October 2018 Newsletter

Northeast Ohio Sierra Club’s next Conservation Committee meeting will be held at 7 PM on Tuesday, October 2 at the Fairhill Partners Building, 12200 Fairhill Road in Cleveland. Our Executive Committee meeting will be held directly following the conclusion of the Conservation Committee Meeting.


Cleveland Commits to 100% Clean, Renewable Electricity!
Jocelyn Travis, Cleveland Ready for 100 Coordinator

After two years of running Ready for 100 in Cleveland, Ohio we accomplished our 2018 campaign goal: at the 10th annual Sustainable Cleveland Summit, Mayor Frank Jackson and his Chief Sustainability Officer, Matt Gray, unveiled the city’s new Climate Action Plan which establishes a goal for powering our city with electricity produced by 100% clean, renewable energy by 2050.

With this commitment, Cleveland becomes the first city in the state of Ohio to commit to 100% clean energy. We are also the 83rd city to commit nationally.

It’s hard to emphasize how huge a milestone this is, both for this community and for our campaign. For years, the mayor has refused to meet with the Cleveland Ready for 100 team, or engage on any level about renewable energy. That’s partly because Cleveland’s legacy is fixed in fossil fuels. Even today, one of the city’s two utilities, FirstEnergy, is among the staunchest forces opposing renewable development. Cleveland is at the heart of the Rust Belt and has an industrial history — this is where Standard Oil was founded, and where just a few decades ago the Cuyahoga River burned (13 times) because of pollution. To date, we’re consistently ranked among the worst cities for particle air pollution. Not only is the outdated reliance on fossil fuels harming our health, but it’s hurting our communities and economy, low-income Cleveland households face some of the highest energy burdens across the US.

The passage of a new Climate Action Plan (CAP) with a 100% clean, renewable electricity goal means our campaign has successfully drummed up community support and reached the City. Here’s how we did it:

Advocating for community input and equity to anchor of the CAP as a member of the city’s Climate Action Plan Advisory Committee. These concerns were echoed in an op-ed earlier this summer calling for 100% clean energy in the CAP in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Soon after, the 100% goal was included in a draft of the Climate Action Plan, prepared by the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, and posted online in July to solicit public comments.

We knew we needed to make the CAP as strong as it could be and also show the groundswell of support to motivate the Mayor and Office of Sustainability. So, a Sierra Club policy team led by Drew O’Bryan and Kassie Rohrbach developed comments on the CAP draft to make it stronger — and we encouraged the city to officially make an 100% goal. We also held a press conference with a panel of speakers that represented different groups that care about clean energy in Cleveland (including a public health professional, a clergyman, and a board member of the local NAACP) in August (photos here). We offered the petitions we’d collected over the course of the Cleveland RF100 campaign (numbering over 2,000) to the Mayor’s Office. Here’s the livestream, courtesy of Chad Stephens.

Partners submitted letters to the editor, and we spoke out in support for another major story in Cleveland: an offshore wind project on Lake Erie. With the help of Stephanie Steinbrecher and Ashlinn Gallagher, we launched a print ad in The Plain Dealer on Sunday and ads online calling on Mayor Jackson to stand with the community by moving to clean energy for all. The ads can be viewed here.

By the time the Sustainable Cleveland Summit rolled around, the policy, organizing, digital, and communications teams was spent. But, with an eleventh hour call by Kassie to the Chief Sustainability Officer, we realized the goal was finalized in the CAP (published online here), and it was announced at the summit.

We are proud to see this milestone through and see Cleveland become the first city in Ohio to commit to being powered by 100% clean, renewable electricity — on the same day the Browns won their first game since 2016, no less. Now, we look forward to working with the city and the partners we built relationships with to see Cleveland implement a just and equitable transition to clean energy. Special thanks to our awesome Cleaveland Ready For 100 Coalition and National Ready For 100 Team for their continued support and hard work!

Here are some of the top media stories from the commitment:

We need volunteers to continue this important movement in our community! Please contact Cleveland Ready For 100 Coordinator, Jocelyn Travis to help us reach our goal. Jocelyn can be reached via email or cell, (216) 926.6535.


CURBSIDE RECYCLING IS IN TROUBLE
Are You Part of the Problem?

September 25, 2018 – Cleveland, Ohio – Curbside recycling in Cuyahoga County is in trouble and we need your help. Local recycling processors report that more and more recycling is contaminated with garbage – up to 25 percent garbage. Contamination happens when residents put unacceptable or non-recyclable items into their recycling cart, bin or bag.

Recycling markets also are shrinking because of China’s decision to restrict imports. Simply stated, China no longer wants to be the global end-market for the world’s recyclables because for decades they had been accepting recyclables contaminated with trash and hazardous waste. This has left them with a spoiled environment they are now working to clean up.

These two facts – huge contamination rates and China’s restriction of imports – have created a perfect storm for recycling here in Cuyahoga County. Everyone’s help is needed to do a better job of recycling correctly to keep recycling viable.

Here are the rules for proper recycling:

Put these five items ONLY in your curbside recycling:

  • Food and beverage CANS – empty and rinse
  • Milk, juice and broth CARTONS – empty, rinse and replace cap.
  • GLASS BOTTLES AND JARS – empty, rinse and replace cap.
  • PAPER AND BOXES – include all paper, mail, magazines, newspaper cereal boxes and flattened cardboard. Do not include shredded paper.
  • PLASTIC BOTTLES AND JUGS – empty, rinse and replace cap. Disregard the numbers on plastic. Recycle bottles and jugs only. Other plastics are not recyclable at this time.

Remember…

  • Place items loose, not bagged, in your recycle cart or bin.
  • Recyclables should be free from food residue and empty.
  • Boxes should be empty, broken down and dry.
  • Putting the wrong items in your recycling will do more harm than good.

Learn more about recycling correctly at www.CuyahogaRecycles.org/how_to_recycle.


Upcoming Events

➤ Rust Belt Riders Compost Workshop: Composting 101
Saturday, October 13, 1pm
5401 Hamilton Ave, Cleveland 44114
Monthly workshops are held on the second Saturday of the month. $10 each. Sign up here…

Upcoming workshops:
November – Microbiology and Soil
December – How to Make Hot Compost

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Committee News

Executive Committee

There are many opportunities to volunteer with the Northeast Ohio Sierra Club. We have an opening in our ExCom Committee, we need fundraising and events volunteers, help with Inspiring Connections Outdoors–a program for taking kids on monthly outings and more. Read more…

Coal & Energy

Stand up against coal bailouts in person June 15 in Columbus. June 15 marks the beginning of legal proceedings for First Energy’s bailout proposal. Read more…

Rainforest Committee

Learn more at this presentation at the Brooklyn branch of the Cuyahoga Co. Library. Sponsored by NEO Sierra Club. Read more…