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28 rooms to bootstrap a more sustainable Cleveland this year

Marc Lefkowitz  |  08/11/15 @ 3:00pm

At this year’s Cleveland sustainability summit (Sept. 16 + 17), the city plans to crowdsource solutions to issues ranging from what to do about a missing mode shift goal to how it can prevent huge amounts of soil and phosphorous from poor land use and agribusiness decisions from contaminating the lake.

At the summit<br />The annual Sustainable Cleveland 2019 summits bring hundreds of people together to review progress and design new initiatives that will make Cleveland a green city on a blue lake.

The city is circulating a ballot to narrow down the field of 28 “innovation sessions.” It wants to leverage the hundreds of people who participate at this year’s 7th annual summit with this crowd’s inclination to greening the city.

Each session was submitted by individuals and organizations who have some stake, so there is promise of follow through.

Among the great and important topics that need discussion and cultivation, here are some of the big ideas that, even if they don’t make the summit cut, should get air time.

  • David November at Tri-C wants to connect sustainability to school curriculum
  • Erin Huber wants to raise a toast of Cleveland tap to the thirsty (and get you to put down that sports drink)
  • Linda Zolten Wood wants to show you how to paint a rain barrel and make less water pollution a beautiful thing.
  • David Beach wants to take the enthusiasm for biking and transit rippling through the community and figure out how to turn that into a real, measurable goal for transportation funding.
  • Tom Lilly of ABS Materials wants to brainstorm how a new material developed at Wooster College can be scaled up to handle water pollution spilling into rivers and the lake. 


  • This group wants to form a Green Ribbon Commission to make Cleveland’s lakefront a world-class place.
  • 

The Forest City working group wants your help coming up with a Cleveland tree plan that would literally green the city (again).
  • Empower Gas & Electric is a new company in town that wants to figure out a way of empowering renters to make energy efficiency improvements.
  • Ohio Sierra Club wants help with a citizen science effort to monitor local water quality
  • Sarah O'Keeffe at University Hospitals wants to tackle the micro bead plastic pollution that has been found at alarming levels in Lake Erie
  • Nicole McGee wants to talk about how an Upcycle Parts Shop and district taking shape in St. Clair-Superior could be a model sustainable economy for Cleveland.
  • Jackie Bebenroth of The Spice Companies wants to create more information about where to find local food and get it in the hands of potential customers.
  • The Cuyahoga County Department of Sustainability wants to start up a clean energy financing hub to connect with renewable energy consumers.
  • A group working on climate resiliency will present a picture of what climate change could look like in Cleveland, and then seek ways of bracing for the worst.
  • Austin McGuan a lawyer at Squire Patton Boggs, Andy Jones, CEO of MCPc, and Bike Cleveland Executive Director Jacob Van Sickle will explain how your company (like theirs) can be a Bike Friendly Business.
  • Bike Cleveland wants feedback on where a citywide bike share system could serve the most people in need of this innovative transit service.
  • Wendy Kertesz, Director, Northeast Ohio Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council will discuss what it takes to have green building “guts.”
  • CiCLEvia will discuss bringing back the car free festival to Cleveland.

In addition to these open source sessions, the summit will feature inspiring speakers and an opportunity to contribute ideas about how Cleveland can develop into more sustainable life support system.

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