San Francisco Department of the Environment

Letter from the Director

Dear Friends,
 
COVID-19 has shown us how San Francisco can pull together in the face of a seemingly insurmountable challenge. Yet even as we acknowledge our progressive emergence from the pandemic, we are keenly aware of the ongoing and coexisting crises of racial injustice and climate change. The San Francisco Department of the Environment remains committed as ever to our mission to advance climate protection and enhance the quality of life for all San Franciscans. To do so, our work must support a more equitable San Francisco.
 
National calls for racial justice in 2020 spurred us to recommit to a plan of action aimed at eliminating unintended harms and consequences to San Francisco’s Black, Indigenous and people of color communities, while fostering more equitable outcomes for these and other historically underserved residents. In our updated 2021-2023 Strategic Plan, the Department’s commitment to racial equity takes its place as a stand-alone goal and is infused throughout the goals and strategies.
 
The existential threat of climate change has never been more tangible—from more frequent and intense wildfires that degrade our health and quality of life, to worsening drought conditions that threaten farmers’ ability to produce our food. Even though these impacts of climate change cross all jurisdictional boundaries, cities still account for the vast majority of emissions, so bear the responsibility to reduce their lopsided contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. Given this responsibility, the Department continues to innovate bold policies and programs in partnership with our fellow City agencies and communities. And in this Plan, we also acknowledge that significant resources will be required to advance San Francisco’s climate leadership. We formally commit to advocating for the funding necessary to implement the bold climate policies that will lead our city into the future and bring everyone in San Francisco along, together.
 
This Plan also reflects our ongoing commitments to learn from our environmental leaders and empower our community to act in fulfillment of the City’s vision for a more sustainable future. That vision is expressed as 0-80-100-Roots; together, we will achieve 0 waste and 0 toxics, take at least 80% of our trips sustainably, and use 100% renewable energy while reducing consumption. We will also heal the planet through “Roots” actions like planting trees and promoting soil health to absorb carbon and restore natural systems.
 
We are proud to serve the City of San Francisco and help keep it at the vanguard of the greenest cities in North America. We pledge to continue to ensure that community voices—especially those most impacted by environmental injustices—help shape our policies and programs, while improving community access to those same programs and services. In our ongoing work to address the climate crisis, we also pledge to hold onto the lessons we have learned about our collective ability to forge new solutions, take risks that challenge the status quo, and take care of one another. 
 
We are all part of the solution, and the time is now. Please join us.
 
Sincerely,
DEBORAH RAPHAEL
DIRECTOR
Deborah Raphael - Director

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