Ann Arbor is a small town in Michigan that, like so many small towns across the Midwest, has been hard-hit as industry has increasingly moved away or overseas. A pleasant place with small hills and tree-lined streets, Ann Arbor has never had any distinguishing characteristic: no classic architecture, no famous music hall, no museums of note. Just a standard small town with a little main street, like so many other thousands littering the region.

But now, at last, Ann Arbor has done something to help it stand out, something of which — after so many years! — it might rightly be proud.

ann arbor train station
mike_miley
This is the town’s train station! Adorbs.

From AnnArbor.com (it doesn’t even have a real newspaper!):

The Ann Arbor City Council took action Monday night to adopt a Climate Action Plan, a 188-page document that outlines dozens of ways to reduce the community’s carbon footprint.

Building on previous environmental goals set by the City Council, the new plan recommends three targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the coming decades.

That includes a goal of reducing the entire community’s emissions by 8 percent by 2015, by 25 percent by 2025, and by 90 percent by 2050 — all relative to 2000 baseline levels.

I mean, first of all it’s cute that such an insignificant town has a city council! Just goes to show you that democracy can take root in even the driest soil.

But, second, this is a good idea. The city’s plan includes improved energy efficiency, transitioning to renewable energy production (right now, I believe they use an old coal furnace out back of Doc Bridge’s), increasing food labeling so that residents know how much carbon dioxide was produced for each item, and reducing recycling and garbage pickup. Interesting steps that could probably only fly in such a small backwater.

The city has already seen a drop since 2000 in the amount of carbon dioxide produced in its commercial and industrial sectors — a success that it hopes to increase across the board.

“This is one more step in a long history of action that we’re taking and recognizing that a global problem like climate change is more than we can handle on our own,” [Council Member Chuck] Warpehoski said.

I mean, how great is that? It’s like when they have a big pledge drive on TV and a little kid sends in a quarter from her piggy bank because she wants to help. Ann Arbor, you are the cutest little thing. Let’s hope that this, if nothing else, gives you something to be proud of.

P.S.