The annual Environmental Leadership Awards were held on Wednesday, April 24 to recognize students, faculty, staff, and community members who demonstrate exceptional Environmental Leadership in their everyday lives.
The Community Award was given to Mayor Madeline Rogero for her invaluable and lasting impact on the Knoxville community in numerous ways.
Since day one of assuming her role as mayor, she has consistently placed an emphasis on sustainability projects and initiatives through economically feasible and practical methods. Under her leadership, an Energy and Sustainability Taskforce was established and the Energy & Sustainability Initiative was created to help make Knoxville a greener, more sustainable city.
Our municipality is now operating in a greener way to lessen its impact on the environment while also saving money. Additionally, our city has become known throughout the nation as a destination for biking and walking thanks to infrastructure initiatives that make these activities more accessible and plentiful.
Under Mayor Rogero’s watch, the city now also recycles and mulches more, reducing the amount of waste that is sent to landfills. The city has also implemented a number of projects to reduce the percentage of greenhouse gas emissions associated with city operations. Since 2005, emissions by the city are down 15.1% with a goal of 20% reduction from 2005 levels by the year 2020.
In her time as Mayor, a few of her other environmental accomplishments include:
- Over 2,300 contractors being trained in solar and renewable energy applications in 2012
- 24 public electric vehicle charging stations were installed in partnership with DOE & ORNL in 2012
- She received 2013 Energy Leadership – Public Service award from the Energy Efficiency Forum
- Knoxville was named as one of 16 Climate Action Champions by the White House and Department of Energy in 2014
- Secured $240,000 grant from TDEC to support geothermal installation and Public Works Complex in 2015
As if helping Knoxville wasn’t enough, in November, 2013, she was selected as one of 26 governmental leaders to serve on a task force that advised President Barack Obama on climate preparedness and resilience-building efforts.
Mayor Rogero has taken the steps as mayor to make Knoxville a leader in environmental and sustainable behavior for other cities and communities to follow. She believes Knoxville’s strength comes from the diversity of its people and the beauty of its natural resources.
She is a complete inspiration that leads by example in the ways governments can progressively move forward with sustainability initiatives while ensuring positive economic growth as a core value instead of just an added bonus and also expertly avoiding partisan political issues that can too often crop up.