News Column

Eco-forum Evolves Into New Green Action Group

May 23, 2013
wind farm

An "eco-forum" held last month at Miami Hamilton Downtown has evolved into a new committee, Hamilton Green Action, whose members will try to utilize existing organizations and events to advance the agenda of making this the "greenest little city in America."

The process has so far been facilitated by Sarah Woiteshek of Miami Hamilton's Center for Civic Engagement and has included representatives from the City of Hamilton, Hamilton Urban Garden Systems and other citizens with an interest in environmentalism and sustainability.

At the first meeting, participants drew up a list of Hamilton's green assets, including both natural resources -- such as the river and its aquifer -- and created ones, such as the city's construction of a compressed natural gas fueling station to power city vehicles.

At the follow-up meeting, participants discussed the idea of following the model of Green Umbrella, a regional environmental advocacy group whose executive director Brewster Rhoads facilitated the first meeting and the creation inventory of assets.

That is, they decided that the group should work toward creating partnerships with existing programs under the umbrella of Hamilton Green Action, something akin to a green United Way or Chamber of Commerce.

"There are so many disparate groups in town trying to do their own thing, it would make sense to try to engage them in this effort," said council member Kathy Klink.

"I don't think we need to form more committees," said Alfred Hall of H.U.G.S. "Why don't we get in front of the other decision makers and pull all these things together?"

"The invitation should be that we had a forum, we came up with some good points and now we want to see how we can tie this agenda with what these other groups are doing," he said. "We can use 'green' as a way to build community."

The ecological agenda, the group determined, went beyond simply recycling and saving energy, but would have potential impact on creating safer neighborhoods by getting people out of their houses and involved in activities such as community gardening.

The goal for Hamilton Green Action, then, would be to serve as a resource to educate the public by having a presence at the two Farmers Markets that will be in Hamilton, River Days and Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce events. They also discussed holding another eco-forum to focus on local businesses who have successfully implemented sustainability projects.

"People want to know how being green can improve their financial position or their lifestyle," Hall said. "If you can show them they're going to save money on materials and supplies, that will capture their interest."

Hamilton Green Action will meet again at noon June 10 at Miami Hamilton Downtown.

Anyone interested in participating should contact Woiteshek at the Center for Civic Engagement at 513-785-3015.


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