Topeka Sustainability Advisory Board

The Topeka Sustainability Advisory Board (TSAB) was established by the Topeka City Council in 2008 to serve as an advisory board to the council. The mission of the TSAB is to promote and advocate for policies that support sustainability. This specifically includes but not limited to environmental assessment, waste reduction, recycling, energy conservation in the city of Topeka, and enhancing the quality of life by improving the City's efforts in these areas. The Sustainability Advisory Board meets on the first Friday of the month. Everyone is welcome and participation is encouraged.
2019-2020 Report Summary: The need for robust and courageous action on behalf of our planet never has been more important. While we are well aware that the City of Topeka alone will not solve the climate crisis, we believe the City can:
  • Do more to promote and celebrate the important work City of Topeka departments are doing right now to support a sustainable future. Examples: Methane capture upgrades and award-winning bio¬solids program at the Oakland Wastewater Treatment Plant; Lime slurry stabilizer for alley surfacing projects; native plants in roundabouts; etc.
  • Consider each decision through the lens of environmental impact ensure staff time can be focused on sustainability.
  • Utilize its resources to educate our community about actions each individual and household can take to create positive change.
  • Take courageous action toward a no/low-emission sustainable vehicle fleet. Three starting points: The replacement fund, Automatic Vehicle Location devices to reduce idling, and effectively allocating resources.
  • In 2010, the City adopted a plan to reduce energy consumption by 10 percent by 2020. Unfortu¬nately, that hasn’t been properly tracked until this year. We encourage adoption of new targets and applaud recent efforts to understand current energy consumption and lower that use, led by Utilities staff. We recommend increased alternative energy use, such as grid-tied solar panels on City facilities.
The report includes updates related to food access, shelter, energy, waste management, transportation, greenspace, and quality of life considered as public education and public health.
Download your own We Are the Keepers coloring book

The We Are the Keepers Coloring Book project was a partnership between the Topeka Sustainability Advisory Board and Topeka’s Tonantzin Society. Drawn by Indigenous artist Mona Cliff, the book explains the principles of the Environmental Commons for a young audience: We have collective responsibility for Mother Earth, and our shared access to air, water, land, and food. The coloring book was released in celebration of Earth Day 2021 and is distributed for free printing by Mulvane Art Museum at Washburn University.

Increase your sustainability

Greenspace high in biodiversity maximizes environmental services. If you want to see and enjoy butterflies, add native plants such as milkweed (for Monarchs) and parsley or fennel (for Swallowtails) and stop use of pesticides and any neonicotinoid-treated plants.
We want to build a lasting quality of life in Topeka and to help the earth in the process.

Urban greenspace helps our community health by improving climate, air, water, physical/mental health and socialization. Parks, playgrounds, biking and running paths are important parts of our city.

Plant shade trees, especially those that have a large positive effect on the web of life. These are called Keystone species. The National Wildlife Federation tells us which are most important for local areas by county & zip code. https://www.nwf.org/nativeplantfinder
Here are the top recommendations for Topeka and Shawnee County:
  • Trees & shrubs - native oaks, cherries, willows, pecan, cottonwood, maple and elm
  • Herbaceous plants - Goldenrods, asters and sunflowers, beardtongue, penstemon and more.
Healthy yards help our watersheds and streams. They conserve and clean water by filtering pollutants--even more effectively when we add swales, riparian plants, and permeable paving.

Help preserve natures beauty