|From left, Catherine Werner, sustainability director for the City of St. Louis, John Sondag, president of AT&T Missouri, Tim Keane, executive director of the Center for Sustainability, Mayor Francis Slay and Paul Dickinson, executive chairman of the Carbon Disclosure Project, announced a research project to test a new sustainability software platform designed to help the city develop a comprehensive sustainability plan. Submitted photo|
Thanks in large part to support from the Center for Sustainability at Saint Louis University, the City of St. Louis was chosen as one of only ten cities nationally to participate in the development of the STAR Community Index software platform, a tool that local governments across the globe will use to help create the sustainable cities of the future.
The developing organization, ICLEI, was founded in 1990 as the "International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives" at the United Nations' first "World Congress of Local Governments for a Sustainable Future." Since then, ICLEI has grown to represent more than 1,200 local governments across 70 countries in sustainable development initiatives like the creation of the STAR Community Index software.
The city's participation in the STAR Community Index project is being supported by the Center for Sustainability at SLU with seed funding, as well as hands-on research through the "REAL Partners" program, an initiative that provides research support from the Center's graduate students. The STAR Community Index software will help the city's sustainability efforts through the measuring and tracking of local sustainability assets and barriers, with the goal of integrating the data into a long-term sustainable development plan for the region.
According to Tim Keane, Ph.D., executive director the Center, this initiative fits perfectly with their mission and strategic objectives.
"The Center for Sustainability is seeking collaborations with sustainability thought leaders, both inside SLU and externally, that recognize we are a society in crisis. Tools like the STAR Community Index help quantify the urgency, and support actions to replenish, not deplete, our ecosystem resources," Keane said.
As part of the initiative, the City of St. Louis released the results of its Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Inventory back to 2005 as a baseline to benchmark progress in reducing its carbon footprint and show how the city is utilizing technology to minimize its impact on the environment.
"It is important that we know our impact on the environment so we can measure our progress, focus where we can make the most improvement, and know which initiatives are working and which are not," said Mayor Francis Slay.
The Center for Sustainability offers a master of sustainability degree and supports inter-disciplinary research that has the potential to solve sustainability-related issues in society.
For more information about the Center's degree options or research collaboration opportunities, please visit sustainability.slu.edu or call 314-977-3608.
The Center for Sustainability was launched through the generous support of its founding donor, the Alberici Foundation.