Earlier this year the Seattle City Council set a lofty goal for the city: total carbon neutrality, or as close to it as we can get, in 20 years.

Seattle City Council Member Mike O'Brien set up eight citizen task forces (for eight topics: transportation, green jobs, energy, neighborhoods, land use, youth, food systems, and zero waste) to figure out exactly how the city would accomplish this. All eight groups will present their proposals to the Seattle City Council on September 14.

Task force members include former land use and environmental blogger Ashley DeForest (on Food Systems), Carl Woestwin of Seattle Public Utilities (on Food Systems), Sara Nikolic of Futurewise (on Land Use), Craig Benjamin of the Sierra Club (on Transportation), several members of Garfield High School's Earth Corps (on Youth), former Peter Steinbrueck aid, state ledge candidate, and current American Institute of Architects p.r. staffer Stephanie Pure (energy) among many others.

Among the pitches we might hear next week: residential diaper composting, rezoning neighborhoods for more walkability, raising parking rates, requiring environmental science courses in Seattle Public Schools, promoting buy-local campaigns, banning plastic bags, and supporting efforts to build high-capacity transit.

O'Brien assistant Esther Handy says that the Council will act on some ideas immediately and plug the rest into a comprehensive plan for carbon neutrality, which the Council hopes to complete by the end of 2011.

Some of the workgroups  relied largely on community input, particularly the Neighborhoods task force, which still has an Ideascale board running. But others, notably the Green Jobs and Energy task forces, had no functioning websites and were low-profile. Handy says the Council stayed in regular contact with the workgroups and "facilitated" discussion, but the task forces were responsible for their own organization.

The City Council also plans to use the September 14 meeting to decide on a name and a logo for the initiative.
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