AUSTIN (KXAN) - Today is earth Day and cities around the world are recognizing the annual awareness day in man different ways.
Austin is known as the Live Music Capital of the World but some also know it as the "Clean Energy Capital of the World."
Sunday, Hundreds of Austinites will gather at the Mueller Hangar to pose for what is being dubbed as the largest-ever aerial photo.
The organization Beyond Coal, part of the Texas Sierra Club, is hosting the event which is expected to draw hundreds of Austinites form 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm.
The group says they will also showcase support for an initiative to move the City of Austin off of the Fayette coal plant. Mayor Leffingwell and City Council members recently pledged their support for the move.
Zach Baumer, Climate Program Manager for the City of Austin's Office of Sustainability will be attending the event which he says is free and will have speakers.
The Office of Sustainability is nearly a year and a half old. Baumer says their job is to coordinate and implement sustainability and climate change initiatives across the city.
"Today we're actually rolling out a brand new initiative at the event..., it's called the sustainability action agenda and we're sort of challenging folks in the community to rethink the way that they live, work and play."
Baumer says they will be passing out fliers with the 40 sustainability-initiatives the city is involved in implementing.
Austin became the first city this year to purchase 100 percent of the power for government operations from renewable energy sources. Baumer says the city has a plan to become carbon neutral by the year 2020.
Last year South By Southwest launched a new kind of conference in Austin called SXSW Eco . The three-day concentration focused on a cross-sector approach to solving recognized sustainability and environmental challenges.
During the SXSW event a three-member panel discussed how cities can better prepare and embrace environmentally sustainable policies. The panel -- Life in the Big City: Unlocking Smart Development -- featured Jeff Smith with IBM, Robin Rather of Austin's Collective Strength Inc. and Melanie Nutter of the San Francisco Department of Environment.
Nutter said that San Francisco is the greenest city in America partly because her group has been working with city leaders over the past decade with a goal to become a Zero Waste city by 2020.
The city of San Francisco's recycling program began as a voluntary effort and after passing a mandatory law, the city now recycles 70 percent of its waste into compost.
San Francisco's building code is responsible for construction projects recycling 65 percent of waste. Nutter said by 2050, 70 percent of the world's population will live in urban areas, making it vital for governments to enact climate-sensitive laws.
Standardizing challenges cities face is a key element to what Nutter sees as a success for San Francisco, which is a C40 member city.
The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group is a network of large and engaged cities from around the world committed to implementing meaningful and sustainable climate-related actions locally that will help address climate change globally. The group was created in 2005 by a former mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, who forged a partnership in 2006 with President Bill Clinton's Climate Initiative Cities Program to reduce carbon emissions and increase energy efficiency in large cities across the world.
"Greenhouse gas emissions reductions needed to avoid dangerous climate change will depend on decisions taken at the sub-national level," said Nutter. "If we're going to tackle climate change, it's going to have to start in our cities."
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