Apr 21, 2022 - News

Columbus' ambitious plan to be more green. Plus: 3 Earth Day events

Illustration of a neutral emoji turning green and smiling.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Columbus ranks No. 77 out of the country's 100 largest cities for sustainability, according to a recent study by WalletHub.

Why it matters: With a goal to be carbon neutral by 2050, Columbus has plenty of work to do before securing a top spot on the greenest cities ranking.

What they're saying: Ohio Environmental Council's Nathan Johnson and Nolan Rutschilling helped explain how the city stacks up.

  • They declined to comment on the ranking itself but said there is "new urgency from the city around fighting climate change and securing a healthier environment for all residents."

State of play: Rutschilling, the council's interim managing director of Energy Policy, says the city has an "ambitious goal" to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 45% by 2030 and 100% by 2050.

  • The city focused its efforts through a Climate Action Plan finalized at the end of last year.
  • Some of the plan's proposals include reducing recyclable waste sent to the county landfill and increasing transit use.

Yes, and: An Urban Forestry Master Plan aims to nearly double Columbus' tree canopy by 2050, plus address gaps in the canopy in an equitable manner.

  • Tree canopy varies from 9% to 41% across neighborhoods, the plan reads, noting that "historic disinvestment and redlining of low-income communities, immigrant communities and communities of color contributed to lower canopy in some parts of Columbus."

What's next: Community involvement will be crucial to achieving the city’s goals.

  • Residents can reach out to city officials and encourage them to keep climate top of mind, Rutschilling said.

Related Axios story: How to compost at home in Central Ohio

3 things to do on Earth Day

🌱 Attend Earth Day Columbus, the holiday's largest volunteer event in the country.

  • Bring the family to Genoa Park for a free annual celebration with local music, food and drinks.
  • Details: Saturday, April 23, noon-7pm at 303 W. Broad St.
  • Of note: Organizers are hosting service events all month, from cleanups to tree plantings. Learn more and sign up here.

🥾 Take a hike.

  • Get your boots muddy and enjoy a guided five-mile hike through Alum Creek State Park with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
  • Details: Tomorrow, April 22, 1-4pm at the park office on 3615 S. Old State Rd., Delaware.

🌼 Help keep Goodale Park looking beautiful.

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