Green Cincinnati. It’s ubiquitous these days, with our civic progress appearing both in national headlines and at eye-level, in the bike-shares and local markets that seem to spring up almost daily.
If you’re struggling to keep up with all this change—in a good way, of course!—or if you just have two cents to share, head to Northside Tavern at 6 p.m., Oct. 10 for the free, public “State of the City” environmental forum
The forum, organized by Cincinnati Green Group
, hopes to recreate the success of last year’s event, which saw over a dozen city council candidates fielding questions—on everything from curbside recycling to fracking—from more than 150 attendees.
This year will feature WVXU
’s Ann Thomson as facilitator, with speakers Mark Fisher from the Cincinnati Zoo
and Neil Seldman from the DC-based Institute for Local Self-Reliance
Cincinnati council members will be on hand once again for Q&A.
Larry Falkin, director of Cincinnati’s Office of Environmental Quality
, will deliver the State of the City address. Falkin plans to highlight recent strides in the areas of energy, green building and waste management, as well as a number of transportation solutions—such as the forthcoming Zip Car auto-share program—making Cincinnati debuts in 2012.
Falkin points to the Green Cincinnati Plan, an 80-point sustainability blueprint officially adopted by the city in 2007.
“We wanted to use less energy, more renewable energy, and we had a series of strategies for how to get there,” he says. “In five years, city government has done energy efficiency retrofits on 70 city buildings and installed solar energy systems on 20 city buildings. We’ve created a nonprofit organization and gotten funding for them to do work in the private sector, and that organization, the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance, has completed energy retrofits on more than 1,000 homes.”
As a city, Falkin says Cincinnati reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 8.2 percent, surpassing the goal outlined in the 2007 plan.
Falkin also plans to discuss Cincinnati’s energy aggregation program, which now provides 100 percent renewable energy for 60,000 residents and small businesses.
Despite recent progress, there is still room for improvement, particularly in recycling and adoption of zero-waste strategies that other cities use.
“There are communities around the nation and around the world that have made zero-waste pledges,” says Melissa English, Development Director for Ohio Citizen Action
, an 80,000-member coalition that canvasses the state promoting environmental consciousness. “[These cities] pledge to send as little as possible of their waste streams to landfills or incinerators, and instead recover those materials—which is essentially money, it’s resources that we’re choosing to bury in the ground—and put that back to work in our economies.”
The environmental group leader points to the Rumpke landfill as an example of how much waste the region still discards ineffectively.
“We have the nation’s sixth-largest landfill in our county, in Colerain Township, and it’s not just the city of Cincinnati that’s filling it up,” English says. “Any sort of zero-waste strategy will be much more effective and farther-reaching if it is [adopted as] a regional strategy.”
Find out more:
• Post questions in advance of the event.
for the State of the City environmental forum.
• Download the city’s sustainability plan.
By Hannah Purnell