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Sustainable Cleveland 2019 – Day Two of Summit

August 13th, 2009 · 1 Comment

What are the best things that can come out of a creation like this Sustainability Summit? Good ideas and a commitment to action, would be my guess.  Tomorrow is the last day and the answer to that question will get hashed out then.  Will we meet again?  How will we each decide to get involved to get into the action phase?  Stay tuned, more tomorrow.

In the meantime, just a few thoughts on today:

1.  Today was even better than yesterday in many ways, so it must be good, considering it starts at 8am each day.  Today was more about workshops than speakers and we all broke up into groups imagining Cleveland in 2019. The nice part about this group and this Summit is that it never sounds just like dreaming. 

2. I constantly have ideas running around in my head as the conference goes on.  I also hear lots of discussion while we are working on our assigned workshops, and I can tell from the conversations that people are not even thinking about dropping the ball after the conference. That is what I like, positive energy and action and no whining.  Speaking of that,

3.  Two full days of no whining about how govt, business, fill in the blanks, do not do anything for Cleveland they just talk.  Instead we are focused on how to really bring Cleveland into the Sustainability necessary in the 21st Century. 

4.  We had a terrific morning speaker, Ray Anderson of Interface, a carpet company.  He made a commitment in the 90s to take his company green. Yes the way you would imagine (green energy sources to cut overhead), but also in a way you might not imagine.

Interface started reclaiming old carpet.  Carpet is petroleum based and getting rid of old carpet is costly and useless and wasteful.  But that was always the system.  Until Interface.  They now ‘sort of’ sell carpet to you if you want it, but in reality you are renting it, for however long you want it.  Two, five, 20 years?  No problem.  When you want new carpet they reclaim the old one and recycle it into new carpeting.

The best part?  They have seen their profits double in the last decade of doing this.  Can this profit be attributed solely to reclamation and better energy sources? Maybe not.  But what it does tell me is that they doubled their profits even after turning their company green.  Kind of makes you want to run out to every business you know and spread the word (yes I plan on doing  just that, it’s my new calling. More about that later).

Tremendous amount of time spent brainstorming ideas today.  That was incredible.  In one of my groups, we had to prepare a presentation for the group around our ideas and came up with a few things worth mentioning right off the bat. No more blue collar or white collar, just green collar.  The idea being, why differentiate? Instead, make everyone feel the pride of being a green collar worker.  This means you don’t have to be working for a company making energy efficient products like solar panels.  You can still be working in your law office.  If your company is greening up and the building they own is being ‘greened,’ then  you are a green collar worker.  This all makes sense to me, as well as a goal of making Cleveland a green mecca.   Believe me when I tell you, no one in that room seems to think this is not possible.  Stay tuned!  Peace Out -3C

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Tags: economic development · Ideas

1 response so far ↓

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