Burbank: Making Sustainability Work in Celebrity-ville

For Earth Day 2010, Global Day of Conversation was a huge success, with over 500 local and elected leaders participating. Earth Day Network’s Global Day of Conversation 2011 aims to initiate an effective dialogue about how to grow our local economies substantially through sustainability. Over the coming weeks, I will highlight some of our Global Day of Conversation 2010 cities to show the power of conversation, and to help generate ideas that can be implemented in your community.

If Hollywood is where all of the celebrities go to play, Burbank, California is where they come to work. The city of big motion picture studios was also one of EDN’s Global Day of Conversation 2010 cities. Burbank’s “Ghostbusters of the environment”, the Burbank Sustainability Task Force, represents stakeholders of all sectors and meets every month to discuss plans to engage the community through sustainability. Its work includes community outreach, promotional activities and public education on topics such as composting workshops, money-saving white roofs that reflect heat, and the economic benefits of trees in the neighborhood. Where darker rooftops absorb sunlight, white roofs reflect sunlight, which helps to keep homes cooler. A collective effort to increase the number of white roofs can reduce an urban heat island effect, which means cooler weather during the summer and extra money saved from lower utility bills. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory estimated a potential CO2 reduction from white roofs that could equal taking the world’s 600 million cars off the road for 18 years.  The Task Force also discusses city projects. Mark Hardyment, director of the Burbank Airport Authority, proposed the Regional Intermodal Transportation Center, pictured above, with sustainable features at the city’s Bob Hope Airport. The RITC makes Burbank more sustainable by integrating solar panels onto existing facilities, retrofitting the former World War II Lockheed property and adding dedicated spaces for metro users. More importantly, the RITC will help create jobs with projects that have long-term financial benefits to the city, as all GDC participants aim to do!