Source: The News Record
By Elizabeth Schmitt, Nov 30, 2018
You may not have heard of Green Umbrella, but almost everyone in the Greater Cincinnati area benefits from the organization’s work — from riding on bike trails to having fresh food in school lunches.
Green Umbrella is a regional sustainability alliance that has collaborated with more than 200 nonprofits, businesses, educational institutions and governmental entities to promote sustainability within the immediate community.
Founded in 1988, Green Umbrella will celebrate its 20-year anniversary Dec. 6. The organization prides itself on being one of the first groups to unite citizens and organizations to preserve the flora and fauna in the Cincinnati metropolitan area, according to Rashida Manuel, director of public engagement at Green Umbrella.
However, the organization’s mission has grown and evolved since its founding. In addition to preserving wildlife and plants, the organization now aims to improve economic vitality and quality of life through sustainable practices, according to its website.
“We have people from the business sector — like Fifth Third Bank, Duke Energy and P&G — [and] then we have concerned citizens and local government employees on our team,” said Manuel. “One of its biggest accomplishments is our ability to bring together all these stakeholders who each work on these issues in a different way.”
Green Umbrella has 7 action teams — energy, greenspace, local food, outdoors, transportation, waste reduction and watershed — that are responsible for making the organization’s goal a reality. Each team meets monthly to share new developments in green practices and devise action plans to implements its “Action Team 2020” goals.
“We set these really bold goals to push the region forward in terms of sustainability,” said Manuel. “Each team is a part of that, and the 20th celebration will be a place for each team to showcase what they have measured their success over the past year.”
At the anniversary celebration, each team will be paired with a locally-prepared dish at its table to represent the type of work the team focuses on, Manuel said. The outdoor team, for instance, will be represented by s’mores.
The organization also focuses on the following three initiatives:
Tri-State Trails — This alliance focuses on implementing biking and walking trails to connect Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio. Recently, Green Umbrella has begun working with the Avondale community to make walking and biking a feasible method of transportation rather than a casual recreational activity.
Greater Cincinnati Regional Food Policy Council — This council provides advice on methods that could further develop a healthy, sustainable food system in Cincinnati. Its largest achievement was enabling schools to offer regionally-grown food in cafeteria lunches.
Cincinnati 2030 District — The nonprofit group recently secured $300,000 in funding to make Cincinnati a "2030 District." These districts follow a national sustainability model that promotes a city's commitment to reducing its energy use, water consumption, and transportation emissions by 50 percent in the next 12 years.