Tidbits about San Francisco’s Department of the Environment
San Francisco’s Department of the Environment may sound like one of those uniquely Bay Area, left-leaning West Coast inventions. But it ain’t so. We are among the pioneering cities to devote a department to green issues, but the idea has spread to the corners of the country. Other adopters include Atlanta, Nashville, Washington DC, Boston, New York City, Chicago, and Seattle to name a few.
It is worth noting that the SF Department of Environment devoted its first eight years to designing a comprehensive environment code and was directed by Jared Blumenfeld, an environmental lawyer. As he left his city post last year to head the Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 9 office, he said in an interview with the San Francisco Public Press, “There’s not that much legislatively that we can still do. Nineteen pieces of environmental legislation is a lot. The majority of what I set out to do, we’ve done.”
With a legal framework in place, the new director Melanie Nutter will be challenged with enticing more San Francisco citizens to comply with and support city efforts. On paper it appears the San Francisco Commission on the Environment, which is responsible for selecting the director, has chosen strategically. Nutter’s background as a grassroots organizer suggests she’s got skills that can expand the city’s environmental momentum beyond the converted.
If Nashville can do it, hopefully Nutter can too.