KINGSPORT – Small steps can add up to a huge difference over time, both personally and collectively as a community, and the City of Kingsport has embarked on the first steps towards encouraging a more sustainable city with the launch of KLOUD — Keeping Livable Our Urban Destinations.
Administered by the Development Services Department, KLOUD will start by logging the Citys sustainability efforts and promoting best practices to raise awareness of the importance of creating a sustainable community.
Sustainability means preserving our environment and natural resources as much as possible, Development Services Coordinator Rack Cross said Thursday. Air quality, water quality, farm to table and fresh bard, these are all sustainability issues. But it also includes healthier lifestyles, a more walkable community less reliant on automobiles, and perceived safety.
These factors all have an impact on job retention and job creation in a community. A healthier workforce with less lost time to health concerns is more valuable to current and potential employers while also bringing a higher quality of life to the individual.
Kingsports City government currently offers a number of programs aimed at long-term sustainability, including curbside recycling, developing a fleet of alternative fuel vehicles including all-electric, hybrid and propane powered vehicles as well as offering electric vehicle chargers as the Citys downtown parking garage.
The introduction of KLOUD is intended as a strong signal to the region that Kingsport is interested in becoming a more sustainable community, and is doing so with some recognition from the state via Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservations participation in Kingsports recent sustainability events, including providing radon detection kits.
Some of the Citys KLOUD efforts so far this year have included hosting the 13th annual Tennessee Environmental Conference in conjunction with TDEC, conducting an Earth Day celebration including events on the Kingsport Birding Trail, greenbelt and downtown cleanup events with Keep Kingsport Beautiful, and a music and environmental festival at Bays Mountain Park, plus hosting the first ever Zero Emissions Day as a way to recognize those Kingsport residents who are working to reduce fossil fuel emissions on the daily commute.
As part of Zero Emissions Day, which was supported by TDEC, a GoPro Camera was given away to the Brandon Sneed, an employee of a Kingsport industry, whose entry best expressed how he had eliminated fossil fuel emissions on Zero Emissions Day.
These activities transitioned into Mays bicycle month celebration, with a number of city employees using bicycles instead of cars as transportation wherever possible.
One less car trip is the mantra of this local effort to focus on healthy lifestyle choices while decreasing wear and tear on city roads and the environment, Cross said.