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Climate Change and Sustainability Initiative

Why Sustainability?


noun: meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.


To Conserve Our Natural Resources

Reduced consumption of paper, plastics, and other products means reduced waste, reduced expense, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Skagit County's sustainability program also prepares our county for the reduced future availability and higher prices of fossil fuels.

To Save Tax Payers Dollars

Electricity, fuel, paper, and postage are expensive, and less resource-intensive options are available at lower net cost. When fully-implemented, the interim energy and resource reduction measures listed in the Climate Action Resolution will save the county several hundred thousand dollars each year.

As this chart (excerpted from this McKinsey & Co report) illustrates, many greenhouse gas-reduction strategies save money, and all of them together net out to near-zero financial cost and significant positive benefits to the climate. For example, Virginias Arlington County saved $8,000 in just four months after replacing all 2,500 light fixtures in its courthouse.

As another example, consider vehicle purchases. New county policy now prohibits departments from purchasing passenger cars or SUVs that get EPA 2008 highway fuel economy ratings of less than 34 mpg, nor pickup trucks with less than 24 mpg. At average 2008 fuel prices, that small increase in mileage might save $1500 or more over three years.(Click to enlarge chart)

To Prepare for Climate Impacts

Climate change threatens to dramatically change our weather, our coastline, and our natural resource industries. A long-term goal of Skagit County's sustainability program is to project and prepare for the impacts of climate change and to mitigate our own contribution of greenhouse gas emissions.

For more information on the potential impacts of climate change on our county, please read the Skagit Valley Herald's eight-part series on climate change and the Skagit Valley or visit the Washington State Department of Ecology's climate change website.

Sustainability Efforts Across the Nation

To learn more about what other local governments are doing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase the sustainability of local communities visit: