Photo of Bishop's Peak. Credit: File Photo

The City of San Luis Obispo won the 2023 national Environmental, Climate, and Energy Award for the newest volume of its Climate Action Plan for Community Recovery, according to a Monday news release.

The city recently adopted a third version of its plan that has an overarching goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2035. 

“We are really lucky to be able to do this work in a community that prioritizes climate action,” City Sustainability Manager Chris Read said. “We are really proud to have our community’s good work recognized.” 

Volume one of the Climate Action Plan for Community Recovery tells short stories of what San Luis Obispo would look like if all its goals were achieved. Volume two put in place specific plans to achieve those goals. The award-winning third volume details the city’s plans and goals for the next five years, 2023-2027.

Read mentioned that the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions across the U.S. and in SLO is transportation.

The city aims to decrease transportation emissions by improving bike lanes, installing electric vehicle chargers and upgrading public transit to make community members more likely to adopt alternative forms of transportation, according to the city’s website.

After transportation, the city is also focusing on developing electric alternatives to natural gas appliances. Stovetops, refrigerators, water heaters and clothes dryers are some of the items that can run on natural gas, as listed on the Environmental Protection Agency website

Other goals in the city’s Climate Action Plan include focusing on “community education” toward composting in green bins and using the natural spaces of “Johnson Ranch, Bishop Peak and Cerro San Luis” as an asset toward a sustainable future. Projects for these areas include tree plantings and creek restorations. 

Along with sustainability, the program is rooted in diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, according to Read.

“We want to make sure the benefits are equitably distributed across our community,” Read said. 

Read pointed to the City of San Luis Obispo’s Earth Week Events hosted at Cal Poly as a way to get involved. The events will run from April 18 to April 22.