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Learn more about our speakers

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All attendees (in-person and virtual) will receive access to recordings of all main stage sessions.

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Main Stage

Keynote Speaker:

Kristin Baja - Director of Direct Support & Innovation, Urban Sustainability Directors Network

Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) today are disproportionately impacted by climate-related hazards. As climate disruptions become more intense and frequent, they become a multiplier of the inequities, injustices, and burden of loss for the benefit of a few. Equitable climate resilience requires a transformational approach to local government processes. This keynote will focus on opportunities to dismantle extraction-based models, with examples of local governments actively working to shift power to communities to achieve transformative and equitable climate action.

 

Main Stage

Plenary Panel:

 

Three new mayors from Cincinnati, Dayton, and Lima, Ohio, will join our keynote speaker to discuss how their administrations are working to address the growing climate crisis and integrate sustainability into the vision for their communities. Moderated by Green Umbrella's Climate Policy Director, Savannah Sullivan, our plenary panel will explore individual and collective strategies to help Ohio and the Midwest region become national sustainability leaders.

 
 

BREAKOUT SESSIONS

In 2023 the City of Cincinnati will seek to update the Green Cincinnati Plan, the city's playbook for building a more sustainable, equitable, and resilient future. The Plan is a community vision, made possible through the many contributions of the citizens and organizations of Cincinnati. This workshop focuses on transformational change, and invites attendees to lend their voice to the co-creation of the 2023 Plan. In small breakout groups, attendees will work together to shape and prioritize transformational actions to be included in the Plan. Breakout sessions focused on buildings, energy, equity, food, mobility, and zero waste planning will be facilitated by: City Councilwoman Meeka Owens, City Councilman Mark Jeffreys, Sanyog Rathod, Michelle Balz, Michael Forrester, Molly Robertshaw, Ellory Overcast, and Ollie Kroner. 

 
 
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The Greater Cincinnati region faces a host of environmental challenges while seeking to balance development and conservation. Robust tree canopy data and policy is crucial for creating a resilient canopy. This talk will discuss the current state of the region’s tree canopy and the new tools used to foster proactive forest management into the future that will help solve these environmental challenges.

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Faith Communities Go Green, a collaboration between Green Umbrella and Equasion, believe that faith communities have a powerful voice to offer as the world confronts the climate crisis. Religious organizations and communities can become strong allies in the fight for climate action. All traditions emphasize the moral and ethical imperative to care for creation. Individual efforts are important, but collaboration within and among congregations can bring about much greater change. Panel members will share their expertise on how to form a Green Team in your congregation and bring people together to work for a sustainable environment for all.

 
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Main Stage

Public, private, and non-profit organizations in Cincinnati have partnered to ensure equity in climate resilience. The Climate Safe Neighborhoods Partnership will share lessons learned and next steps gained through innovative community-centered engagement, an analysis of vulnerability indicators, and establishing a regional climate collaborative. Also, join us to test the crowd-sourced climate strategy map!

 
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Main Stage

The foundational principles of civic engagement – bipartisanship, constructive dialogue, and compromise – are critical in securing long-term protections for the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the land we enjoy. Collective action is imperative to both the health of our environment and the health of our democracy. Join this session to explore how organizations, citizens, and governments can work together to safeguard our environment and strengthen our democracy to accelerate action to fight the climate crisis.

 
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This discussion panel on Community Composting will be made up of a few of the key actors helping to create a strong composting infrastructure here in Cincinnati. We will discuss how we got involved in composting, introduce our business/organization and the role it plays in local composting, the biggest challenges with creating a compost infrastructure, where we see the future of Cincinnati composting, and reinforce the importance of how this infrastructure has come to fruition through local, collaborative, and collective effort.

 
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Aviation is an economic engine for the Cincinnati region. This industry matters for our area of the Midwest. Thousands of our region’s residents benefit from GE Aviation’s operation in Evendale, and CVG Airport has a more than $6.8 billion annual economic impact in Ohio and Kentucky. At the same time, the aviation industry is often singled out as a major source of GHG emissions. During this panel discussion, speakers will explore a variety of topics, including an honest look at the aviation industry’s contribution to manmade carbon and how the industry’s sustainability focus is leading to even more job creation and tangible economic impact to our region—all while supporting reduction of emissions related to aviation. The panel will discuss regional efforts to incentivize and develop sustainable aviation fuels, next-gen aircraft engines, greener airport terminals, and more.

 
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The stories we tell frame the world in which we live—and the futures we envision for it. In this 50-minute, interactive story-gathering session, the president/CEO and Board Vice President of the story-focused nonprofit A Picture’s Worth will provide a fast-paced workshop that illuminates the rationale for and processes behind creating strong stories for resilient communities. Together, the session leaders will help participants understand why traditional media framing can limit how community members see themselves and how to upend stereotypes by presenting more contextual and accurate narratives. Participants will leave with tools to apply this methodology in their own work.

 
 
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Building a robust, sustainable economy requires innovation and collaboration from nonprofits and local governments. This interactive workshop will highlight the deep, embedded work of two keystone organizations working in Appalachian Ohio. SOPEC, a council of governments, will discuss creative solutions using Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) as a foundation for sustainability action in its member communities. SOPEC will highlight the Athens Carbon Fee, USDA REDA program, and other CCA-led initiatives. Rural Action’s Sustainable Energy Solutions team will focus on several initiatives to scale-up clean energy adoption, highlighting projects including Appalachian Clean Transportation, Solarize Appalachian Ohio, and Growing Local Solar with Agrivoltaics.

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Design is a public health issue. This session is for those who want to advocate for a better built environment. Explore the space/health axis to understand how design contributes to well being. Attendees will discuss scenarios of "sick" spaces that need to be diagnosed and treated. Those responses will launch a more robust discussion about how and why to advocate for impactful design. Learn simple concepts based on this research so you can easily begin speaking the language of wellness and evaluating the effects of different design decisions. Let's change our world- one space at a time.

The reality of floods, wildfires, and extinctions can cause climate anxiety. So, what can be done beyond vacillating between doing activist work to the point of exhaustion and the desire to retreat from interacting with the world? This experiential workshop will include:

  • A somatic practice to settle yourself

  • What is common and what is unique about how various spiritual traditions recognize the sacredness of our planet and act on it 

  • Local and global supportive strategies on how we can successfully share our environmental responsibilities individually and collectively

 
 
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As communities across the Midwest continue to feel the impacts of climate change, local governments of all sizes are creating Climate Action Plans to demonstrate a commitment to carbon reduction and are developing plans to build a more sustainable and resilient future. Power a Clean Future Ohio has created a simple step-by-step process to jumpstart your community’s Climate Action Plan. In this session, we’ll cover:

  • The importance of creating an emissions inventory

  • Process for identifying and selecting stakeholders

  • How to select and rank policy and project priorities

  • Assessing carbon reduction strategies

  • An outline for drafting the plan

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Sustainability-driven startup companies tackle challenges ranging from electrification to pollinator protection to management of climate data, and everything in between. The Greater Cincinnati region is rich with entrepreneurs focused on sustainability, as well as capacity-builders to support them. This panel will represent various facets of the local innovation ecosystem to illustrate how #StartupCincy works together in the advancement of environmental justice and climate preparedness.

 
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The Greater Cincinnati Regional Food Policy Council convenes partners across the food system who are leading vital work to create a food secure community that is equitable, sustainable and resilient. Learn how some of our partners are pioneering small, localized food system solutions that connect neighbors and meet their food needs. These neighborhood-led efforts include buying clubs, co-operative grocery stores, food access points, and education and support in reducing wasted food. By reflecting on their successes in the larger context of the region, we hope to make the intersection of food equity and sustainability more evident and inspire attendees to join us in this impactful work.

 

With current housing shortages, we need transformative, sustainable, affordable housing that addresses our current climate crisis equitably. This panel will illustrate the process of community engagement and collaboration of residents and developers, that results in low-carbon, high-performance buildings. 3CDC and Urban Sites will discuss why energy-efficiency and high indoor air quality are important to affordable housing in Cincinnati, and GBBN Architects will describe how design decisions, technical challenges, and performance modeling impacted projects. Projects examples include Fifth and Dinwiddie East, a Passive House project in Pittsburgh with 171 housing units, and two mixed-use projects in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine: Logan Commons, with 42 units of housing and a community space for seniors pursuing LEED certification, and Willkommen, with 163 units throughout 16 buildings, some pursuing Enterprise Green Communities or LEED certifications.

 

Facilities that promote the long-term benefit of employees, the company, and its community are the essence of corporate sustainability. When executed successfully, sustainable projects can pay for themselves—not only with energy and water reductions but also with the positive impact on the employees in the buildings and the people in their community. Daniel Lessing teams with Ryan Hoffman to conduct a workshop on the process of delivering a sustainable project and the importance of starting early—from establishing owner project requirements (OPR) that tie in with environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals to measuring success and return on investment. Additionally, we will discuss the ever-changing landscape of performance standards and how those will impact a projects OPR, from NetZero Codes in California to cities enacting their own performance requirements.

 

Main Stage

Panelists will share the story and vision for Zoo’s one-acre Urban Learning Garden at Rockdale Academy, an elementary school in Avondale. The overarching goals of this collaboration with the Zoo, Avondale, CPS/Rockdale Academy teachers and administration are to nourish, educate, and inspire Avondale children and community members, while creating a vibrant habitat where people and wildlife thrive. The site includes propagation greenhouses, themed gardens, an amphitheater, raised beds and Quonsets huts for year-round growing opportunities. Together, Zoo staff, Avondale community members, and Rockdale teachers and students will research, learn, sell, share resources, and grow in this welcoming, productive greenspace.

SHORT TALKS

Main Stage

 

I am the face of food waste, are you? If 40% of all food is wasted, why are 1 in 6 people food insecure? Wasted Food Stops with Us is an initiative of Hamilton County R3Source which provides consumers with tools and education designed to reduce wasted food. Learn how to be part of the effort to reduce waste, improve air quality, and increase access to wholesome food.

 
 

Imagine a world where buildings stimulated the economy, reduced utility costs, lowered emissions, increased property values, and improved public health. This is the place Indianapolis is trying to create through the passage and implementation of the Benchmarking and Transparency Ordinance. Over the next 4 years, this ordinance requires municipal buildings >25,000 sq. feet and commercial buildings > 50,000 sq. feet to benchmark their energy and water usage. This talk will dive into how the Office of Sustainability engaged with stakeholders across Indianapolis to collaborate on the development of this instrumental piece of policy for creating a more resilient city.

 

This talk will give a brief overview of many of the hard-to-recycle items that can be accepted at
the Cincinnati Recycling & Reuse Hub. These items are not accepted in curbside bins, many are donated to other non-profit organizations or programs, and many are available to the public for
reuse at no cost.

 

We have the technology to significantly reduce energy use in existing buildings through deep energy retrofits and electrification of heating, cooling, and domestic hot water. In Cincinnati, we also have a large stock of existing buildings, many of them historic, which will likely be retrofitted in the coming decades. This short talk outlines the basic recipe for decarbonization (efficiency upgrades + electrification + renewable energy) and the potential scale of the impact.

 

The Cincinnati and Ohio Valley Region has a rich food and farming history. The innovations, businesses, and products created here have changed the world – from the removable bee frame and animal disassembly line, to P&G, Kroger, and Fleischman’s Yeast. The region now has an established food movement and has witnessed a renaissance in farmers markets, community-based agriculture, forest garden installations, microbreweries, compost programs, and an interest in everything local. Come learn more and explore the past, present, and future of our foodshed.

 

Conference Planning Partners