Mayor's Office

Press Release

Mayor Parker and HISD Superintendent Grier Propose Possible Cooperative Green Initiatives



December 7, 2010 -- Mayor Annise Parker and Houston ISD Superintendent Terry B. Grier, Ed.D., today announced the beginning of a cooperative strategy between the City of Houston and Houston ISD, including proposals to help increase energy efficiency and implement other sustainability initiatives in Houston schools.


“The City of Houston and HISD both have many resources that can be of use to one another,” said Mayor Parker. “The City of Houston is committed to applying any available resources to help our schools, especially those that can provide our children with a green, sustainable environment.”


“We look forward to building on our existing efforts and implementing new sustainability initiatives through this partnership with the City of Houston,” said Dr. Grier. “HISD has many opportunities to showcase how green initiatives can help save energy and costs while providing yet another learning experience for our teachers, students and staff.”


Last month, Mayor Parker and Superintendent Grier joined other U.S. mayors and superintendents from cities across the country, invited in city-based teams, to participate in discussions on the importance of greening school districts. The Greening of America’s Schools Summit was held November 7-9, 2010, at the Redford Center in Sundance Valley, Utah and was hosted by The Redford Center, founded by Robert Redford; The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), which recently launched the Center for Green Schools; and ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability USA.


In a follow up to the Summit, the City of Houston and HISD include the following possible areas of cooperation and initiatives:


  • Information sharing about green practices through the Mayor’s Director of Sustainability
  • More common gardens for initiatives such as SPARK parks
  • Convene local superintendents for a local green schools summit


Actor and activist Robert Redford and author and environmentalist Bill McKibben served as powerful leading voices to the discussion. “This meeting was inspirational, but more than that, I am thrilled that the dialogue that began here at Sundance will result in tangible action steps that these mayors and superintendents will be able to take back to their communities,” said Redford. “Our discussions affirmed that the environment and education are inextricably linked and that in order for school districts and communities to become healthier environments where people can thrive and learn, we all need to work together.”


Outcomes from the conference will result in a comprehensive report produced in conjunction with the three partnering groups and the American Institute of Architects (AIA), which will come out in early 2011 and be a valuable resource for school districts and city officials nationwide.


In addition to Houston, other participating cities included: Des Moines, Iowa; Salt Lake City, Utah; Pleasanton, Calif.; Charlotte, N.C.; Sacramento, Calif., North Little Rock, Ark., Grand Rapids, Mich.; Houston, Texas; Oklahoma City, Okla.; and Charleston, S.C. Leaders in green design, education, arts and green school advocacy were also invited as part of the Summit discussion.


About the Organizers:


ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability USA

With more than 600 members nationwide, ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability USA is the leading local government association addressing climate change and sustainability. As a non-profit membership organization, ICLEI USA provides the expertise, technical support, training and innovative tools to help local governments advance their climate, energy and sustainability goals.


Redford Center

The Redford Center shapes bold, distinctive programs that creatively, collaboratively, and efficiently address today’s most complex issues. The Center works a catalyst for positive change in four key areas: leadership, community, grassroots, and stewardship. It connects the dots between social problems and environmental ones. It connects storytellers with listeners, artists with activists, and creative potential with the natural world. The Center's events empower program participants and leaders from all sectors both to envision a different way of living and working, and to act on it.


The U.S. Green Building Council

The USGBC community is transforming the way we build, design and operate our buildings for healthier places that save precious resources for people to live, work, learn and play in. UGSBC is helping create buildings and communities that regenerate and sustain the health and vitality of all life within a generation. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Council is the driving force of the green building industry, which is projected to contribute $554 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product by 2013. USGBC leads a diverse constituency of builders and environmentalists, corporations and nonprofit organizations, elected officials, concerned citizens, teachers and students. The USGBC community comprises 80 local chapters, 17,000 member companies and organizations, and more than 150,000 individuals who have earned LEED Professional Credentials.


The Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is how USGBC is making sure every student has the opportunity to attend a green school within this generation. From the kindergartner entering the classroom, to the Ph.D. student performing researching in a lab, the Center provides the resources and support to elevate dialogue, accelerate policy and institute innovation toward green schools and campuses. High-performing schools result in high-performing students, and the Center works directly with staff, teachers, faculty, students, administrators, elected officials and communities to drive the transformation of all schools into sustainable places to live and learn, work and play.