Champion Sustainability

In San Diego, we pride ourselves on not just having an amazing environment, but actively caring for our natural resources so they are available for generations to come.

To champion sustainability, we envision:

  • San Diegans have equitable access to high-quality, healthy, preserved open spaces.
  • The City of San Diego provides a built environment that best sustains our natural environment and public health.
  • A resilient San Diego that can adapt to, recover from, and thrive under changing climate conditions.
  • San Diegans benefit from diligent, innovative waste management.
  • The City of San Diego leads by example with zero emission vehicles, net zero emission facilities, and resilient and efficient delivery of services.

To realize these outcomes, we have developed the following strategies and metrics

Systemic inequity continues to impact the quality of life for many San Diegans, particularly communities of color. Climate equity requires addressing historical inequities, allowing everyone to fairly share the same benefits from climate solutions and burdens of climate change.

  • Prioritize equitable investments in parks and open space in areas with the greatest deficiencies.
  • Utilize Climate Equity Fund and pursue additional funding sources to invest in projects within vulnerable communities.
  • Prioritize projects and climate actions that provide air quality improvements and other core benefits in vulnerable communities.

San Diego Snapshot:
2021 Climate Equity Index

Source: City of San Diego 2021 Climate Equity Index scores:

Open space and natural habitat work together to create great air quality and they are important pieces of our overall sustainability strategy in San Diego. We are working to preserve natural open spaces and diverse habitats that everyone can enjoy and that also help sustain our future.

  • Design a healthy, sustainable park system that preserves critical habitat and open space and protects biodiversity.
  • Implement land management and watershed protection practices that restore wetlands, urban canyons, and other natural lands that assist in climate mitigation and resilience goals.

San Diego Snapshot:
Environmental Quality Indicators

Source: City of San Diego 2021 Climate Equity Index scores:

Our Strategic Plan champions sustainability in the built environment with specific initiatives like building our tree canopy and adding more green spaces in urban areas. In addition, we are focusing on a variety of water-related strategies including improving stormwater infrastructure, safeguarding water recreation opportunities through pollution prevention and diversifying our drinking water supply.

  • Develop programs and design guidelines to promote expanded green spaces in urban areas. 
  • Increase San Diego’s urban tree canopy, with a focus on historically underserved communities.
  • Improve stormwater infrastructure and keep residences and businesses safe through proactive maintenance and innovative technology.
  • Safeguard recreation opportunities by preventing pollution; improving water quality for outdoor activities; creating multi-benefit green spaces; and enhancing parks.
  • Diversify San Diego’s water supply. 
  • Invest in and implement Pure Water Phase 1 and 2. 
  • Improve and maintain existing water and wastewater infrastructure.
  • Reduce dependence on imported water.

Track Our Progress

Source: City of San Diego Climate Action Plan Annual Report 2020

Our Strategic Plan supports the City of San Diego’s Climate Action Plan: Our City, Our Future, a comprehensive strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preparing for climate change. We are working to equip our residents for the impacts of climate change and engage them in sustainability actions we can take together.

  • Provide easily accessible education resources and grow community awareness of climate change.
  • Develop resilience hubs, cool zones, and other infrastructure to safeguard residents from the impacts of extreme heat in the most vulnerable communities.
  • Prioritize, protect, and uplift the City’s most vulnerable communities in our climate resilience efforts.

San Diego Snapshot:
Flood & Fire Risks by 2020 Census Tract

Source: City of San Diego 2021 Climate Equity Index scores:

One key way we champion sustainability is by responsibly managing our waste and diverting waste from our landfills. The City’s Strategic Plan calls for supporting existing community-based programs that focus on waste diversion and reduce food waste by giving edible food to recovery organizations, composting, and recycling.

  • Divert organic waste and solid waste.  
  • Maximize capture of methane before it is released into the environment.  
  • Expand capacity and infrastructure for recycling and composting. 
  • Broaden public education and outreach to promote waste reduction and circular production practices.

Track Our Progress

Source: CalRecycle

The City is setting the standard for championing sustainability with our own operations clearly defined in the plan. Strategies include converting fleet vehicles to zero emission electric vehicles, investing in renewable energy to power municipal buildings, and installing photovoltaic or solar panels on City facilities to ensure all buildings meet the highest green building standards.

  • Decarbonize City facilities by phasing out all use of natural gas in municipal buildings by 2035.
  • Convert 50% of all municipal fleet vehicles to zero emissions vehicles by 2030.
  • Increase electric vehicle adoption in the City’s fleet.

Track Our Progress

Source: City of San Diego Department of General Services