While President Biden is at COP26, what's going on in Nashville to make green goals possible?

New Metro sustainability chief took over Oct. 13
nashville flooding
Posted at 5:24 PM, Nov 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-01 19:23:33-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — As international leaders gather in Scotland for days of discussion on climate change, just weeks into the job, Metro Nashville's top sustainability officer is having challenging conversations with department heads about the same subject.

"How the city grows and develops in a way that really prevents us from feeling those impacts," said Kendra Abkowitz about those discussions.

Abkowitz took over as chief sustainability and resilience officer for Metro Nashville on October 13.

The city of Nashville has pledged to cut carbon emissions by 80% by 2050.

Some government buildings, like Fire Station 32 in Hermitage and Fire Station 37 in Bellevue, are being built with solar panels, to lessen the carbon footprint. Abkowitz says the city is doing a good job trying to stop contributing to climate change, however, it could do better at responding to how climate change has already affected Nashville.

"It's a little more challenging and probably a tougher conversation to think through. We're already feeling impacts. What sort of changes do we need to make? I think one of the primary areas we'll be thinking strategically is land-use decision making and planning," Abkowitz said.

Another thing she says would help is the implementation of the Mayor's proposal to use some money from building permits to plant more trees.

"It's innovative because again it's providing that dedicated revenue stream. That's incredibly important because that means it's a financial mechanism that allows us to fund the program into the future," she said.

With Nashville doubling down she hopes residents look at how they can live a more eco-friendly lifestyle.

"Just because you don't have access to an electric vehicle doesn't mean again your day-to-day life [can't involve] reducing environmental impacts associated with transportation... there's a spectrum of different actions you can take even if the Cadillac version or the Tesla version isn't directly available to you," she said.