It's not easy being green, but the National Park Service (NPS) has decided it’s worth the effort.
On Thursday, the agency that oversees 397 units comprising 84 million acres of land across the country unveiled a new plan to integrate sustainable practices into all aspects of its operations. Announced by NPS Director Jonathan Jarvis, the plan sets out ambitious goals for conserving energy and water, reducing greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions and limiting waste.
"The Green Parks Plan asks each park and office to review routine activities, operations and programs and reflect on how we manage our work to prioritize actions and leverage existing funds to lessen our impact on the environment," said Jarvis. "Much of our success will hinge on adopting sustainability as a guiding value and embedding it in what we do, every day."
The nine-point plan covers everything from purchasing decisions and waste management to vehicle use and construction projects. Among the goals:
- Reduce GHG emissions from on-site fossil fuel and electricity consumption by 35 percent by 2020 from a baseline set in 2008.
- Reduce fossil fuel consumption in NPS vehicles by 20 percent by 2015 from the 2005 baseline.
- Reduce system-wide building energy costs by 35 percent by 2016 from the 2003 baseline.
- Reduce "water use intensity" (gallons per square foot of facility space) by 30 percent by 2020 from the 2007 baseline.
- Divert 50 percent of annual solid waste from landfills by 2015.
It won't be easy given the current budget environment and the fact that the NPS manages more than 4 million acres of maintained landscapes, such as campgrounds and battlefields; more than 3,000 utility systems, and more than 67,000 structures.
Article continues at MSNBC.com
Glacier National Park image via Shutterstock