The City of Coral Gables is on a continuous mission to achieve ongoing sustainability
Most businesses, organizations, and municipalities have done the basics: recycling programs, energy-efficient lighting, water conservation efforts. For some, that might be enough to check off the “environmentally-conscious” box. But for the City of Coral Gables, Florida, those types of efforts were only the beginning.
Today, the city refuses to rest on its laurels and continues to search for and embrace innovative ways to reach new sustainability heights including replacing glyphosate-based herbicides city-wide with the non-toxic EcoMight, implementing an innovative doggie-waste station system with compostable bags, and enforcing a summer fertilizer ban to reduce nutrient pollution in local waterways.
One sign of real environmental stewardship is an organization’s effort to embrace initiatives because they are the “right thing to do,” not simply because of new rules and regulations.
According to Troy Hall, golf course and parks superintendent for the City of Coral Gables, the municipality began testing alternatives to glyphosate in January 2019, a full 10 months before the city instituted its ban on glyphosate-based herbicides.
“We wanted to get ahead of the curve,” Hall said. “We tested several different alternatives and couldn’t find anything that was safe, affordable and effective until we ran across EcoMight. We made the switch in June 2019, and we feel EcoMight performs just as well as glyphosate.”
As a former assistant golf superintendent to several area golf clubs, including the world-renowned Indian Creek Country Club, Hall has decades of experience as well as a degree in turf and turfgrass management from SUNY.
“I’ve been doing this for 20 years now, and I’m always looking for new products that are better for the environment,” Hall said. “However, up until now, most natural alternatives were just too expensive, didn’t last long enough, or just failed to give us the results we needed. Environmentally friendly products must offer the results we’re looking for in terms of performance. They have to be the best.”
Setting Challenging Goals
The City of Coral Gables continues to support environmental initiatives they began years ago including planting native species in public outdoor spaces, proactively managing a healthy tree canopy for more than 35 years, and moving toward renewable energy alternatives since 2012.
At the same time, this forward-thinking municipality has put in place admirable future goals as well including a 20% reduction of energy and water consumption, fuel usage and greenhouse gas emissions by 2025; a $100 million Sea Level Rise Mitigation Fund by 2040; and 78 electric city vehicles and 28 charging stations by later this year.
As society continues to work to protect the environment for future generations, the amazing efforts of communities like Coral Gables should be shared as a blueprint for others seeking to do the same.
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