SCA Sustainability Initiative Launches Eighth Year with Largest Effort Yet
(PITTSBURGH, PA) May 14, 2015 — Amid climate change, temperatures are rising and with them the risks of extreme weather, declining air quality, damaging flooding and more. Thanks to the Student Conservation Association (SCA), volunteers are also rising to help make the Pittsburgh region more climate-resilient.
SCA, the national leader in youth service and stewardship and a partner to the City of Pittsburgh since 2000, today announced the 2015 campaign of its Green Cities Sustainability Fellowship program will be the largest in its history. Eighteen highly-qualified Green Cities Fellows will leverage a community-wide network of government agencies, large and small businesses, educational institutions and others to reduce carbon emissions, save energy and water, and promote sustainability.
Among them is California native Ari Lattanzi, who is currently conducting an extensive greenhouse gas emissions inventory as part of Pittsburgh’s updated climate action plan. “Ari has quickly become a valuable member of our team,” says Grant Ervin, city sustainability manager. “She brings a great work ethic and diverse skill set, helping us build capacity and undertake innovative work.”
Originally launched in 2008, the Green Cities Sustainability Fellowship program has grown to engage stakeholders throughout the region. Sustainable Pittsburgh Program Director Matt Mehalik notes, “We just received the Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence, and we would not have earned it without the efforts of the SCA Green Cities Fellows.”
Mehalik says the SCA Fellows helped to “build, execute and verify” the Green Workplace Challenge recognized by Governor Tom Wolf, in which nearly 100 local employers took over 2,000 actions that saved $7.4 million in energy costs and enough water to fill the playing surface of Heinz Field 223 feet deep in just two years. Participating businesses reduced emissions by 22,821 metric tons of carbon dioxide.
PennFuture credits Green Cities Fellows with reducing carbon emissions by nearly one million pounds through a series of 20 “Neighborhood Blitzes,” which provided energy conservation kits to homeowners as part of the Black & Gold City Goes Green campaign.
“I grew up here and I’m excited to see such progress and commitment,” says Sustainable Pittsburgh Fellow Sahar Arbab. “People want to support the environment but don’t always know how. I want to be a catalyst for sustainability.”
Additional Green Cities partners include the Allegheny County Conservation District, the Allegheny County Office of Sustainability, American Eagle Outfitters, the Green Building Alliance, the Higher Education Climate Consortium, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Pennsylvania Resource Council, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, the Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group, the Pittsburgh Parks Conservatory, the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority, and Tree Pittsburgh. Support is also provided by the Allegheny County Clean Air Fund and the Colcom Foundation.
For more on the SCA Green Cities Program, visit www.thesca.org/greencities.