Below is a news release issued by Denver Mayor Michael Hancock’s office on Monday:

DENVER – Mayor Michael B. Hancock today issued a community challenge to residents and businesses to take additional steps this April to help create a more sustainable Denver in observance of Earth Month.

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“This is a great opportunity to raise awareness about working together to make Denver one of the most sustainable cities in the nation,” Mayor Hancock said. “From apartments to skyscrapers, I urge residents and businesses to take advantage of the many city-sponsored programs that aim to help us save water, conserve energy and reduce pollution.”

In February, Mayor Hancock accepted President Obama’s Better Buildings Challenge, committing the City and County of Denver to reduce energy use 20 percent by 2020.  Better Buildings Denver includes several programs to help residents and businesses conserve water and energy while achieving cost savings through education, rebates and implementation of sustainability practices.

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Mayor Hancock also recently signed onto the National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation, a nationwide competition from March 30 to April 30 between cities to see who can be the most “water wise.”  Denver residents are asked to make a series of informative, easy-to-use online pledges to conserve water and cut pollution.

“To realize the Mayor’s vision of delivering a world-class city where everyone matters, we must work towards building a sustainable city for generations we may never meet,” said Michele Weingarden, Director of Greenprint Denver. “By signing up for one of our many free programs, you can help Denver make significant progress towards attaining these goals.”

In addition to promoting Better Buildings Denver and the National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation,  Denver’s Department of Environmental Health, Greenprint Denver and its community partners will be hosting a series of Earth Month events including the Earth Day Denver 2012 in Civic Center Park on April 18.

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The Mayor will also be posting “Earth Month Tips of the Day” on Facebook to encourage sustainable actions throughout April.