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Both Feet in the Past, One Eye on the Future

January 24, 2011 – The security guard where I work was kind enough to bring me the Dec/Jan issue of EcoWatch, an environmental journal published in Cleveland. I’d never seen it before, and was encouraged to find that such a thing existed in the nation’s most in-love-with-the-status-quo state. It’s the brainchild of Stefanie Penn Spear, the founder and executive director. She’s been an environmental activist for more than 20 years, and – so her “Letter from the Editor” reads – is dedicated to educating Ohioans about solution-based sustainability projects. While that needs to say “solutionS-based,” it sounds like an excellent starting point.

The front page carries an article titled “What is Ohio’s Green Energy Future?” Given that a Republican governor was just elected, one who ran on a platform of – and I quote – everyone “pushing and pulling together,” the author may well ask. Ohio’s Advanced Energy Fund (AEF) will “run out of gas” if not renewed by the legislature this year. John Kasich, our new potentate, hasn’t breathed a word so far. The AEF is an incentive program designed to help Ohio transition to clean energy sources. If it costs business a cent, my bet is that Kasich will scream bloody murder.

There is better news emanating from Columbus, thank goodness. Ohio State chose No Impact Man as its first reading assignment for the Class of 2014 this past fall. Freshman students – all 6,600 of them – were to have read the book prior to their arrival on campus. The idea is that the book will serve as a catalyst for in-depth discussion. This is part of OSU’s continuing effort to function more sustainably. A “One Framework” plan has been developed for the entire University, one upon which every school, every department will base its goals. Everyone will learn together about greening the future, from professors to students.

I’ll mention one last article. Appearing under the heading “Call to Action,” the article, “Groups Oppose Landfill Expansion in Hamilton County,” describes the ongoing efforts of citizens living near or by the Rumpke Sanitary Landfill to stop its expansion. Rumpke is the name of Cincinnati’s largest (and essentially only) garbage hauler. I’ve been a critic of Rumpke’s ever since we moved to the Cincinnati area, primarily because they charge for recycling. Anybody who truly wishes to promote recycling knows that you charge for waste disposal, not recycling. Much to my surprised relief, the citizenry is finally waking up to the advantages of recycling waste. For that reason, they’re insisting that Rumpke has sufficient room, if only they will become more involved in recycling, and promote its advantages with their customers.

It’s good to see Ohio finally waking up to the future, because the future has just pulled into the station.

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