Here are some tidbits and observations as a participant at the SC2019, Sustainable Cleveland Summit.
I’ll try to get some more out on here soon.
I’ve been to many of these types of these events. Often, they’re called summits, conferences, seminars, or training camps. They are all 1-3 days long and discuss a social ill or goal in mind, and while you’re at the event, you’re often excited about the issue and are eager to take action. However, after the event is over, organizers and participants fail to capture the created momentum and implement it into actions.
As I walked into the summit on Wednesday morning, I felt optimistic about this one than I have felt for others. Although some of the working groups established at the first summit in 2009 fell apart, a few of them, including Green Building, Local Food, Alternative Transportation, have not, and are getting things done.
So, here goes some notes:
- This summit was said to be more business-friendly, a colleague at my table told me. There were more presentations by businesses than I had expected, by Sherwin-Williams and Ford, amongst others, demonstrating how practicing sustainable business practices led to reduced costs or increased revenues [although a certain paint company forgot to mention during their presentation of sustainable business practices throughout their history when they stopped using lead in their products, haha].
- Andrew Watterson announced that there will be recycling containers along the sidewalk in downtown by the end of 2011.
- A Piece of Cleveland, a deconstruction company, (owned by fellow Kalamazoo College alum), mentioned there’s a huge market for furniture made out of constructed materials. This market is for affluent clients and businesses (some of his cited clients include the Restaurants Fahrenheit and Touch). I hope for the market to eventually expand to most building but that will require for deconstruction prices to go down. For the prices to go down, there has to be cheaper ways to deconstruct or or other new materials would have to increase their prices.
- There are at least 8 cities who have adopted zero waste policies (including San Francisco, Austin, Seattle, San Jose, and others ones that have new environmental policies). I wonder if those cities have reached their zero waste goals yet and whether these policies includes businesses in the city.
- One major kudos to the organizers: they invited several [probably about 10-20] high school students to participate.
I only spoke to one of them for about 30 seconds, a young man from John Marshall HS, who asked me and the rest of us during a very chaotic small group brainstorming session if any of us would be interested to speak at his school about careers in green industries. Until then, I had not thought about the value of having teenagers at the summit. Not just for the summit’s sake, but for their own sake. As I was in the discussion, trying to make sense of all of the thoughts and confusion going on in our brainstorming group, I remembered that I would have been in that guy’s shoes.
I remembered about a few older adults in my life that provided advice and guidance and mostly importantly, their own experiences and career path were models for me to follow, Without them, I probably would not have known about the opportunities and perspectives that I have come to known and experienced. As an adolescent, I heard about these types [after the fact, they were already over] of conferences, events, and opportunities, and sometimes wondered how to access or learn about those opportunities [and looking back, although there were some I didn't have, I know that I'm fortunate to have the opportunity and access to some experiences and events: ones that a Cleveland Public high School Student probably doesn't have].
I regret not talking to them more at the summit, hearing their ideas and thoughts about the summit. I gave him my email address and I hope he contacts me. I’m sorry I forgot to ask for his contact information.
Some other quotes:
“The best plan that we have is the one that we do.” Frank Jackson