The possible next steps coming out of Cleveland’s Sustainability Summit, chaired by Mayor Frank Jackson, were wide-ranging – a mix of the immediate and the longer term; the feasible and the unusual; and the visionary and, of course, the outlandish. Here’s a sampling (with no bias as to which ideas fit in which categories):
1. A pledge to lead, and encourage others to lead, a sustainable life; with the pledge punctuated by “so be it.”
2. Introduction of a “GrOhio” program with the goal of training 10,000 farmers to grow 10 percent of Ohio’s food within 10 years.
3. Creation of a Freshwater Institute to capitalize on Cleveland’s Lake Erie waterfront.
4. Development of an advanced energy center and sustainable design and manufacturing center.
5. Designation of Cleveland to Toledo as an alternative energy corridor.
6. A citywide commitment to green buildings, including new buildings and retrofits.
7. Creation of an economic development fund for sustainability; successful entrepreneurs would pay back the money they receive so the funds could be recycled for additional entrepreneurs.
8. A “waste to profit” program, including making insulation out of phone books and other common waste.
9. A traveling road show to take the sustainability message and tools into neighborhoods and other small group settings.