green earthBy Collin Kelley
INtown Editor

As part of the Power to Change sustainability initiative, the City of Atlanta has launched the Ambassador Program to define and unite the efforts of government, business, academia and nonprofits.

More than 70 businesses and organizations have already signed on to become Power to Change Ambassadors, including The Home Depot, Spelman College, The Clean Air Campaign, Ernst & Young, and the Southeast Rainwater Harvesting System Association.

According to Aaron Bastian, communications and project director for the Mayor’s Office on Sustainability, the current focus is on businesses and organizations, but the program will eventually expand to individuals who want to get involved as well.

Organizations are encouraged to register for the program via the new Power to Change website,, which serves as both a public education resource and portal for information on sustainability measures across ten impact areas. Power to Change Ambassadors will provide information about their organizations’ sustainability efforts, building an inventory of Atlanta’s success stories.

Bastian said an example of an “Act of Change” is by the Coca-Cola Company. “The company has become well known for distributing rain barrels to organizations around the community to capture and re-use rainwater,” Bastain said. “Coca-Cola now given away more than 4,000 barrels.”
Here are a few Acts of Change documented:

  • Since the October 2012 launch of Cartlanta, recycling tonnage has increased from 1,079 tons collected to 1,403 tons, an increase of 23 percent. Internally, recycling collection rates in City Hall and other municipal buildings have increased six-fold.
  • The original target of 15 percent energy saving by 2020 has been exceeded in the Department of Watershed Management, in general fund facilities as a group, and the Civic Center.
  • The Home Depot has installed water reclamation tanks at five area stores with projected annual savings of over 500,000 gallons of water.
  • Atlanta Public Schools and the Captain Planet Foundation will install 40 new edible learning gardens at Atlanta schools, taking the total for these gardens to over 50 percent within the school system by year-end 2014.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.