will maintain certifications pertaining to green project design. In addition, staff will integrate sustainable practices into daily operations while serving as ambassadors and educators for city sustainability programs and projects through their interaction with the public.

Clearwater staff will also be encouraged to engage personally with the city’s sustainability efforts. Specifically, they will be encouraged to use fewer single-use plastics through the distribution of reusable water bottles to all employees, and review Clearwater’s commitment to the environment during new employee orientation.

Strategy 6: Continuous Reporting

Continuously measure, evaluate, and address both mitigation and adaptation progress in accordance with ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability, USA Five Milestones for Climate Mitigation and Adaptation

Sustainability is an ongoing process. Communities must celebrate their successes while continuing to pursue further emission reductions and resilience improvements. While Clearwater has already begun to reduce GHG emissions and climate risk through a variety of actions, it must continuously measure, evaluate, and address both mitigation and adaptation progress. Thankfully, two approaches to achieve this ongoing work have been developed by the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI). These are known as the Five Milestones for Climate Mitigation and Adaptation.

Climate, Mitigation, Milestones

Furthermore, tracking the success of existing and future green initiatives is a vitally important component of Clearwater Greenprint. To lead by example, the city will continue to highlight its green initiatives and report the associated benefits. Environmental, economic, and social metrics will be collected and reported. The benefits, costs, and lessons learned of the various efforts will be shared with the Clearwater community as well as other local governments through the Sustainability & Resilience website. Furthermore, the city will commit to conducting a GHG inventory every two years to assess progress.

Strategy 7: Resilience Planning & Outreach

  • Form a Resilience Committee comprised of city staff and community partners.
  • Initiate a vulnerability assessment throughout the Clearwater area to identify the factors most at risk to climate change stressors.
  • Formulate a Climate Action Plan to address each of the vulnerabilities identified and further direct the city’s resilience work.

Becoming a resilient community requires climate adaptation measures. According to the Fourth National Climate Assessment, climate adaptation has five general stages:

  1. Awareness
  2. Assessment
  3. Planning
  4. Implementation
  5. Monitoring & Evaluation

The city will begin with Stage 1 and form a Resilience Committee to increase resilience planning and awareness throughout Clearwater. The committee will be comprised of city staff and community partners, such as teachers, neighborhood leaders, artists, and financial and insurance industry representatives who can explain financial risks. The committee will be responsible for creating an educational outreach and communications program to raise awareness of climate change risks and emergency preparedness in our residents and business owners.

The Resilience Committee will also be responsible for initiating vulnerability assessments throughout the Clearwater area to identify the factors most at risk to climate change stressors. From these assessments, a Climate Action Plan will be pursued to address these vulnerabilities and further direct the city’s resilience work. This plan could be included as a section in the next Clearwater Greenprint edition.

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