Green Umbrella in the News

  • May 18, 2022 3:05 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: 91.7 WVXU

    For Some Greater Cincinnatians, Every Day Is Bike to Work Day

    by Lucy May

    May 20 is National Bike to Work Day. But for some folks, that’s every day.

    According to 2020 American Community Survey five-year aggregate data, roughly 9,000 workers in Hamilton County don’t have a car available to them and roughly 400 ride their bikes to work regularly.

    That may sound like a tiny number, but it could be growing, given the nation’s continuing bike boom, increasing bicycle infrastructure in our region, widespread availability of e-bikes and growing awareness of the environmental impact of motorized vehicles.

    There are many reasons why people ride a bicycle to and from work and other vital destinations: to get more exercise; because they can’t afford a car or don’t have a driver's license; to reduce their carbon footprint; or just because it’s fun.

    But bike commuting in Greater Cincinnati presents challenges along with joys. Gaps in safe cycling infrastructure, inclement weather and danger from drivers on the roads are all part of a bicycle commuter’s calculus when riding to work.

    Joining Cincinnati Edition are avid cycling commuter and Queen City Bike President Joe Humpert; long-distance bike commuter Daniel Iroh; and Wade Johnston from Tristate Trails. They'll talk about the benefits and challenges of commuting by bike, opportunities for improvement in Greater Cincinnati’s cycling infrastructure, and why bike commuting for some transcends a mere way to get to work and represents a distinct lifestyle.

  • May 17, 2022 3:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Soapbox Cincinnati

    Groups Name Popular Well-Building Startup as Sustainability Winner

    by Movers and Makers

    May 17, 2022

    The StartupCincy ecosystem named a well-building firm, co-founded by a newly graduated Xavier University student, as its first winner in a new collaboration.

    Ripple Water combines the sale of high-quality water bottles for the purpose of solving the global water crisis. For every 1,000 water bottles sold, Ripple builds a well that provides clean water to communities in need, giving them the gift of life. Ripple is a for-profit, but is awaiting federal tax-exempt status for the nonprofit it has set up to help it build wells, the 10th now happening in Uganda.

    “All four of the ‘Green Room’ startup competitors have creative products that solve real-world problems,” said volunteer coach Brian Tibbs, vice president of finance and business intelligence at Monti Inc.

    “This was a close competition with Ripple winning by just two points. Ripple set themselves apart with their unique business concept and funding potential. They have a solid presentation and backed that up with well-prepared answers to the judges’ questions.”

    Alloy Growth Lab, formerly the Hamilton County Development Co., and partners Cintrifuse, Flywheel, the University of Cincinnati, Sustainable Cincy and Green Umbrella hosted the pitch competition highlighting cutting-edge startups in the sustainability space. The pitches and voting took place April 28 at MadTreet Brewery.

    The other three startups competing were:

    • Inland Shrimp is an indoor shrimp farm that provides premium fresh, never frozen shrimp, locally through the use of patented technology and a proprietary high growth, high nutrient feed formula.
    • Clean Earth Rovers tackle the problem of marine debris. Its Plastics Piranha is engineered to skim marinas and collect 300 lbs. of waste per trip.
    • Micronic Technologies is developing revolutionary wastewater cleaning technologies. Its water purification system, the Tornadic One-Pass, harnesses the science and power of a tornado to clean toxic water.

    As winner, Ripple Water receives six months of complimentary membership to space at Alloy Growth Lab, a one-year membership to Cintrifuse, 100% paid scholarship to the Queen City Angel Bootcamp, consultation and document preparation from Ulmer & Berne, a one-year membership to Green Umbrella and a ticket to the Midwest Regional Sustainability Summit. Ripple (we are the ripple | official website) was co-founded by new Xavier alumni Zach Kane. Just a few months ago, Ripple won the top prize at the Entrepreneurs’ Organization’s national pitch competition.

    The “Green Room” collaboration brought together startup ecosystem partners to focus on sustainability in the Cincinnati marketplace. Ripple is among a host of credits — Sustainability Innovation in Cincinnati – Cintrifuse — Cincinnati is taking for its sustanability economy.

  • May 16, 2022 2:51 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Cincinnati Magazine

    This Year’s Midwest Sustainability Summit Will Explore Strategies for an Equitable, Climate Prepared Region

    by CM Sales

    May 16, 2022

    Join hundreds of business, nonprofit, government, and community leaders at Xavier University’s Cintas Center on Thursday, June 16 for the 2022 Midwest Sustainability Summit, hosted by Green Umbrella. Whether you’re passionate about enhancing sustainability at your workplace or in your neighborhood, there are topics for everyone. The Summit will cover a variety of issues from creating healthier buildings, outdoor learning gardens at schools, and community composting programs, to learning how Cincinnati and other cities are creating a climate-conscious future. You’ll walk away feeling inspired, with tools to help influence change and innovation.

    “Anybody who cares about the health of our communities and the innovative things that are happening in the region around sustainability would want to come,” says Charlie Gonzalez, member relations and events manager for Green Umbrella. “Food, infrastructure, energy, healthy communities, climate action—there’s something for everyone.” Much of the Summit will focus on environmental justice, including programs to plant more trees in underserved communities to improve air quality, reduce heat, and lower energy bills. In neighborhoods like Lower Price Hill, Bond Hill, and Roselawn, residents were empowered to be climate advisors as part of a community engagement process to develop climate strategies for their neighborhood that will inform the Green Cincinnati Plan. The project’s success, and plans to expand the program to other neighborhoods, represent an example initiative that will be highlighted at the Summit.


    Keynote speaker Kristin Baja, director of direct support and innovation with the Urban Sustainability Directors Network, will share insights from her work helping cities across the nation identify effective climate strategies. She will join Cincinnati mayor Aftab Pureval, Dayton mayor Jeffrey Mims, and Limamayor Sharetta Smith to discuss how Midwest cities can enhance their climate resilience in equitable ways and work together to make the region a national leader of sustainability.

    Additional talks and sessions throughout the day include:

    • Your Vision – the Future of the Green Cincinnati Plan (an interactive workshop)
    • Equitable Data-Driven Decision Making for Environmental Justice Initiatives in Greater Cincinnati
    • How to Start a Green Team in Your Congregation
    • Revolutionary Strategies for a Climate Safe Region
    • Accelerating Climate Action Through Democracy
    • Resilient Composting: A Story of Collaboration in Cincinnati
    • Are Aviation and Sustainability Mutually Exclusive?
    • Strengths-Based Stories for Resilient Communities
    • Sustainability Action in Appalachian Ohio
    • Buildings as Medicine: How Better Design Removes Environmental Stressors
    • Calm Climate Anxiety: Connect & Balance Emotions, Spirit, and Action
    • Charting a Sustainable Course: How to Create a Local Climate Action Strategy
    • Innovation in StartupCincy for an Equitable, Climate-Prepared Region
    • A Food Secure Community: Resilience Through Relationships, Trust, and Local Solutions
    • Better Housing: Equitable Decarbonization through Collaboration
    • Better Building: Driving the Triple Bottom Line with Design
    • Success Through Collaboration: The Rockdale Urban Learning Garden
    • Wasted Food Stops with Us
    • Benchmarking for Better Communities
    • Introduction to the Cincinnati Recycling & Reuse Hub
    • Decarbonizing Existing Buildings – A Historic Opportunity
    • Explore Cincinnati’s Foodshed

    The event is in person, and the main stage will be live streamed to allow for virtual attendance. For the full schedule and to register, visit http://midwestregionalsustainability.org.

    Field trips across Greater Cincinnati

    The day after the conference, on Friday June 17, Green Umbrella partners will host a series of field trips and community activities. Even if you aren’t registered for the Summit, you can attend any of the field trips for free. Sign up at http://midwestregionalsustainability.org.

    Ready to learn more about sustainability and attend the conference?


    Visit the Midwest Sustainability Summit’s website to register for the 2022 event and learn more about the speakers and program.

    Green Umbrella is grateful for the generous support of the event’s main sponsors, who are invested in helping create a more sustainable and climate-prepared region:

    “Fifth Third Bank is committed to reducing our environmental footprint, managing our climate-related risk, and to helping our customers and communities transition to a more sustainable and inclusive future. We are proud to again sponsor the Midwest Sustainability Summit to engage with this community to further our shared vision.” –Thomas Neltner, senior vice president, director of enterprise workplace services and chief security officer

    “Verizon believes this is a breakthrough moment for business action on climate change, which is why we’ve strengthened our commitment to sustainability and have set a goal to reach net-zero operational emissions by 2035. Verizon has become one of the largest corporate buyers of U.S. renewable energy, entering into long-term renewable energy purchase agreements for substantial renewable energy capacity and has issued four $1 billion green bonds. Supporting local sustainability efforts like the Summit is part of our overall mission to make our networks and the communities we serve more climate resilient. These donations and programs align with Verizon’s goal to help move the world forward through our Citizen Verizon initiative, which centers on Digital Inclusion, Climate Protection and Human Prosperity.” —Jessica Cohen, Director of community engagement, Verizon

    “The Brueggeman Center for Dialogue at Xavier University is thrilled to be a top sponsor of the 2022 Midwest Regional Sustainability Summit because of its broad and inclusive approach to sustainability, recognizing that the environmental, the human, and the social are interconnected. In the spirit of Pope Francis, Xavier is committed to this kind of an “integral ecological” approach to sustainability.” —Bill Madges, faculty director The Edward B. Brueggeman Center for Dialogue

  • May 10, 2022 2:44 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Soapbox Cincinnati

    The Queen City Receives Her Crown

    by Eliza Bobonick

    May 10, 2022

    The Queen City has long struggled with its image. Once known as Porkopolis, and commonly viewed as overweight and unhealthy, Cincinnati is famed for piles of spaghetti topped with unconventional chili and mounds of cheese, and as being the home of all-too-often underdog sports teams. Outside of its low cost of living, the city has had issues regarding desirability as a place to live or visit for generations. Over time, notoriously polluted air and waterways and episodic discord due to racial unrest have also marred the nation’s collective view of the city.

    The humble queen has undertaken some serious self-reflection and subsequent action in recent years. The results are evident in a once-again bustling downtown and riverfront district – as well as safer, happier, more inclusive communities surrounding its inner core.

    Now, the heart of the city is pumping that momentum for change outward, circulating these renewed assets to the farthest corners of Cincinnati’s outermost and least served communities. Across county lines and jurisdictional barriers, different factions (often strange bedfellows) are working together to break through acquisitional stumbling blocks and financial barriers. Collectively, they are weaving a massive crown of green inclusivity to adorn the queen and elevate the possibilities of the surrounding area – in the form of an immense multiuse trail.

    The final product has the potential to vastly improve residents’ quality of life in innumerable ways. But the painstaking crafting of this crown is largely about making connections. Bridging the gap between public and private entities and linking various community gems, the aim is to share the wealth – drawing residents of all communities out of the shadows and into the light, together.

    CROWN is a clever acronym for Cincinnati Riding Or Walking Network. Per the CROWN Cincinnati website: “Once complete, The CROWN will connect more than 356,000 people in 54 communities to major destinations like parks, schools, and centers for employment, retail, recreation and entertainment. This walkable, bikable loop will also be fully separated from roadway traffic, providing a safe and accessible option for all Cincinnatians to gather and be active outdoors.”

    While many portions of the path have been in existence for some time, the current objective of CROWN is to finish vital connective segments in order to close the proposed 34-mile loop. Directing these efforts is a steering committee comprised of leadership from Cincinnati Parks, The City of Cincinnati, Great Parks of Hamilton County, Wasson Way Board and others. The committee determines the next logical steps for applications of grant money as it becomes available in order to smooth and expedite the entire process.

    “So the plan is for a 34-mile loop around the city – link up the Wasson Way Trail, Little Miami Scenic Trail, the Ohio River Trail, and the Mill Creek Greenway,” explains Wade Johnston, Director of Tri-State Trails and member of the CROWN steering committee.

    “When we launched our campaign, we had a focus for connecting 24 miles in the loop. It has already completed the Wasson Way Trail from Xavier to Ault Park and hooked up with a path that goes into Mariemont called the Murray Path,” continues Johnston. By 2026, Johnston hopes to see the initial 24-mile plan completed.

    The entire 34-mile loop is on track to be fully connected within the next ten years. Wasson Way will be joined to Uptown via a link to Martin Luther King and Reading Road. Grant funding has already been designated for this portion via the steering committee.


    “That's going to tie into Evanston, Avondale and touch Walnut Hills to reach some communities that have historically been left out of the trail network. And I'd say that's one of our proudest accomplishments,” asserts Johnston, who runs Tri-State Trails from under the wing of nonprofit Green Umbrella. “Originally the city planned to stop the trail at Xavier, and we, as a part of our fundraising campaign, convinced the city to make this segment a priority.”

    Johnston also takes pride in having formed a public-private partnership creating the opportunity to utilize a rail corridor owned by SORTA Metro (Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority) that runs from Xavier to MLK, as well as the the connection of the Western Way corridor from Mariemont down to the Little Miami Scenic Trail.

    It’s been a labor of love for avid trail user Johnston, who often bikes as far as he can near his east side home and then hops on the Metro with his bike in tow.

    “Right now, Great Parks of Hamilton County is building a bridge over the Little Miami River at the end of the Little Miami trail to Lunken Airport. That is a huge, huge connection that will connect our region's longest trail to downtown Cincinnati,” says Johnston, who will personally benefit from this leg of the trail.

    Lighting, safety and trail maintenance concerns are significant details that will need to be worked out to ensure the trails are a positive experience for residents regardless of the time of day or season. Increasing community awareness is key to generating support and involvement for the ongoing care that the trails will require as provisions for proper use.

    But for now, while the funding is flowing in, the focus is on allocating it quickly and building the framework.

    “We're at a very pivotal moment. We've got a lot of money that is coming down the pipeline from the federal government for infrastructure, and at the same time we have a lot of aging infrastructure in Cincinnati – crumbling roads. In my view, this is the moment to prioritize,” says Johnston.

    With this new type of green infrastructure, the hope is to turn the focus away from repaving fractured roadways and to instead lessen their use by promoting walking and biking options. Decreased use of public roadways will slow their decay, as well as lower vehicle emissions.

    “Cincinnati metro area currently ranks F for ozone particulates or ozone pollution,” laments Johnston. “That's a stat from the American Lung Association, and the number one contributor to ozone is vehicle emissions. And so, by connecting to these employment centers and places that people want to go, we hope that it will reduce the impact on our air.”

    He looks forward to seeing underserved, highway-adjacent communities such as South Fairmont and Avondale (whose residents are struggling with widespread respiratory illnesses) benefitting from cleaner air, as well as increased access to healthy foods via trail connectivity to local grocery stores. Johnston hopes this will hinder the spread of diabetes in these areas, which are often “food deserts.”

    In addition, increased employment opportunities for those living in underdeveloped areas due to enhanced transportation capabilities will be the icing on this large, green cake.

    “People will be able to safely and comfortably ride their bikes from many different neighborhoods to get to our region's two largest employment hubs, uptown and downtown,” notes Johnston. “It's going to be a game changer.”

    All Cincinnati communities, regardless of their situational or economic characteristics, could and will benefit from the ease of access to healthful activities the CROWN will provide.

    Michele Gottschlich has a background in health care and works for the Red Cross. She has been heavily involved and invested in supporting local community trails, primarily the Triangle Trail, for many years. Gottschlich is now working to encourage all areas toward backing the development of the CROWN out of concern for Cincinnati’s collective health, as well as local economies.

    “I worked in the hospital setting. I've got a PhD in nutrition, and I worked there for 25 years and became so frustrated with all the red tape. We weren't being successful with people's long term chronic health needs,” says Gottschlich. “Trails represent the perfect preventative medicine and intervention. With diabetes, cardiovascular, cancer and osteoporosis all being rampant – trails are a wonderful umbrella to reach everybody’s health.”

    Gottschlich established the Connecting Active Communities Coalition to encourage locals to be more active outdoors pre-pandemic. She says that involvement mushroomed due to COVID limiting indoor activities.

    “Now even more people realize the value of outdoor recreation, but what is much more challenging to me is trying to reach stakeholders about the value that trails bring for economics,” says Gottschlich.

    “These communities that are economically disadvantaged are slower to jump on board because, while they appreciate it and they definitely value outdoor recreation, their mindset is so focused on their community development and funding. You look at Arlington Heights, Lockland, and Reading. They are the ones that I want to help the most. And they're like, ‘We understand, Michele, but we’ve got to figure out a way to bring business back to the community.’ They just don't see that's the link,” she says.

    The link Gottschlich refers to is the enhanced opportunity for commerce within and between all communities along the CROWN’s path that increased trail access will provide. Retail, restaurant and other business developments will find an attractive traffic flow of weary travelers in need of respite or retail therapy while on a break from their trail excursions. Those from adjacent areas seeking different goods than what they can find in their own localities will also contribute to neighboring communities’ economies.

    Gottschlich sites a personal example pertaining to an upcoming event called Canoes and Conversation which seeks to connect elected officials to the work being done and the resulting possibilities being offered by the revitalization of the Mill Creek watershed: “I was trying to get one of the local caterers for this Canoes and Conversation event, and he said, ‘Well, it'd be great if we could keep our employees, but they can't get to work.’ And we have the same situation in Evendale. In an industrial park, they can't get employees to work,” explains Gottschlich.

    “Well, if we had a trail, they could certainly get to work. We’re working with ODOT and Through the Valley on the situation about abandoning the highway, northbound, so that they merge the two highways together south, down through Lockland. They want to provide grants, but will Lockland embrace this opportunity to build a trail there?” Gottschlich wonders.

    Beyond those setbacks, Gottschlich also faces issues of fear and racial intolerance from more well off communities, even from their leadership.

    “You’d think in this day and age that people are beyond bigotry. I gave a talk to these leaders in the community, and the chair had the audacity to say to me, ‘I love your vision. It’s fantastic. But I'm not going to support it if this is going to link Lincoln Heights to Evendale. I don't want that crime. I don't want those people coming this way.’ Can you believe that?” asks Gottschlich, baffled.

    Evendale itself stands to benefit greatly from the connections being made as a part of the CROWN. A bond with nearby community treasure Sharon Woods is being constructed via a trail portion along an abandoned railway leading up the Mill Creek.

    “There used to be a rail line that went up Sharon Creek up through Sharon Hill, through what is now Sharon Woods that hadn't been used in decades and was abandoned. It took a while, but we negotiated to purchase that corridor,” says Dave Schmitt, Executive Director of the Mill Creek Alliance. “They're giving us a conservation easement on it and we're going to do all the stream restoration work which is going to stabilize the banks and the floodplains, which in turn provides the path.”

    According to Schmitt, the trail is often what brings people to the stream. The action taken by the Mill Creek Alliance over the past two decades has created a vast local resource out of what was once designated the “most endangered urban river in North America” by conservation group American Rivers. Now the Mill Creek teems with fish and wildlife, and is safe for residents to explore. This is largely thanks to the work done over the years by the Mill Creek Alliance. Schmitt believes the trail is a natural extension of the creek.

    “You want to provide access to these natural areas, and the trail does that. It brings people back to the stream, and connects these different wonderful parks like Sharon Woods and Winton Woods and Glendale Gardens,” says Schmitt.

    Todd Gailar recently purchased a golf and mini golf facility on a multi-acre tract of land along the Mill Creek. He is encouraging utilization of the Mill Creek by his patrons as well as drumming up increased business via canoe goers along the stream. He has put in a nice pull off and launch for those drifting by to access The Acres as a rest stop, and added a restaurant to increase its appeal. With the coming expansion of the trail right alongside his property, he envisions increased future benefits for all involved.

    In the summer of 2021, while Gailar was prospecting the location, he got in touch with Schmitt through the Mill Creek Alliance. Gailar was concerned about the water quality of the stream, and wondered if it would be an asset or a drawback for his business.

    “I wouldn't just buy a golf driving range with a mini golf facility. To me, it had to have some component to connect to nature,” says Gailar. “This is like, you’re going there to do something else. But ‘Oh my gosh, there was a bald eagle!’ or ‘I saw a turtle!’ I think those are the things, to me, that are like the element of surprise. It’s the magic that suddenly you've now connected people to this piece of land.”

    Gailar will continue to develop and tweak his business model while awaiting the upcoming trail connectivity. The entire process of connecting the CROWN could take awhile, but anticipation and excitement is building all around, with different developers, investors and communities making plans for the future.

    “Our master plan told us that the community wants public space and green space—and communities connected with trails. And that's a top priority for us,” says Todd Palmeter, CEO of Great Parks of Hamilton County. “So, we are currently building the Beechmont Bridge, which is in the CROWN. The funding was all secured through Great Parks of Hamilton County—whether it was federal funds, state funds or our capital project funds.”

    Also in the works, according to Palmeter, is a portion coming through Mariemont running east to Newtown called the Columbia Connector. Funding for that piece is to be generated this summer.

    “Overwhelmingly, people want to live in communities that are walkable and bikable and safe. Cincinnati doesn’t have a coast with an ocean. We don't have a mountain range like Colorado. But we do have these beautiful river valleys and the scenic hillsides. That's where the topography lends itself to building a trail, and where we have had old, historic rail corridors that we've been able to repurpose,” says Johnston.

    “On the west coast, there are water shortages and wildfires, but we are very water secure in Cincinnati,” adds Johnston. “We are building an amenity with the CROWN that is going to attract people to live here and make people want to stay here.”

  • April 21, 2022 4:45 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: UC News

    Earth Day is Every Day for UC Sustainability Stewards

    By Melanie Schefft

    April 21 2022

    “Incorporated into all new campus construction, UC seeks to consider the environmental, social and economic impacts of its decisions,” says Daniel Hart, sustainability coordinator in the Department of Planning + Design + Construction. “Our award-winning buildings and landscapes are designed to reduce their environmental impact by creating sustainable systems. 

    “And we continue to incorporate the concept of sustainability into our academic and research programs across the institution.”

    Until 50 years ago, it was legal for industry to spew black clouds of toxic smoke into the air or dump tons of toxic waste into nearby waterways. But in April 1970, U.S. Sen. Gaylord Nelson created Earth Day to force this issue into the national agenda. After successful demonstrations across the country, later that year Congress authorized the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to tackle environmental issues.

    Today, a growing group of sustainability stewards all across UC’s campus continue to carry out the original Earth Day mission: from awareness to action. 

    Earth Day Activism

    Windows outside the newly remodled LCOB.

    UC's Carl H. Lindner College of Business

    With national Earth Day celebrated on April 22, events across all four UC campuses are bringing that awareness to green energy initiatives and improved built environment. Currently, 15 campus buildings hold at least silver LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification — the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance “green” buildings. The recently rebuilt Carl H. Lindner College of Business holds LEED gold because of its green roof, bioswale water diversion and reuse system and high-quality thermal UV-rated windows, just to name a few. 

    “UC was awarded $30,000 in grant funding from the Ohio EPA to build upon our efforts of putting connected landfill and recycling stations throughout our buildings, making it easier for people to recycle,” adds Hart. “We also joined the Green Sports Alliance program this year, pledging our support of sustainability through athletics.”

    Programs across campus that enhance the use of recycling practices, local sourcing of foods and healthy living initiatives such as campus pollinator gardens and UC’s Bike Share program are all highlighted among the Earth Day events that run throughout the month of April — culminating with the winners of this year’s Sustainability Awards Program.

    Green Innovation Gets the Gold

    UC Sustainability Awards, presented to a top student, faculty and staff member, as well as a research initiative that promotes sustainability across campus, were all awarded during a virtual ceremony on April 15 by Tim Brown, UC industrial design alum and CEO of Allbirds, a footwear and apparel company dedicated to making the most sustainable items by using natural materials.

    UC Clermont Pollinator Garden with native plants and a stone water diversion

    UC Clermont College Pollinator Garden. photo/Danny Kidd/UC Clermont Marketing Services

    Recognized for their innovation, impact, practicality, inclusion and for building a culture of sustainability, the 2022 awards were presented to:

    • faculty member Andrew Bernier, a visiting assistant professor of STEM education in UC’s College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services, was recognized for focusing his work on how to design, integrate and amplify sustainability into teacher preparation, particularly to new teachers serving in urban environments. Faculty are awarded for their dedication to creating a strong commitment to sustainability through teaching and/or service.
    • Staff member Kevin Peck, associate director of maintenance operations at UC Clermont and UC Blue Ash colleges, was awarded for demonstrating an exemplary commitment to the enhancement of UC as a living laboratory and to integrating sustainability into UC’s operations. Peck was instrumental in securing funding for and supporting the Clermont College Pollinator Garden created in 2021.
    • Student Mitchell Singstock, a medical student in UC’s College of Medicine and president of the Medical Student Sustainability Club, was awarded for his leadership and innovative ways of solving problems to enhance UC’s culture of sustainability. Singstock hosted speakers on the implications of climate change on patient’s health and for designing creative ways UC College of Medicine can be more sustainable.
    • Carrie Trott was recognized for outstanding research innovation for her dedication to cultivating a culture of sustainability at UC and beyond. Trott, a community psychologist and UC assistant professor of social and community psychology, co-authored the “2021 Cincinnati Climate Equity Indicators Report.” The report presents research into 52 Cincinnati neighborhoods, detailing climate factor inequities and suggesting actions to rectify them. The report, hosted on the Office of Environment and Sustainability website, is a collaboration between the city, UC, residents and community partners including Green Umbrella and Groundwork Ohio River Valley.

    Climate Action at Work

    UC's Sustainability + Climate Action Plan cover showing McMicken Hall in background

    UC’s Sustainability + Climate Action Plan continues to incorporate, promote and support sustainable behaviors, including those around climate change into academic classes and programs. 

    Among the efforts is UC’s Food Waste Prevention’s program to recycle coffee grounds and food waste. By integrating a food waste tracking system called LeanPath into campus dining halls and food courts, UC helps reduce pre-consumer waste as the staff prepares food. 

    “Using LeanPath technology, we have measured and reduced food waste in CenterCourt and MarketPointe@Siddall dining centers by 65% since 2017,” says Katy Wahlke, director of food services in UC’s Campus Services. “Two dining centers are also composting post-consumer organic food waste that may be generated from uneaten food.

    “We also purchase produce for the salad bar for On the Green food court from the locally grown 80 Acres Farms.” 

    A novel Sustainable Invention Immersion Week brought new interdisciplinary student and faculty teams together to connect design and innovation to the science of sustainability. By the end of the week, teams learned to:

    • apply user-centered design
    • use the principles of green chemistry and life cycle thinking to design a sustainable product
    • communicate a product’s message and company’s values through digital storytelling
    • construct a viable business model with an identified target market while developing an effective sales pitch

    Since publishing the first Climate Action Plan in 2009, UC's Clermont College campus continues to be recognized for its use of green wind energy and the resulting savings from the U.S. EPA’s Green Power Partnership Recognition program.

    And, to support UC's mission, vision and commitment to enhancing resiliency in a future that is sustainable for all, UC Utilities has developed and launched an initial Utilities Sustainability Master Plan as an effective roadmap for achieving those long-term goals and strategies.

    PACES (the President’s Advisory Council on Environment and Sustainability), UC’s all-university sustainability committee open to all staff, students and faculty, continues to lead the way toward sustainable efforts that impact behaviors now and into the future. PACES meets once a month during the fall and spring semesters and is a great place to network with others. For the team's link, email Green@uc.edu.

    James Mack, UC professor of chemistry and chief executive officer of the Venture Lab-backed startup Cinthesis, helped develop a new method of chemistry to make a wide range of products such as agriculture, pharmaceuticals and plastics more environmentally friendly. This process reduces waste and the need for using volatile organic compounds that are harmful to the environment, says Mack in an earlier news story. 

    While innovators like Mack and his partners eliminate toxic solvents in the emerging field of mechanochemistry, others across campus also find UC the place to be for working on solutions today for a sustainable impact on tomorrow.

    Find the article at its source here.

  • April 21, 2022 4:41 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Taft Law

    Bilott To Receive Earth Day Festival's Environmental Award

    April 21 2022

    Taft partner Rob Bilott will receive the Greater Cincinnati Earth Coalition Environmental Award for the Business category at the Greater Cincinnati Earth Day Festival on Saturday, April 23 in Blue Ash. The board voted unanimously for him to receive the 2022 award for his work in environmental-protection law and literature.

    Dubbed by The New York Times Magazine as “The Lawyer Who Became DuPont's Worst Nightmare” in an article published on Jan. 6, 2016, Bilott has represented a diverse array of clients, nationwide, who have been harmed by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), also known as “Forever Chemicals.” His work is the subject of a recent feature film, “Dark Waters,” and the documentary “The Devil We Know,” and is detailed in his book, “Exposure: Poisoned Water, Corporate Greed, and One Lawyer’s Twenty-year Battle Against DuPont.”

    Bilott is a member of Taft's Environmental, Litigation, and Product Liability and Personal Injury practices and is a board member of Less Cancer and Green Umbrella.

    Access the article from its source here.

  • April 21, 2022 4:31 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: WVXU

    Celebrating Earth Day with Local Events around Greater Cincinnati

    Interview by Lucy May

    April 21 2022

    This year marks the 52nd anniversary of Earth Day, the birth of the modern environmental movement. In 1970, Senator Gaylord Nelson created Earth Day to raise public awareness about air and water pollution. Today Earth Day is observed by more than a billion people every year and the event has taken on greater urgency as we witness the devastating impacts of climate change.

    Here locally there are many Earth Day celebrations to mark the occasion. Friday, April 22 the IBEW Net Zero Training Center is hosting a Solar Town Hall with panelists sharing the latest on solar technologies. On Saturday, April 23 is the Greater Cincinnati Earth Day Festival at Summit Park with 125 exhibitors. Also Saturday is an Earth Day celebration at the Lick Run Greenway with a volunteer cleanup, Lick Run tours and workshops.

    Joining Cincinnati Edition to discuss Earth Day events in Greater Cincinnati are Greater Cincinnati Earth Coalition Chair Chuck Lohre; Green Umbrella Cincinnati 2030 District Director Elizabeth Rojas; and Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati Wastewater Collection Division Assistant Superintendent Larry Falkin.

    Plus, what do you do with all of those recyclables that aren’t accepted at the local facilities for processing. What about jeans with so many holes you can’t take them to the Goodwill? And Styrofoam, does anyone recycle that? The answer can be found in one place, the Cincinnati Recycling and Reuse Hub. It’s a receiving warehouse for your old computer monitors, batteries and tires. Many items can be taken for free, some for a fee, then they do the sorting and distributing.

    Joining Cincinnati Edition to explain how it works are Cincinnati Recycling & Reuse Hub Managing Director and Recycler-in-Chief Colleen McSwiggin; and Board President Erin Fay.

    Listen to the Cincinnati Edition interview here.

  • April 19, 2022 4:20 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Spectrum News

    GreenCharge: Event Focuses on Making Cincinnati Leader in Sustainability, Climate Tech

    By Casey Weldon

    April 19 2022

    CINCINNATI – When you think of tech and startups, the first thing that comes to mind isn’t likely to be the environment or climate change. But a new event in Cincinnati focuses on just that.

    World Earth Day is Friday. To commemorate it, the organization Startup Cincy will host a mini-conference at Union Hall in Over-the-Rhine on Wednesday centered on building a local ecosystem for green leadership and innovation.

    The event, titled GreenCharge, will bring together tech entrepreneurs, business leaders, elected officials and sustainability experts for an afternoon of discussion about climate change and Cincinnati’s response to it.

    There will be three panels focused on the business aspects of going green – from startups to massive corporations. Topics include attracting talent to corporate responsibility.

    A major focus is climate tech, or technologies explicitly focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and addressing the affects of global warming. Climate tech represents “$2.5 trillion opportunity” for greater Cincinnati, according to Pete Blackshaw, CEO of the startup accelerator Cintrifuse.

    The event starts at 3:30 p.m.

    “We’ve assembled a stellar panel of speakers to debate the leadership and talent requirements for winning in this space,” Blackshaw said. “We’ll also go deep on important questions around the convergence of sustainability and equity.”

    Greater Cincinnati tops national scorecards in green rankings, and corporate leaders recently pledged to host first-ever “zero waste” World Cup, Blackshaw said. He praised City Hall for recent environmental efforts, including committing to have an entirely electric fleet, including public safety vehicles, by 2035.

    “Startups like 80 Acres Farms are reshaping the global landscape of sustainable, healthy food, and our Mayor (Aftab Pureval) and City Council literally rode bikes together to their swearing-in ceremony,” he added.

    Pureval and City Council recently announced funding to update the Green Cincinnati Plan, the city’s guidebook for creating environmentally conscious policies. The city updates the plan every five years.

    A key player in the Green Cincinnati Plan process is Green Umbrella, a nonprofit that brings together a regional cohort of governments, corporations and nonprofits to tackle environmental and sustainability issues.

    They’ll help host the GreenCharge event along with Cintrifuse, FlyWheel Social Accelerator and Alloy Development Co., formerly known as HCDC.

    Ryan Mooney-Bullock, executive director of Green Umbrella, described the event as an opportunity to hear from employers like MadTree Brewing and Ingage Partners about how they’ve created a “highly engaged workforce through a variety of ESG and employee engagement strategies.”

    ESG stands for environmental, social and governance, and it’s used to describe company goals beyond profits and revenue.

    Mooney-Bullock will moderate a panel on attracting and keeping talent through “green goals” and employee engagement.

    “When a company takes action to improve its sustainability—whether that is by decreasing energy or water use, improving fuel efficiency or decreasing waste to landfill—they are most often also decreasing costs because they are using less of a resource,” she said.

    The benefits aren’t just financial, Mooney-Bullock said. Seeing their employer committed to a positive impact on the planet can be “hugely motivating for employees,” she added. She cited a 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey that showed 62% of millennials wanted to work for a company that makes a positive impact and 84% considered it their duty to make a positive impact through their lifestyle.

    A study published in Harvard Business Review (“The Comprehensive Business Case for Sustainability”) showed a company’s engagement in sustainability creates a culture that employees want to be in.

    “Turnover is extremely expensive for companies,” Mooney-Bullock said, so investing in sustainable practices can both attract and keep top talent.

    One company that’s seen those benefits firsthand is MadTree Brewing Company. MadTree's co-founder, Kenny McNutt, will wrap up the day with an on-stage interview about the brewery's environmental efforts.

    Sustainability and innovation are core elements of MadTree’s business model, according to Rhiannon Hoeweler, the Cincinnati-based brewery’s director of strategic impact. They believe in that mission so much that the company’s name and logo feature a tree.

    “We couldn’t be more excited to share why sustainability and impact are important to the core of our business and also reflect on how it’s beginning to pay dividends in our recruiting and staffing efforts,” Hoeweler said.

    MadTree is striving for B Corporation (or B-Corp) status, which is a certification of for-profit companies related to their social and environmental performance.

    The brewery posts an annual impact report on their website. The most recent year on file is 2020. During that year, they planted 2,193 trees and recycled 36,400 plastic handles.

    Inside the MadTree taproom, customers can toss a buck to go to nonprofits they partner with via 1% for the Planet.

    All spent grain from the brewing process gets fed to cows at a farm about 29 miles away from MadTree's Oakley facility.

    The brewery is also part of Cincinnati’s 2030 District, a collection of property owners, developers and commercial tenants who’ve committed to reduce their carbon footprint by 50% by the year 2030. They’ll do so by finding innovative ways to cut down on energy use, water consumption and transportation emissions.

    The District recently added a member and now up to 44 partners. As a group, the District currently includes 319 buildings and 28.1 million square feet of space that aim to reach that goal.

    “Sustainability and impact have always been part of the MadTree story, and we now have a position and programming in place that allow us to amplify our voice in the community around the work,” Hoeweler said.

    Access the article from its source here.

  • March 22, 2022 4:19 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Movers & Makers Cincinnati

    By Katie Fiorelli

    March 22, 2022

    Wade Johnston has brought a vision of a connected, vibrant, cutting-edge Cincinnati closer to reality this past year as the director of Tri-State Trails.

    “We want to put Cincinnati on the map and think the trails will do that,” Johnston said.

    Wasson Way Wasson Way

    For the past seven years, Johnston has led Tri-State Trails, organized in 2012 by Green Umbrella, Greater Cincinnati’s 20-year-old member-, individual- and foundation-supported environmental sustainability alliance. The trails organization is an alliance of community advocates whose mission is to connect people and places with a regional trail and bikeway network that enhances vibrancy and equity.

    Rethinking the organization

    Johnston and his organization kicked off 2022 by reorganizing the way it operates and meets, with momentum from successfully raising $10 million from private sources to leverage $44 million in public funding for the high-profile project called the CROWN – Cincinnati Riding Or Walking Network. 

    CROWN is a vision for a 100-mile transportation network made up of multi-use trails and on-road bike lanes. It will result in Cincinnati’s first-ever urban trail loop by connecting several key regional trails that are currently noncontiguous – Ohio River Trail, Little Miami Scenic Trail, Wasson Way, and Murray Path. By constructing key connectors between these trails, the CROWN will complete the eastern 24-mile portion of a 34-mile loop.

    Johnston studied urban planning at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning, where biking around the city became a passion. 

    Wade Johnston of Tri-State TrailsWade Johnston of Tri-State Trails

    “When you’re young and impressionable, it’s easy to envision how your life can be hyper local, how a bike can change the way you think about transportation and proximity to goods and services,” Johnston said.

    While the CROWN – which attracted funding from P&G, Kroger Health, United Dairy Farmers and 450 businesses, foundations and individuals – is the highest profile project, Johnston’s organization is bringing together a far wider consortium of public and private organizations, spanning both sides of the Ohio River and reaching north into Butler and Warren counties.

    Private funding will prove vital, as construction projects are feeling the squeeze of the supply-chain crisis, with Johnston reporting 20% to 30% increases in the cost of materials and labor. Still, silver linings remain.

    Huge increase in usage

    “During the pandemic, so many people turned to parks, trails, and outdoor spaces as a place of refuge for mental and physical health,” Johnston said. “Trail use increased dramatically. We documented 14 million miles traveled on the trail system in 2019; in 2020, we documented 22.7 million miles.”

    2022 will mark the sixth year of Tri-State Trails monitoring trail usage across the region. Using data as a membership perk, the organization plans to launch a membership model to help keep expansion going.

    Beyond donating to the CROWN, local businesses are embracing it, launching new ventures to capitalize on increased foot (and bike) traffic. In 2021, Busken Bakery launched a walk-up window near Edwards and Madison as a convenient way to grab a coffee or donut while traveling the Wasson Way Trail. Listermann Brewing Co. opened the Listermann Trail House at the western point of Wasson Way’s current trail, where walkers, bikers and joggers can drop in for pizza and beer.

    More to come

    In terms of additional trailside amenities, Johnston encourages patience.

    “We are laser focused on the asphalt for now,” he said, “but are looking forward to enhancing the trail with public art, landscaping and lighting. We will do that by building support for more public funding.”

    The CROWN team is currently designing signage and wayfinding systems for the whole network that will link up all the trails, and are considering the Roebling Bridge as a potential spot to officially “launch” the trail.

    Wasson WayWasson Way

    While Cincinnatians have largely shown support for the CROWN, some questions have been raised about safety on the trail. Johnston is well-aware of the concerns.

    “One of our largest goals is to find funding to construct lighting along the trails,” said Johnston. “However, in general, trails have been proven to reduce crime. With more people walking and biking in an area, it discourages people from conducting illicit activities in the space. Keep in mind, parts of what will become the CROWN were derelict rail corridors that no one is monitoring. By building a trail, we are making it an attractive public place.”

    How you can help

    Tri-State Trails is organizing a number of ways for people to get involved:

    Active Transportation Coalition, a semiannual open gathering of citizens interested in transportation issues. The first meeting was March 23.

    Regional Trail & Bikeway Committee, a quarterly meeting of professionals and practitioners.

    13th annual “Breakfast on the Bridge,” May 20.

    “Ales for Trails,” benefiting the CROWN, July 1.

    Tri-State Trails Trail Summit, Oct. 26.

    The organization has narrowed its governing body from a 20-member executive committee, in place since the organization’s formation, to a leadership council consisting of Matt Butler and Jody Robinson, Devou Good Foundation; Frances Mennone, Frost Brown Todd; Sean McGrory, Wasson Way and CROWN; Ryan Mooney-Bullock, Green Umbrella; Todd Palmeter, Great Parks of Hamilton County; and Tanner Yess, Groundwork Ohio River Valley.

    Johnston’s enthusiasm for the project, and its potential to help transform Cincinnati’s image into that of a modern, top-tier city, radiates throughout his work.

    “More people are choosing to ride or walk to work,” he said. “We’re getting cars off the road, reducing air emissions, and helping people live healthier lives. When it comes to attraction and retention of talent, they are looking for the types of amenities the CROWN offers. For the first time in 60 years, the last census registered population growth. We want to be on the list of ‘Great Cities for Active Living,’ and that’s within reach, becoming a reality in our lifetime.”

    http://www.tristatetrails.org

  • February 16, 2022 4:15 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: WVXU

    By Tana Weingartner

    February 16, 2022

    topical trail mapCourtesy/Great Parks: The trail will extend from the West Fork Mill Creek Greenway Trail through Glenwood Gardens, connecting into the Harbor Loop Trail in Winton Woods.

    Great Parks of Hamilton County reports it has the final piece of funding for a plan to connect several trail systems. The park district says it's been awarded a $6 million federal grant to complete the Glenwood Gardens to Winton Woods Trail.

    The federal transportation funds are distributed by the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments through the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) program.

    The planned trail extension is 3.6 miles, reaching from the West Fork Mill Creek Greenway Trail through Glenwood Gardens to the Harbor Loop Trail in Winton Woods.

    Work is slated to begin in 2025 on this section of the trail. All together, the multi-use trail will connect 9 miles, passing through Forest Park, Greenhills, Woodlawn, Springfield Township and a wooded area of the Glenview Golf Course.

    "This grant further highlights Great Parks' leadership in regional trail development which was the public's top priority in the development of the Great Parks Comprehensive Master Plan," writes Todd Palmeter, CEO of Great Parks in a release. "The Master Plan also calls for building more partnerships with trail-building entities and increasing the level of service for trails, both keys to this project."

    The first phase of the project — building a bus stop, crosswalk and sidewalk near Glenwood Gardens at the existing end of the West Fork Mill Creek Greenway Trail — is slated to begin in 2023.

    "This path builds on a broader vision to link major greenspaces in the Mill Creek Valley with a regional trail network," writes Wade Johnston, director of Tri-State Trails, in the release. "Over time, we hope to connect this corridor to Cincinnati's CROWN trail network to the south, the Great Miami River Trail to the north, and Sharon Woods to the east."

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