Sustainable & Connected: Santa Monica celebrates 30 years of the Sustainable City Plan

March 21, 2024 3:26 PM
by Amanda Grossman

On Sept. 20, 1994, the Santa Monica City Council adopted the Sustainable City Plan, a set of groundbreaking policies – distinguished for their broad scope and measurable targets – that earned Santa Monica worldwide acclaim as a leader in sustainability.

Inspired by the Rio Convention of 1992, the Sustainable City Plan, or SCP, is a comprehensive framework for community sustainability designed to enhance the city’s resources, prevent harm to the natural environment and human health, and benefit the social, cultural and economic well-being of the community.

Many of Santa Monica’s subsequent strategic plans have derived from the SCP, including but not limited to the Climate Action and Adaptation Plan, the Zero Waste Strategic Plan, the Sustainable Water Infrastructure Plan and the Electric Vehicle Action Plan. These strategic plans, along with additional policies and projects, help guide the city’s work to achieve our goals of water self-sufficiency, zero waste and carbon neutrality.

In recent years, the city has continued to demonstrate its leadership in sustainability by completing groundbreaking projects, earning esteemed certifications and setting ambitious policies, including but not limited to:

This milestone of 30 years of sustainability in Santa Monica, and the city’s vision for a sustainable future, would not be possible without the support of this community. Your actions, even the small ones, have a collective impact. Here are some small steps you can take to reduce your environmental impact even more:

Conserve water: check for leaks, install low-flow shower heads, install low-flow faucet aerators, install a Water-Sense toilet, replace turf with native species, install drip irrigation, run full loads for laundry and dishes, skip the car wash, report water waste.

Collect water: install a rain barrel, cistern or rock garden. Collect shower water with a bucket for watering plants and other non-potable uses.

Reduce waste: Choose a reusable item (as opposed to disposable), repurpose materials for a second/third use, minimize purchases, purchase in bulk (versus individually packaged items), bring your reusable tumbler, container, and utensils when disposables are the only option.

Divert waste: Sort and separate materials into appropriate bins. Recycle recyclable materials and organic materials. Install a backyard compost, drop off organics at the community compost program at Marine Park, attend a Resource Recovery and Recycling event, and drop off household hazardous waste at an event or request a pickup.

Enhance the natural environment: Plant and protect trees, pick up litter or grow pollinators plants.

Electrification: Switch to electric appliances. Install a heat pump.

Energy: Reduce energy usage, unplug unused devices, choose the 100% renewable energy option through the Clean Power Alliance, install solar panels, conduct an energy assessment, check out a Sustainability Toolkit from the Santa Monica Public Library.

Transportation: Opt for sustainable modes of transportation – walk, bike, or take public transit. Switch to an electric vehicle. Carpool.

Other: Reduce meat and dairy consumption, shop local Farmers Markets, support local businesses, volunteer, vote and attend a public meeting

Together, we will continue to make Santa Monica a beacon for sustainability and climate resiliency for the next 30 years!

Follow the Office of Sustainability on Facebook and Instagram to learn more about the history of sustainability in Santa Monica and what you can do at home to be part of Santa Monica’s vision. 

Additional Resources:

Sustainable City Plan Performance Dashboard
Sustainable City Plan (ENGLISH | SPANISH)
25 Moments that Celebrate 25 Years of Progress in Santa Monica

Authored By

Amanda Grossman
Sustainability Analyst


Programs, Sustainable and Connected