Commit to a Chattanooga Green Community on Earth Day, April 22
Students who participate in Ecological Decisions for a Global Environment (EDGE) offered an early celebration of Earth Day on campus, taking plastic grocery bags in exchange for a reusable grocery bag. Numerous environmental groups were represented at the University Center, where EDGE members sold plants, t-shirts and baked goods to raise funds for projects to improve the environment. (Earth Day will also be celebrated on campus April 22 with a Chattanooga Green Community Commitment Event. Read more…)
EDGE encourages students to celebrate Earth DayLast fall, EDGE participated in a River cleanup and another is planned for fall 2009. The group raised money for the Asthma Walk and two of their members represented the University at Power Shift 09. UTC juniors Elizabeth Southall and Max Quinlan, president and vice president of EDGE, enjoyed attending this national conference.
“It was indescribable,” Southall said. “I came away with the firm belief that polices can make a difference. It works for the government, and it is working at UTC. Since students voted to pay the Green Fee, UTC is becoming a green campus.”
Southall was raised in Grand Junction, Colorado, where residents are familiar with water conservation. “As an elementary school student, I encouraged my family to start a recycling process. This mindset starts at home,” she said.
Southall would like to see all new buildings on campus strive for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, as is the case for the campus library building scheduled to be built by January 2012. LEED certification “provides independent, third-party verification that a building project meets the highest green building and performance measures,” according to the U.S. Green Building Council.
EDGE hosted a plastic grocery bag exchangeFunds from the Green Fee launched a recycling program on campus, which began in student housing and the University Center. “It has been amazing. Not only has the program been successfully put in place, students are using it and are demanding an expansion of the program. Next we want to include academic buildings and the library,” Southall said.
“EDGE wants to grab college students who are on their own for the first time and teach them the value of preserving the environment. They can use this information for a lifetime,” she said.
In April 2008, the Chattanooga Green Committee hosted the Chattanooga Green Visioning Event where 500 citizens were asked to envision a more sustainable city. Over 1,000 ideas were generated, which became the Chattanooga Climate Action Plan.
The community is again invited to come together on Earth Day, April 22, 5:30-8 p.m. at the UTC University Center in the Tennessee and Chattanooga Rooms. Citizens can sign up to be a part of Action Teams that include energy conservation, alternative energy, waste reduction, green buildings, recycling and waste, sustainable industrial practices, smart growth, food and agriculture, transportation, air quality, biodiversity, green infrastructure, urban and regional forests, water quality and quantity, community awareness and participation, business participation, government policy and purchasing, and schools.
“Now is a great time to step up and volunteer to help bring to life one of the 47 potential actions,” said Green Committee Chair Gene Hyde. “Many people have asked us how to get involved and this is the time and place to learn more and to sign up.”
Participants will be asked to commit to an active and vital role in the implementation of the Climate Action Plan. The event will be the first step in mobilizing passionate individuals to lower the City’s carbon and environmental footprints. Individuals will choose from a diverse set of topics. Once a citizen commits they will be given a short assignment and asked to attend a follow-up meeting with others who have committed to the same sub topic.
The meeting will take an open house format. Participants can stop by between 5:30 p.m.- 8 p.m. to sign up and take part in the Chattanooga Green movement. Short briefings will take place at 5:30 and 6:45. The community is encouraged to attend these briefings, however, staff and volunteers will be available throughout the evening to answer questions and assist.
The event is part of the National Climate Conversation. Through the conversation hundreds of communities will engage citizens in discussions to drive dialogues about climate action opportunities. We are asking the community to RSVP at http://www.climateconversation.org/.
For more information, visit www.chattanooga.gov/chattanoogagreen.