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25% mode shift in Portland is conceivable; Sustainable Heights organizes climate action week

Marc Lefkowitz  |  10/03/11 @ 12:08pm

What does leadership in sustainable transportation look like? Check out Portland's 2030 Bikeway plan. Portland blazed trails among American cities with investments that spurred tangible mode shift: 6% of all trips today are made by bike (in comparison, Northeast Ohioans make about 1% of trips by bike or walking). In Portland, a culture that accepts the idea that mode shift is possible makes a 25% mode shift target sound less hairy.

"By the year 2030, bicycling will be more attractive than driving for trips of three miles or less, so that a minimum of 25 percent of all trips will be by bicycle," Portland's plan begins.

Portland identified six key areas to pursue in achieving this, and has made significant advances?by building neighborhood greenways, providing more bicycle parking, expanding encouragement and education programs, developing better bikeway designs, providing more funding and designing and implementing projects with an eye toward the approved policy objectives.

Now that Cleveland has Complete and Green Streets legislation, it is appropriate to expect a review and improvement of its 2010 Active Transportation Plan, and of its Master Bikeway Plan which was hammered out nearly a decade ago.

· As the world approaches climate chaos and the oil endgame, the big question is not "if" but "how" to make the most momentous shift in the history of civilization: the global transition to clean and renewable energy. According to George Soros, "There is no better potential driver that pervades all aspects of our economy than a new energy economy."

At Bioneers 2011, globally renowned clean energy master Amory Lovins will present "Reinventing Fire," a practical plan and roadmap for how the U.S. can get off fossil fuels by 2050 while simultaneously building a thriving, job-creating economy, led by business. Amory's new book "Reinventing Fire" being released at Chelsea Green.

Amory is here to show that a richer, fairer, cooler, safer world is possible, practical, and even profitable, because replacing fossil fuels now works better and costs no more than buying and burning them. Just add will. As Amory notes of his boldest initiative yet: "Our experience convinces us that the world is short not of oil but of innovation, not of gas but of gumption, not of coal but of courage."

Amory is the co-founder and chief scientist at the Rocky Mountain Institute. He has received countless prestigious awards, including a MacArthur genius grant and a Nissan Prize for inventing super-efficient ultralight hybrid cars.

While Cleveland isn't a beaming site for Bioneers this year, you can check the website for information (and, hopefully, podcasts) of keynote speakers like Lovins. 

· Where do we find the courage to act on our convictions (that stopping climate change is our generation's greatest challenge)? Community-wide events like the Sustainable Heights No Impact week are a good way to test that courage. From October 16 to 23 you can join your neighbors in acting on eight carbon reduction strategies, measure your ups and downs and share your stories. Register here for a fun and engaging How To Guide which will wallk you through each day's challenge.

· Tonight's "What's new with local food?" discussion reconnects the localfoodcleveland.org network, hot on the heels of the discussion of the 2012 Year of Local Food at the city 2019 Sustainability Summit.

· The Fowler Center for Sustainable Value at Case is rolling out "Sustainable Circles" this month. Roger Saillant, PhD, Executive Director of the center and a former Senior Executive at Ford, former CEO at Plug Power and his crew will be consulting for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to help them improve their financial performance by fully embracing sustainable business practices. If you're interested in being one of the nine organizations engaging in a peer community meeting one day a month for six months, coupled with individualized coaching sessions, go here.

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