Green Team hosts speaker series on community climate action

The Cleveland Heights Green Team (CHGT) believes that individuals and local governments have a responsibility to address climate change by developing and implementing a plan tailored to the specific needs of their communities.

At a May 28 brainstorming event on climate action, hosted by the Cleveland Heights Green Team, Heights residents concluded that the path to a climate-resilient community starts with the identification of a common set of data points and language as the foundation for any potential course of action.

According to Cleveland Heights resident Andrew Linebarger, “The most important outcome of the brainstorming session was highlighting the need for a more inclusive approach to determining what matters most to our community in the face of climate impact.”

“We felt that the process should be transparent and inclusive, which starts with equal and ample access to information in a manner that is easy to understand and relate for everyone,” noted Clair Bruch, who also participated in the May 28 session. “Understanding how climate change is affecting Northeast Ohio, learning from the successes and failures of cities who have already embarked on the development and implementation of their own Climate Action Plan, and identifying readily available resources that can inform and shape a targeted course of action are the first steps in developing a framework for climate action.”

According to Catalina Wagers, co-founder of CHGT, “As a first step, the group proposed to organize a series of forums intended to inform and educate Heights residents on climate action and climate advocacy topics. The idea is that through relatable content, Heights residents can develop a more informed and cohesive understanding of the specific challenges of climate change on our community leading to collective prioritization and support.”

The next forum in the series will take place on Aug. 17, at Heights High auditorium. It will explore the partnership of Cleveland Heights, Shaker Heights, and University Heights with Power a Clean Future Ohio, including Cleveland Heights' commitment to reducing 30% of its carbon emissions by 2030.

Future forums will explore the link between environmental justice and social justice, how to become a more effective local climate advocate, and how to transition one's home to renewable energy.

The first forum, What is a Climate Action Plan, took place on July 20. Representatives from Oberlin, Shaker Heights, and Cleveland outlined their strategies to mitigate the impact of climate change and build climate resiliency in their communities through the development and implementation of their own climate action plans. In a candid and relatable manner, they shared their reasons for developing a climate action plan, the lessons they learned from its implementation, and the impact it has had on their communities. The forum was recorded and can be viewed on CHGT's website.

“Our ultimate goal is to provide a space for the community to engage in healthy, productive, and inclusive dialog that can provide valuable insights in the framing of climate action policy,” said Wagers. “We look forward to seeing a wide and diverse representation of our community at these events.”

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Natalie Elwell

Natalie Elwell is director of gender equity practice at World Resources Institute in Washington, D.C. She is co-founder of the Cleveland Heights Green Team. She works remotely, and dedicates her free time to advocate for environmental protection and activism.

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Volume 15, Issue 8, Posted 10:12 AM, 07.29.2022