While California, New York, and other states may be grabbing some of the big climate headlines, Bioneers board member David Orr and our friends at the Oberlin Project are steadily creating deep transformation in the heart of Ohio.
Below, David shares some highlights of their work. Read on and get inspired about what’s possible for your area!
- White House selection of Oberlin as one of sixteen U.S. cities designated “Climate Champions.” Building on our previous selection as one of the Clinton Climate initiative projects (now part of the C-40 network) we pulled together the City, Oberlin Municipal Power and Light, and the College to craft a bold, but practical way to become climate neutral. We’ve eliminated 87% of the CO2 emissions from the municipal power system and halved the community’s GHG emissions in three years.
- The Peter B. Lewis Gateway Center, under construction, will be a LEED Platinum-rated, entirely solar powered hotel and conference center that will also include offices, a culinary school, and businesses. The building will feature a number of firsts, including a geothermal system that uses no climate damaging refrigerants. Completion is scheduled for early 2016.
- The site will also feature a Maya Lin installation focused on climate and landscape, the final part of her “Ohio Trilogy.”
- We will complete a passive solar, high-performance, and affordable home in the Southeast Quadrant of the City by mid-March of 2015.
- Planning for a 50 unit climate positive and affordable development on 14 acres is moving toward a 2015 groundbreaking.
- We’ve installed Environmental Dashboards in all of Oberlin’s public schools and other sites throughout the City and conducted teacher workshops on systems thinking skills using Dashboard technology.
- Oberlin has adopted a Zero Waste Plan and has deployed a hybrid hydraulic recycling fleet.
- We’ve launched the “Lake Erie Crescent” initiative in collaboration with the Strategic Innovation Lab at Case Western University. We’re taking lessons learned from the Cleveland Foundation’s Evergreen Project and Oberlin up to the regional scale that includes the industrial cities along the western Erie shore. Our goal is to help redirect investments and purchasing of major regional institutions and organizations to support more rapid deployment of renewable energy, a local foods economy, and green building.
- In 2015, we aim to launch a food hub as a linchpin between local farmers and the Oberlin food market; complete a study of policies and organizational behavior relative to sustainable management and governance; and launch a revolving loan fund for local entrepreneurs. And continue ongoing work on energy efficiency, education, and collaboration with our community partners.
Check out more information and resources on the Oberlin Project’s website.
Got an inspiring story to share about where you live? Contact us at [email protected]—we’d love to share it here on our blog!