Our group developed this scorecard to support and encourage consistent progress toward goals that serve the Ithaca community. We plan to keep the City focused on meeting its commitments in the short and long term.
In 2019, students at Ithaca College inspired community action. They lobbied the City to adopt aggressive climate justice and decarbonization goals. The team wrote letters, held a Town Hall, met with the Mayor, and pitched their “Green New Deal” to the City’s Common Council. The Ithaca Green New Deal was developed to address climate change, economic inequality and racial injustice. It was adopted unanimously by the City of Ithaca Common Council on June 5, 2019.
The City of Ithaca is proud to be one of the first cities moving toward ambitious environmental goals on a rapid timeline. Ithaca has been put in an international spotlight due to the innovative aspects of the program. If the findings of the IPCC on the urgency of action are to be taken seriously, development and investment must be implemented at an uncommonly rapid pace.
The City of Ithaca has established the Office of Sustainability, dedicated to initiating and accelerating a just and equitable transition. The Office of Sustainability has a stated mission to create opportunity, develop goals, timelines and contracts, to help citizens connect with the resources and information they need, and to listen responsively to members of the community who are reporting inequity, air quality, service toward initiatives. Importantly, the Sustainability Office is not alone in serving the Ithaca community. It is embedded within the City governance structure, reports to the Planning Department, and works alongside other elements of the government.
In contrast to Ithaca, some cities moving toward sustainability goals have also established a second oversight board to help smooth the transition and provide regular progress reports. Alternatively, some greening cities provide an integrated model, where each department documents how their office has progressed on their intermediate sustainability goals.
In lieu of either of these alternate benchmarking mechanisms, our group has developed this scorecard to support and encourage consistent progress toward goals that serve the Ithaca community. Our role has received support and encouragement from the Office of Sustainability. This scorecard provides an ongoing status report that is easily accessible to community members and stakeholders—to celebrate wins and acknowledge stalling points—and to provide accountability for a just and equitable transition to a greener, carbon neutral community.
In the spring of 2020, FLGR leaders approached the Ithaca Sustainability team about creating an IGND Scorecard to improve public communication and transparency regarding progress toward primary benchmarks. They agreed and were willing to meet with the group regularly as the scorecard framework was assembled.
The IGND Scorecard provides an independent report on how the City of Ithaca is meeting its commitments.
The IGND will require nearly a decade of effort. We plan to keep the City focused on meeting its commitments in the short and long term. The City must track essential elements of the IGND, including climate justice, workforce development, local and regional planning and collaboration, and decarbonization in transportation, the grid, the built environment, waste management and food systems.
FLGR leaders will use the Scorecard to:
We are the first to say that this independent citizen scorecard should not be necessary. We hope, within the seven years remaining, the City advances its commitments, integrates green initiatives into every one of its current offices, and builds its own reporting mechanisms. Until then, we will remain vigilant, intent on keeping the City of Ithaca accountable to the promises it has made to its citizens, keeping score.
We created five categories to track the City’s progress in meeting its goals.
Not started: No action taken to date
In progress: Sufficient action being taken to achieve goals and schedule
Stalled: Insufficient action within the timeframe required to meet goals and schedule
Complete: Planned goal achieved
Ongoing: The action is complete and implementation activity continues