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Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Austin: growth through redevelopment

The Lambda Alpha International (LAI) Austin Chapter hosted the Fall 2019 Land Economics Weekend (LEW) attracting a global contingency eager to learn about Austin's history, challenges, and accomplishments. With limited time, the LEW tours and presentations focused on Austin's compassionate approach to addressing the homeless population, affordable housing for the growing population, and innovative redevelopment of once vital yet closed facilities.

LAI is an honorary society for the advancement of land economics. LAI provides a forum for the study and advancement of land economics where the "winnowing and sifting" of ideas takes place in an atmosphere of mutual respect.

Operating through a network of twenty-nine global chapters, LAI provides a variety of programs and forums for its members to share information critical to understanding important land-use issues. The IMPACT Blog article, Lambda Alpha International Atlanta Chapter: growing membership, influence and impact, introduces LAI along with its designated purposes.

Twice per year chapters sponsor "Weekend Experiences" giving members an opportunity to meet and learn about land-economic issues in cities throughout the world. Open to LAI members and their guests, the LEWs address wider international, national and regional issues and include project tours within the host city.

Austin LEW - business meetings
In early November the Austin Chapter welcomed over 100 LAI members and guests from around the globe to their grand city for the 2019 Fall LEW. The day prior to LEW festivities was slated for global LAI business meetings, including the Executive Committee, Land Economics Foundation (LEF) Board, President's Roundtable, and the Board of Governance meetings.

Hyatt Regency Austin
At the Board of Governance meeting, the biannual executive committee officers slate was voted upon with new roles effective the following Monday morning. Elemental Impact (Ei) Founder Holly Elmore was voted onto the Global Executive Committee in her new position of Assistant Scribe.

At the Spring 2019 Puerto Rico LEW the LEF Board approved a grant for a land-economics project spearheaded by University of Georgia Associate Professor Velma Zahirovic-Herbert. Thanks to LEF VP Jon DeVries' introduction to Holly and fellow Atlanta Chapter members Ron Thomas and Bill de St. Aubin, Velma is slated for LAI membership induction in December. Additionally, Velma accepted the nomination to serve as the incoming Atlanta Chapter Vice-President and successor Chapter President in two years. Thus, the LEF grant was instrumental to the LAI Atlanta ReFRESH underway!

Founded in 1965, LEF is a not-for-profit charitable foundation organized to administer an investment fund which provides grants for research projects related to land economics. LEF commits capital (5% of assets) to a number of significant and worthwhile endeavors across the country on a matching basis with other non-profit entities. After the LEF Board of Directors' review, qualified applications are submitted to the LEF Board of Trustees for approval.

As the business day closed, the LEW opened with the President's Reception where attendees were treated to delicious cuisine, cocktails and a heartfelt welcome to the hosting city. The Austin LEW President's reception was held at the Hyatt Regency located downtown on Lady Bird Lake and the LEW host hotel.

Austin LEW - Day#1
Jon Hockenyos at the podium
Each LEW day the program began at the Hyatt Regency with a presentation on Austin's economic landscape addressing historical contributions to current successes | challenges. Additionally, work-in-progress to harness the explosive growth with healthy outcomes was addressed and discussed. On LEW Day#1, TXP Economists President Jon Hockenyos' Austin Economics presentation was a perfect LEW opening session and set the stage for the two days of Austin tours and education.

Not shy, Holly ventured to the back-of-the-house. Impressed, Holly witnessed how the Hyatt "walks-the-talk" with recycling and food-waste collection for compost as standard operating practices for their meetings and banquets. Additionally, the breakfast service included reusable dining-service ware; waste was reduced by serving condiments (cream, honey etc.) bulk instead of in individually packaged servings.

Following the presentation, the LEW group boarded buses for tours of the Mueller Airport redevelopment, Circuit of the Americas, Community First! Village, various Austin urban districts, and finished at Barton Springs | Zilker Park. Attendees were on their own for dinner.

Austin Chapter members joined the bus tours and shared their Austin experiences and wisdom. On Holly's bus, Chapter VP Randy Williams, JLL Valuation and Advisory Services Executive VP, provided superb, often humorous, dialogue while traveling between destinations. Chapter Treasurer Laurie Logue, Broadway Bank Executive Vice-President, supported Randy and ensured his dialogue followed the well prepared narrative; Randy and Laurie were a perfect team!

View from the COTA Turn 1
grandstands
On the first tour stop, the LEW group learned about the ambitious redevelopment of the closed Mueller Airport into a mixed-use urban community.

Circuit of the Americas (COTA,) the home to the only Formula 1 and MotoGP races in the country, was the second-tour stop. After lunch and before the tour, there was a presentation on the COTA's history, economic impact and current scenario.

In the Race Control Room, 44 cameras monitor the track for any necessary action related to accidents, fires and/or infractions. A maximum of 85 cars are permitted on the track at any point in time. At the venue's highest elevation, the Turn 1 grandstands showcase the grade 1 FIA-specification 3.426-mile motor-racing track and facilities. The 251-feet observation tower was designed by MirĂ³ Rivera Architects and built by Patriot Erectors as a landmark for the venue.

What a treat to tour the world-class motor sports and entertainment complex!

The most inspirational tour was Mobile Loaves & Fishes development The Community First! Village (CFG,) a permanent safe haven for chronically homeless individuals. One qualification for residency is ten years living on the streets. LEW attendees were gifted with an autographed copy of Welcome HomeLess, One Man's Journey of Discovering the Meaning of Home by CFG Founder & CEO Alan Graham.

Due to inclement weather, the group toured the village in the buses versus walking the grounds. Below are Holly's iPhone notes taken while Alan guided the tour bus through the village:
As an innovative approach to the chronically homeless population, the Community brings in the disabled (physical, emotional, mental & addiction) so they may heal from life on the streets.
Currently there are about 235 residents. With under-development phases slated to bring the population up to over 500 residents.
The community operates a 6.5 acre organic farm including chickens and goats. Food is free to residents.
There are community kitchens and bathrooms, deliberate to get the residents out & about to create a sense of community.
3D-printed home
iPhone image
This year the community will distribute $800K in dignified income to residents via working within the community. The community is well taken care of with no cigarette butts or other human-generated remnants.
Residents must abide by three rules:
1) obey civil laws
2)  pay rent
3) clean-up after yourself
The Community has the second three-dimensional printed home in the world. The plan is to print a total of six 3-D homes.
The community is located in the county. Thus, there is no applicable zoning.
Children are permitted within the missionaries yet not with the residents. The average age is 55 years; the mean death age is 59 years from rough years on the streets.
The final DAY#1 tour destination was an urban oasis with views of the nearby Austin skyline. Located within the Zilkar Park, the three-acre Barton Springs pool is a treasure. Spring-fed, the pool maintains a consistent 68 - 70 degrees, ideal for year-round swimming. In recent years, Barton Springs Pool attracted record-setting 800,000 visitors annually. Beyond the famous pool, Zilker Park is filled with historical relevance.

Barton Spring pool with
Austin skyline 
Designed in 1929 by prominent Austin architect Hugo Kuehne, the Zilker Caretaker Cottage housed park supervisors from the 1930's until 2010. In 2012, the cottage was remodeled to serve as a park-ranger headquarters.

Located in the Caretaker Cottage's backyard is an underground fallout shelter, which opened in April 1960 as the first of two models, The shelter has interior dimensions of 8 feet by 8 feet, with 8-inch reinforced concrete walls. Austin’s shelter was also the first to have custom furniture built inside to best use the minimal space.

By 1971 there were more than 200 public fallout shelters in Austin, though there is not a record of how many private shelters might have been built into backyards or as basements in new homes. (“Nuclear Attack Alarm; From Panic to Apathy.” 1971. The Austin Statesman. May 9.)

Globally, the only remaining moonlight towers reside in Austin and are recorded on the National Historical Register. Installed in the mid 1890's, the Zilker Park moonlight tower transforms into the anticipated Zilker Park Holiday Tree each year.

Since LEW attendees were on their own for dinner, LAI Past President and prior Austin resident Steven Gragg hosted a group for dinner at a local popular dining destination followed by two-step dance lessons at Broken Spoke.

Austin LEW - Day#2
As the final LEW day ended with the Awards Banquet, the program was light on Saturday so attendees may relax before the evening festivities.

After a Municipal Codes & Austin's Recent Experience panel discussion, the LEW group embarked on the Day#2 tours. Beginning with a bus tour of South Congress Avenue and the University of Texas Highway area, the destination was The Domain mixed-use project located in the high-tech corridor of northwest Austin. In its prior use, The Domain was home to a large IBM manufacturing facility and corporate campus. Post-lunch, the final Day#2 tour was back downtown at Seaholm District, the power-plant redevelopment.

Downtown view from the
Shoal Creek Trail
As the formal The Domain presentation ended, Austin LAI Chapter President Jim Nias presented the prestigious Skyline Award to the Endeavor Real Estate Group.

After the Seaholm District tour, Holly and Jordan Peters from the Chicago Ely Chapter walked back to the Hyatt via the Shoal Creek Trail that leads to Lady Bird Lake. With camera in hand, Holly enjoyed capturing the stunning trail and gorgeous lake within downtown Austin.

Austin LEW - Awards Banquet
Following tradition, the LEW ended with an Awards Banquet where LAI awards were presented and the LEW baton was tossed to the next LEW Chair.

Good friends from Chicago, Madrid,
and San Diego enjoy the reception
Named after the late founder of The Salt Lick Barbecue Thurman Roberts, Thurman's Mansion was an excellent location to host the Awards Banquet. The 7,000 square-food, two-story native limestone building was once slated for the Roberts' family home. Established in 1967 as a restaurant, The Salt Lick Barbecue has local history dating back a century when the Roberts family moved to Driftwood, TX.

Prior to the formal dinner and awards ceremony, LEW attendees enjoyed a casual reception with an open bar. Though the typical banquet attire is business formal, the Austin LEW attire was "Texas tuxedo" and attendees obliged with their creative versions including an eclectic array of hats.

With the dinner service complete, Global President Robert McBride opened the awards ceremony. First on the agenda was presenting the Barcelona Chapter charter to Chapter President Juanjo Martinez. Next Awards Committee member Gary Leach presented LAI Treasurer Sheila Harris with the International Member of the Year Award.

Robert McBride passes the
presidential gavel to Sheila Harris
LAI Fellow Ian Lord bestowed the organization's highest honor of LAI Fellow on Sheila and Steven. Keeping with tradition, the spouses attached the prestigious Fellow pin on the inductee's lapel or blouse. Sheila is the first female LAI Fellow!

Closing the awards, President Robert McBride joyfully passed the baton to incoming President Sheila Harris.

The Ei FB album, Austin Land Economics Weekend, is a pictorial recount of LEW activities through Holly's lens.

Congratulations to Austin LEW Chair Jim Nias for spearheading an amazing weekend. Thanks to the dedication of a strong committee, LEW attendees left Austin impressed with the city's compassionate approach to addressing its homeless population, dedication to addressing affordable housing issues for the increasing population, and innovative approaches to reinvigorating the community with redevelopment plans for once vital yet closed facilities.

... and the Spring 2019 Chicago LEW is a mere six months away!

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Happy 9th Birthday, Ei!

On February 5, 2010, Elemental Impact (Ei) incorporated as a Georgia non-profit corporation and embarked on an incredible journey. Whew, the first nine years were action-packed while the Ei Team initiated and completed the Ei Era of Recycling Refinement (RR) and segued into the Era of Regeneration.

Since inception, Ei lived the tagline Sustainability in ACTION! Working with a powerful team of Ei Pioneers and Ei Industry Experts, Ei evolved into a respected national non-profit known for introducing sustainable best practices within a range of industries.

Beginning with the Zero Waste Zones (ZWZ), Ei initiatives epitomized the following mantra:

Ei is a creator, an incubator. 
Ei determines what could be done that is not being done and gets it done. 
Ei brings the possible out of impossible. 
Ei identifies pioneers and creates heroes.

Background
Ei was formed as the home for the ZWZ launched in 2009 by the Green Foodservice Alliance (GFA) within the Georgia Restaurant Association. Over the years, Ei's work evolved well beyond zero-waste initiatives.

The following is a recap of Ei's evolution:

2012: Year of Accomplishments | Completions - in late 2012 the ZWZ were sold to the National Restaurant Association catapulting Ei into a major metamorphosis. The ZWA Blog article, The NRA Acquires ZWZ, announces the monumental acquisition.

2013: Year of Transitions | Introductions - until fall 2013 Ei flowed within the metamorphosis stage. As the year drew to a close, the three-platforms approach emerged. The IMPACT Blog, Ei Emerges Strong from Metamorphosis, introduced the three platforms: Product Stewardship, Recycling Refinement and Water Use | Toxicity. The IMPACT Blog article, Another Year, Another Annual Ei Partner Meeting, recaps the formation of the new Ei three-platform approach for pilots and initiatives.

2014: Year of Foundations | Evolution - in 2014 the platforms were grounded with initiative launches and supporting taglines. The IMPACT Blog article, Ei 2014: A Year of Evolution, provides a summary of the platform foundations.

2015: Year of ACTION - in 2015 Ei lived up to its tagline: Sustainability in ACTION! The IMPACT Blog article, Ei 2015: A Year of ACTION, summarizes the empowering year.

2016: Year of Recognition - in 2016 Ei's important work was recognized in published industry case studies and Ei-hosted national conference panels. In addition, the Ei Blogs' following significantly increased and Ei was recognized as a respected journalist. The IMPACT Blog article, Ei 2016: A Year of RECOGNITION, gives an in-depth overview of accomplishments, completions, and recognition.

2017: Year of Shifting Gears - in 2017 Ei announced Soil Health, regenerating the foundation of life, was a prime focus, replacing the prominent RR work. In addition, Ei Leadership experienced a changing of the guard and Ei welcomed new Strategic Allies. The IMPACT Blog article, Happy 8th Birthday, Ei!, recaps the empowering year as Ei segued from the Era of RR to the Era of Regeneration.

2018: Year of Regeneration - in 2018 Ei welcomed new partnerships, participated in global events, revitalized the Ei site, and embarked on Ei Explorations. It was an action-packed year as Ei lived the new tagline Regeneration in ACTION!

The Ei Team is comprised of Industry Experts and Industry Pioneers. Experts educate, advise and support the Pioneers; the Pioneers craft new standard operating practices within their operations that make good business and environmental sense. Once tested and proven effective, the Pioneers share the evolved practices with their industry colleagues. Ei’s work is complete and the Team moves into a new industry frontier.

Since 2010 the Ei Team served as a leader in pioneering frontiers with a myriad of completed projects | programs. The Mission Accomplished website section lists Ei endeavors considered complete via a sale, term expiration or simply mission accomplished!

Global Impact
In 2018, Ei segued from national to global impact via three profound events.

2018 WorldChefs Congress & Expo
At the 2018 WorldChefs Congress & Expo hosted in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the educational plenary program on day three was dedicated to Feed the Planet. A World Chefs' initiative, Feed the Planet is designed to inspire sustainable food consumption among communities and professionals.

Presentations focused on the current global food-waste scenario along with empowering programs committed to evolving the seemingly broken food system. After the "big picture" presentations, the focus narrowed down to local, effective initiatives and case studies on food-waste reduction in culinary operations.

The RiA Magazine article, Feed the Planet: an empowering WorldChefs' initiative, gives an overview of the session presentations and introduces the WorldChefs' Food Waste Challenge.

Holly speaking on the plenary
panel at the WorldChefs Congress
During the Feed the Planet session, Ei Founder & CEO Holly Elmore presented on The Profitability of Waste: the business case for food-waste reduction. After a quick overview of the successful ZWZ 2009 launch in Atlanta, GA, Holly shared a recipe for food-waste reduction success. In addition, Holly outlined the basics of where and why back-of-the-house food waste is generated.

Through powerful case studies, Holly emphasized key ingredients for success with the bottom line message:

A well-run kitchen generates minimal waste!

The Profitability of Waste presentation case studies featured three Ei Supporters' impressive food-waste reduction practices to a global audience:
  • Ted's Montana Grill: Stopping food waste starts with prevention.
  • Affairs to Remember Caterers: Sustainability is integral to the business model.
  • Georgia World Congress Center | Levy Restaurants: A hospitality industry pioneer.
The RiA Magazine article, The Profitability of Waste: the business case for food-waste reduction, highlights Holly's recipe for food-waste reduction success as well as the three prominent case studies.

Subsequent to the WorldChefs Congress, Ei and the WorldChefs Association Feed the Planet program officially joined forces for the January 7 launch of the Feed the Planet Food Waste Challenge. Ei is listed on the Feed the Planet website as a Collaborative Partner and Feed the Planet joined the Ei Strategic Ally program. Below is copy from a WorldChef's Food Waste Challenge Facebook post:
Chefs have a special responsibility to reduce food waste in their kitchens. Worldchefs can help. Together with Electrolux, AIESEC, and Elemental Impact, we’ve committed to doing our part to #feedtheplanet. Join us for the Food Waste Challenge! 
In the RiA Magazine article, Elemental Impact /  WorldChefs Collaborate on Global Food Waste Challenge, the Food Waste Challenge parameters are detailed as well as the long-term history at the foundation of the powerful collaboration.

From a Circular Economy to a Circular Society
A POCACITO - Post‐Carbon Cities of Tomorrow - delegation from Croatia and Munich, Germany visited Atlanta September 17 and 18 for two whirlwind days of meetings, tours, and vibrant dialogue. Ei co-hosted the From a Circular Economy to a Circular Society Town Hall Meeting.

In January 2014, the Ecologic Institute created the POCACITO project as a platform to educate and share challenges, lessons learned, and successes between European and U.S. cities.

POCACITO delegates at the
town hall meeting
Ecologic Institute US (EIUS) orchestrates delegations of European industry leaders on visits to select U.S. cities. Delegates represent a diverse cross-section of government stewards, activists, entrepreneurs, and non-profit executives from the European Union. For a POCACITO visit, EIUS organizes a series of meetings, tours, workshops, lectures and town hall meetings designed for interactive sharing of in-place circular-economy practices.

It was an honor the EIUS selected Atlanta for a POCACITO delegate visit. Events over the two days were perfect venues for the delegates and Atlanta hosts to share their accomplishments and benefit from each other's experiences. Ei facilitated numerous introductions for EIUS President Max Gruenig as he planned the excellent visit.

The RiA Magazine article, From a Circular Economy to a Circular Society, introduces POCACITO and gives an overview of the two-day visit, highlighting the town hall meeting.

In late 2018, Max connected with Ei on a return visit to Atlanta in 2019. Discussions are underway for a potential fall Atlanta visit with a German delegation.

The Savory Institute (SI) Global Network Reunion
The first annual Savory Institute (SI) Global Network Reunion held on November 10 & 11, 2018 at White Oak Pastures (WOP) was a global gathering with attendees traveling from around the world: Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Kenya, Argentina, France, Scotland, Turkey, United Kingdom, Canada, and across the U.S residents attended the event.

Holly attended the reunion as a SI guest. On Saturday, Holly represented Ei while on Sunday she wore a dual Ei | media hat. Ei Partner Nancy Suttles of Veracity Media Group joined Holly on
Sunday as media covering the event.

Reunion attendees heading into
lush field for soil tests
Dating back to 2005, Holly has a long-term relationship with WOP. In 2008 Holly orchestrated the first chefs tour of WOP's recently opened beef slaughterhouse. The tour was in partnership with the American Culinary Federation, Atlanta Chapter. The November 2011 The IMPACT Magazine article, White Oak Pastures - Dignity & Respect @ Its Core, chronicles the early years of the WOP metamorphosis from a conventional cattle ranch operation to an icon in regenerative agriculture.

A comprehensive introduction to WOP, SI, regenerative agriculture as well as an overview of the Global Network Reunion is provided in the RiA Magazine article, Regenerating a Bright Future for Planet Earth. The Ei FB album, Savory Institute 2018 Global Network Reunion, gives a pictorial recount of the powerful weekend from Holly's camera-lens perspective.

Ei Explorations
Tours are excellent vehicles to learn first-hand about industry practices and fellow partner business expertise. During the Era of RR, Ei hosted a plethora of tours including Sustainable Food Court Initiative, Industry, and Ei Partner Tours. In the Era of Regeneration, Ei evolved beyond tours to Ei Explorations.

Ei Explorations bring industry leaders and experts together to strategize on solutions for challenges facing humanity and life on our planet.

Ei Team members at the
Exploration
On October 16, 2018, Ei hosted the first Ei Exploration. A group of diverse, passionate industry leaders traveled from California, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina to participate in the Ei Exploration of Fungi, Soil Health, and World Hunger in Upstate South Carolina. The empowering day was in partnership with Ei Strategic Ally Feed & Seed.

Many profound seeds were planted at the Ei Exploration. Time will reveal how, when, and where the seeds germinate.

The RiA Magazine article, An Exploration of Fungi, Soil Health, & World Hunger, chronicles the empowering event; the Ei FB album, An exploration of Fungi, Soil Health & World Hunger, gives a pictorial recap.

Journalism
In 2016 Ei segued from a valuable media and industry resource into respected environmental journalism. A few years earlier press-interview inquiries validated Ei as recognized industry media. ... and then the prominent invitation arrived in early November:
The U.S. State Department invited Ei to join the invitation-only COP22 preview press conference call. Journalists from the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times were among the respected, mainstream media on the call.
In June 2016 Holly, author of the Ei magazines, launched HollyElmore.com as home to the Fingertip Press. When she publishes a magazine article, Holly writes a Facebook post beginning with “PREVIEW: Hot off the Fingertip Press an article …” Thus, the Fingertip Press evolved into Holly’s nomenclature for her published articles, documents and other written communication.

The Ei Magazines continue to garner impressive global readership! In 2018 The IMPACT Magazine surpassed 155,000 views and the RiA Magazine topped the coveted 400,000 views milestone on October 22. Below is a quick blog stats overview:

The Impact
  • 158,200 pageviews 
  • 131 published articles
  • Average 1,200 pageviews per article
  • Most popular article: Ei New Mission Statement (12/12) 2,974 views
Regeneration in ACTION
Holly expanded her communication repertoire beyond publishing articles in the Ei Magazines and trade journals and crafting industry papers to photojournalism in nationally distributed Southern Farm & Garden (SF&G). Rather than document Ei's important work, the SF&G articles complement and intertwine Ei Pioneers, Strategic Allies, and initiatives within the copy.

In the SF&G spring 2018 issue, a six-page feature article, Restoring Pollinator Populations, gives an overview of challenges facing pollinator populations along with tips for pollinator-friendly gardens. Announcing the SF&G article, the RiA Magazine article, Redefining WASTE: impact of common landscape & grounds maintenance practices on urban wildlife, introduces the paradox of how neat, clean yards and landscapes are wasteful to the local ecosystem. 

Ei Strategic Ally Park Pride's Pollinators in Parks program was featured in the RiA Magazine and SF&G articles. Park Pride Visioning Coordinator Teri Nye educated Holly on the empowering role of pollinator gardens and proofed the articles for accuracy.

The Ei Digital Books launched in August 2018 are in partnership with Holly Elmore Enterprises and comprised of Fingertip Press publications supported by Holly Elmore Images photos. Created and published by Ei Partner Veracity Media, the digital books augment Ei’s profound work within the Soil Health and Water Use | Toxicity platforms.

Mission Accomplished
During the Ei RR Era, Ei inception through June 2017, the Ei Team accomplished a tremendous amount of impressive, important work within an array of zero-waste frontiers. The projects, initiatives, and grant work are well documented in a myriad of Ei Magazine articles, conference panel presentations, and as award recipients. 

Refreshed website homepage
With the Ei Era of Regeneration launch, the Ei RR Era website pages were moved into a comprehensive Mission Accomplished section and out of the main site navigation. Thus, it was time to relaunch the Ei site with a refreshed design, new colors, and updated navigation. The Mission Accomplished section is included as the final sub-navigation item under Ei in ACTION.

Thanks to In-Kind Ei Partners Thompson Creative and Atlanta Web Design, the refreshed Ei site launched as 2018 came to a close.

2019: Year of IMPACT
With the Ei Era of Regeneration well established, 2019 is staged for the Year of IMPACT!

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Art Makes an Impact Beyond Words

Building public awareness of humanitarian injustices and environmental challenges requires a myriad of communication vehicles. Traditional written print and online media, network news shows & documentaries, and independent short films reach a broad audience. Yet, traditional media often falls short of conveying intended messages.

Pamela Longobardi speaking
at The Plastic GYRE Symposium
In its many formats, artwork provides tactile renditions of challenging situations that communicate in a profound manner. Whether mystically beautiful or a harsh depiction of the scenario, artwork speaks in a language unavailable with the written or spoken word.

Distinguished Georgia State University (GSU) Professor & global renowned artist Pamela Longobardi, eloquently states the important role artworks plays in educating and creating awareness of plastic's invasive presence in remote places:
"Artists have the ability to make the invisible visible, allowing viewers to see previously hidden truths about the world around them. My primary interest in my work is to explore the relationship between humans and the natural world, how human culture impacts the non-human world. My exploration of remote places all over the world reveals plastic’s invasive presence, and simultaneously nature’s interaction with this material.  My photographs and sculptures are the forensic evidence of this invasion, and in this way, deliver messages from the natural world about its state of being.”
The Plastic GYRE Symposium
In June 2013, Pamela was the Lead Artist in the Alaska Gyre Expedition. Launched by the Alaska Sealife Center and the Anchorage Museum, the Gyre Expedition assessed the impact of plastic debris washing onto Alaskan shores from the Pacific Ocean gyres. The expedition was an amazing collaboration of elite scientists and artists working together for a common cause.

National Geographic (NatGeo) adventure filmmaker, producer and director J.J. Kelly joined the gyre team to document the four-year in-the-making expedition. On August 21, 2013, the NatGeo twenty-minute film GYRE: Creating Art from a Plastic Ocean was released on the monumental expedition.

Pamela Longobardi with works
 “Economies of Scale" (L),
and “Bounty, Pilfered” (R),
photo by Kip Evans
Pamela worked collaboratively with Howard Ferren, the GYRE Project originator, and Julie Decker, curator of the GYRE exhibition, to form the team of artists aboard the ship; the artists created art from the foraged plastic debris collected on the expedition. Subsequently, GYRE: The Plastic Ocean exhibition expanded to scores of esteemed global artists working with plastic pollution. The David J. Sencer Museum of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) hosted the exhibition January 26 - June 19, 2015.

Along with a committed team, Pamela orchestrated The Plastic GYRE Symposium: Artists, Scientists, and Activists Respond to coincide with the CDC Museum exhibit. Plastic Pollution Coalition (PPC) Co-Founder, Dianna Cohen provided tremendous support on multiple levels for the empowering Symposium. In addition, Dianna's artwork was included in the GYRE: The Plastic Ocean exhibit.

On March 26 & 27. 2015 nationally renowned scientists, filmmakers, artists, and activists converged on Atlanta for The Plastic GYRE Symposium. Hosted jointly by the Welch Foundation at GSU, CDC and the PPC, the Symposium was an effort to raise awareness and discourse on the global plastic pollution crisis. 

Then Elemental Impact (Ei) Chair Scott Seydel was one of the esteemed Symposium speakers. The RiA Blog article, The Plastic GYRE Symposium: Artists, Scientists, and Activists Respond, recaps the impressive, well-attended Symposium.

Crossing Over
As a continuation of her profound work with plastics found in global oceans and coastal zones, Pamela expanded her Greece travels to the island of Lesvos in 2015. Nearly 400,000 refugees mostly from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Somalia landed on Lesvos beaches in 2015. A plethora of plastic items arrived with the refugees. Remnants of human migration including life jackets and personal belongings joined the water bottles, fishing nets, and other plastic detritus already washing up on the once pristine beach.

Pamela Longobardi & Susan Knippenberg,
Flying Free, digital photograph, 2017
Pamela's Crossing Over exhibition is an artistic compilation of photographs, sculptures, and installations that explore and document the intersection of a humanitarian crisis and an environmental catastrophe. Crossing Over is open to the public at the CDC Museum July 9 – October 5, 2018; reservations are required.

Crossing Over complements The Refugee Journey to Wellbeing, an immersive museum experience. Created by various CDC divisions in 2016, The Refugee Journey to Wellbeing installation provides insights into refugee health and the resettlement process. The exhibit is open to the public at the CDC Museum July 9 – October 5, 2018; reservations are required.

Ei Integrates Art & Impact
Known for articulate written and spoken communication, Ei Founder Holly Elmore is an artist at heart and understands how visual art speaks the unspoken. Holly's art medium is photography.

In late 2017 Holly expanded her communication repertoire beyond publishing articles in the Ei Blogs, trade journals, and industry papers to photojournalism in nationally distributed Southern Farm & Garden (SF&G). Rather than document Ei's important work, the SF&G articles complement and intertwine Ei Pioneers, Strategic Allies, and initiatives within the copy.

The recently launched Ei Digital Books are in partnership with Holly Elmore Enterprises and comprised of Fingertip Press publications supported by Holly Elmore Images (HEI) photos. Created and published by Ei Partner Nancy Suttles, the digital books augment Ei’s profound work within the Soil Health and Water Use | Toxicity platforms. Over the years, the Fingertip Press evolved into Holly’s nomenclature for her published articles, documents, and other written communication.

In May 2018, Holly accepted the invitation to present at the 2018 Phlorographers Unite workshop hosted in Denver, CO by Jackie Kramer of LuvBlooms Photography. Holly presented on Creating Your Legacy: making an impact with your photography. The HEI Nature Photography video served as an intro to Holly’s presentation. 

Cigarette butts collected on a
four-mile walk in Holly's neighborhood
In her presentation, Holly encouraged the audience to use their images for broadening horizons and making a difference. One example given was a creative capture of a pile of cigarette butts collected on a four-mile walk in her neighborhood. With no words, the image conveys the impact of careless tossing of cigarette butts on our roadways.

Holly's PPT presentation is available for download on the Holly Elmore Images website page.

Ei is honored to join artists like Pamela Longobardi and use art to make an impact beyond words.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Baltimore: revitalization in-process

The Lambda Alpha International Baltimore Chapter hosted the Spring 2018 Land Economics Weekend (LEW) attracting a global contingency eager to learn about Baltimore's history, challenges, and accomplishments. With limited time, the LEW tours and presentations focused on neighborhood revitalization, Inner Harbor industrial | commercial development, and community-based initiatives.

Lambda Alpha International (LAI) is an honorary society for the advancement of land economics. LAI provides a forum for the study and advancement of land economics where the "winnowing and sifting" of ideas takes place in an atmosphere of mutual respect.

LAI operates through a network of chapters. LAI chapters provide a variety of programs and forums for its members to share information critical to understanding important land-use issues. The IMPACT Blog article, Lambda Alpha International Atlanta Chapter: growing membership, influence and impact, introduces LAI along with its designated purposes.

Twice per year chapters sponsor "Weekend Experiences" giving members an opportunity to meet and learn about land economic issues in cities throughout the world. Open to LAI members and their guests, the LEWs address wider international, national and regional issues and include project tours within the host city.

Under Armour Inner Harbor facility
In late April the Baltimore Chapter welcomed over 100 LAI members and guests from around the globe to their grand city for the 2018 Spring LEW. The day prior to LEW festivities is slated for global LAI business meetings, including the Executive Committee, Land Economic Foundation (LEF) Board, President's Roundtable, and the Board of Governance meetings. Elemental Impact (Ei) Founder Holly Elmore represented the Atlanta Chapter in pre-LEW business meetings and enjoyed the LEW festivities.

During the business meetings, the Spring 2019 Puerto Rico LEW was officially approved. As there is no Puerto Rico chapter, LAI Global Executive Vice-President Cassandra Francis is the LEW Chair; Holly volunteered to serve on the LEW committee and will oversee the LEW sustainability commitment. Could the Puerto Rico LEW be plastic-free??!!!!!

After the business meetings, Holly met with the LEF Board to preview a potential LAI Atlanta Chapter Finding the Flint project for a grant application. The Zero Waste in ACTION Blog article, The Flint River: a river ready to regenerate, gives an overview of the Flint River headwaters current scenario. A local Atlanta team is in place and project development is underway for an anticipated early 2019 launch.

Founded in 1965, LEF is a not-for-profit charitable foundation organized to administer an investment fund which provides grants for research projects related to land economics. LEF commits capital (5% of assets) to a number of significant and worthwhile endeavors across the country on a matching basis with other non-profit entities. After the LEF Board of Directors' review, qualified applications are submitted to the LEF Board of Trustees for approval.

Inner Harbor view
As the business day closes, the LEW opens with the President's Reception where attendees are treated to delicious cuisine, cocktails and a heartfelt welcome to the hosting city. The Baltimore LEW President's Reception was hosted at Top of the World, 27th Floor of the World Trade Center and opened the formal LEW festivities. With 365-degree glass windows, the Baltimore Inner Harbor views were spectacular.

On Day One LEW attendees gathered for breakfast while prominent Baltimore professionals educated on the city's history, current status and projects under development. Lunch was provided on a comprehensive cruise of the Baltimore Inner Harbor and beyond. Within the Inner Harbor, Baltimore retains its manufacturing roots with prominent facilities located harborside; Domino Sugar and Under Armour are two industry leaders with Inner Harbor facility locations.

Raymond Skinner
In the afternoon, LEW attendees toured East Baltimore via buses and witnessed the neighborhood redevelopment underway. East Baltimore is an area in transition with the community coming together to restore historic row houses into affordable homes for local citizens. At the Eager Park amphitheater stage, East Baltimore Development President & CEO Raymond Skinner educated on the comprehensive, aggressive plan to redevelop an 88-acre tract of land adjacent to Johns Hopkins Medical Center. Displaced residents are well taken care of within the redevelopment, whether they choose to return to the neighborhood or not.

The full day ended with fun, educational dine-around dinners hosted by LAI Baltimore Chapter members. As an introduction to Baltimore neighborhoods and local cuisine, members hosted groups of 8 - 10 LEW attendees for a cocktail reception at their home. Dinner followed at a nearby restaurant.

Holly joined hosts Joanie & David Millane for a lovely evening in the Federal Hill neighborhood. After meeting at the Baltimore Visitor Center, the small group strolled past Baltimore's tallest building and into the eclectic neighborhood. Joanie & David arranged for a tour of a famed Otterbein "Dollar Home."

In the mid-1800's Otterbein was thriving and home to St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, the largest parish in Baltimore. By the 1970's the neighborhood was in shambles and the City intended to tear down the disheveled row houses for parking. Due to strong neighborhood advocacy, the City instead offered shabby yet salvageable homes for $1.00 along with responsibility for restoration. The Baltimore Sun 2014 article, Remembering the homesteaders of Otterbein, chronicles Otterbein's history and revitalization from author Jacques Kelly's perspective as a neighborhood advocacy journalist in the 1970's.

Remington Neighborhood
Following the "Dollar Home" tour, Joanie and David welcomed the dine-around group into their renovated Harbor Walk 1980's townhome. Joanie's housemade Maryland crab dip was the star of the cocktail reception. The lovely evening ended at Sobo Cafe for a delicious dinner prepared with local ingredients. Holly and her companions opted to walk back to Pier 5, the LEW host hotel.

On Day Two the LEW attendees enjoyed an educational breakfast prior to boarding buses headed for Central Baltimore. At the MICA Graduate Center, a comprehensive panel shared their work and experience with revitalizing Central Baltimore neighborhoods. Lunch was enjoyed at the R House food hall, located in the heart of the revitalized Remington neighborhood. After lunch, Holly left the organized bus tour for her self-guided walking tour back to the hotel.

Following tradition, the Baltimore LEW ended with an excellent Awards Banquet. As the dinner closed the Baltimore Chapter President handed the LEW baton to the Orange County President in anticipation of the 2018 Fall Orange County LEW.

Renowned photographer Bob Madden was in-charge of a LEW pictorial recap. What an honor: Bob was a staff photographer for 15 years with National Geographic where he won many impressive awards.

"Hi Joan: "Past & Current LAI Presidents
Steven Gragg & Robert McBride
Augmenting Bob's official photos, Holly published the Ei FB album, 2018 Spring Baltimore LEW, with images from her LEW perspective. The album includes a "Hi Joan" section in honor of Founding Atlanta Chapter President Joan Herron, a well-loved icon in the LAI community. As her health prevents travel, Joan's dear friends enjoy posing for a series of "Hi Joan" photos.

Beyond attending semi-annual LEWs, Holly serves on the Atlanta Chapter Board as the Communications Chair. In addition, Holly is a member of the Global PR & Communication Executive Committee. With Ei's Soil Health and Water Use | Toxicity focus, LAI is a valuable investment of Ei time and resources.

Via Holly's nomination, Ei Strategic Ally Park Pride Executive Director Michael Halicki and Sustainable Facilities Initiative Chair Tim Trefzer, Georgia World Congress Center Authority Director of Sustainability, were inducted into LAI membership in December 2017. Ei Advisor Wayne King, ERTH Products President & CEO, was inducted into LAI membership in December 2015.

Congratulations to Baltimore LEW Chair Susannah Bergmann for spearheading an amazing weekend. Thanks to the dedication of a strong committee, LEW attendees left Baltimore impressed with innovative neighborhood revitalization and inspired by the community involvement of industry leaders like Johns Hopkins Hospital and Under Armour.

... and the Fall 2018 Orange County LEW is a mere six month away!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Atlanta: the greenest convention, sports, and entertainment destination in the world

On October 28, 2014, the Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) announced the 3.9 million square feet conference center was awarded LEED Silver certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The announcement thrust Atlanta into the national | global sustainability spotlight as home to the world's largest LEED-certified convention center AND the 14th largest LEED-certified building.

GWCCA Executive Team
with the LEED Silver  plaque
Recertifying two years early, on November 28, 2017, the GWCC was awarded LEED Gold certification, the second highest level in the rating system. In the recertification, the GWCC was thirteen points higher than the 2014 application and five points higher than the minimum requirement. The majority of the additional points related to the energy-saving performance contract referenced below.

Improving our performance from LEED Silver to Gold reflects our commitment to having better buildings, being better neighbors, and hosting better events,” said Tim Trefzer, LEED Accredited Professional and the GWCCA’s Director of Sustainability. “It’s a testament to our leadership’s vision to anchor the greenest convention, sports, and entertainment destination in the world.” 

LEED - Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design - is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices within the USGBC umbrella.To receive LEED certification, building projects satisfy prerequisites and earn points to achieve different certification levels. For a pre-existing building, LEED certification is often a multi-year endeavor.

As an industry leader in sustainability, the GWCCA 220-acre downtown campus boasts an impressive list of accomplishments:
  • GWCCA diverted more than 14 million pounds of material from landfills since 2010. 
  • GWCC reduced water consumption by 41% since 2009 through the installation of new irrigation, restroom fixtures, and chillers. 
  • GWCC is approximately 28% more energy efficient than similar buildings. 
  • GWCCA uses janitorial paper and cleaning products that meet sustainability criteria, including recycled content materials and|or reduced harmful chemicals. (86% of the products meet the criteria) 
    New equipment in the
    energy-saving performance contract
  • GWCC’s 1,900-solar panel canopy located in the marshaling yard produces enough energy to power 89 Georgia homes annually. 
  • GWCCA employees donated 1730 lbs. of clothing, recycled 152 lbs. of batteries and electronics, and donated nearly 500 meals worth of food to the Atlanta Community Food Bank during the 2016 holiday season.
  • GWCCA finished construction in April 2017 of a $28 million energy-saving performance contract that is expected to save at least 39% on utilities. The contract earned the majority of the additional thirteen LEED certification points in the 2017 recertification.
  • GWCCA-managed Savannah International Trade and Convention Center earned LEED Gold in July 2017, making it the first convention center in the State of Georgia to achieve Gold LEED status. 
Atlanta is home to one of the densest (if not the densest) district of LEED-certified event space in the world and is the greenest convention, sports, and entertainment destination in the world. 

GWCCA
The list of downtown Atlanta LEED-certified facilities is impressive: GWCC (world’s largest LEED-certified convention center), Mercedes-Benz Stadium (first professional sports stadium in the world to achieve LEED-Platinum certification), Philips Arena (world’s first National Basketball Association/National Hockey League arena to get LEED certified), as well as the College Football Hall of Fame (LEED Silver), the World of Coca-Cola (LEED Gold), and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights (LEED Silver).

Atlanta was a driving force in sustainability rising to a key component for large event site selection. As host to the 2013 NCAA® Men’s Final Four®, the second most popular sporting event across the globe, Atlanta set a high standard for sporting event sustainability practices. One of the Atlanta Local Organizing Committee (ALOC) stated goals was to make the 2013 Final Four the "greenest games ever." Tim took the helm for achieving the lofty goal.

SUCCESS: the comprehensive ALOC plan culminated in impressive green footprints before, during and after the games. The ZWA Blog article, Final Four green footprints continue after the games, gives an overview of event sustainability stats; the May 2013 Final Four Sustainability Report is the official in-depth report.

Post-event, Tim and an EPA colleague drafted the Final Four Sustainability RFP sustainability section. Thus, new industry standards were established!

GWCCA Senior Director of Client Services Erik Waldman, validates the role LEED certification plays in event location decision making:
“The meeting planners of today are much more conscious of the effects that their events have on communities than in the past. LEED certifications allow venues to highlight their performance and even benchmark it against competitors. With these two factors alone, Atlanta is easily recognized as one of the most sustainability-friendly sites for events, led by the Georgia World Congress Center and Mercedes-Benz Stadium.”
GWCCA
Environmental and community stewardship are strong drivers within the GWCCA culture. Management understands sustainability is a journey without a specified destination; continued improvement in facility practices are always available. As the anchor to Atlanta's convention, entertainment, and sports downtown sports district, the GWCCA takes their role as a major economic driver seriously.

Chief Resilience Officer for the City of Atlanta Stephanie Stuckey, confirms the GWCCA's leadership role:
The Georgia World Congress Center achieving LEED Gold certification is more than simply the culmination of implementing sustainable practices. It represents a commitment by the GWCCA towards making Atlanta a more resilient place to live, work and play. Given the extraordinary importance of climate protection and the major impact of the building industry in that effort, GWCCA is leading our city by example.” 
In 2019, the GWCCA hosts GreenBuild, the USGBC annual conference attracting an estimated 20,000 attendees from a wide spectrum of the sustainability community. It is a perfect occasion to celebrate Atlanta's status as the greenest convention, sports, and entertainment destination in the world!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Happy 8th Birthday, Ei!

On February 5, 2010, Elemental Impact (Ei) incorporated as a Georgia non-profit corporation and embarked on an incredible journey. Whew, the first eight years were action-packed while the Ei Team lived the tagline: Sustainability in ACTION!

Background:
Ei was formed as the home for the Zero Waste Zones (ZWZ) launched in 2009 by the Green Foodservice Alliance (GFA) within the Georgia Restaurant Association. Over the years, Ei's work evolved well beyond zero waste initiatives.

The following is a recap of Ei's evolution:
2012: Year of Accomplishments | Completions - in late 2012 the ZWZ were sold to the National Restaurant Association catapulting Ei into a major metamorphosis.The ZWA Blog article, The NRA Acquires ZWZ, announces the monumental acquisition.
2013: Year of Transitions | Introductions - in 2013 the three-platforms approach for Ei initiatives | pilots emerged from a metamorphosis stage. The IMPACT Blog, Ei Emerges Strong from Metamorphosis, introduces three Ei platforms: Product Stewardship, Recycling Refinement (RR) and Water Use | Toxicity
2014: Year of Foundations | Evolutions - in 2014 the platforms were grounded with initiative launches and supporting taglines. The IMPACT Blog article, Ei 2014: A Year of Evolution, provides a summary of the platform foundations. 
2015: Year of ACTION - in 2015 Ei lived up to its tagline: Sustainability in ACTION! The IMPACT Blog article, Ei 2015: A Year of ACTION, summarizes the empowering year.
2016: Year of Recognition - in 2016 Ei's important work was recognized in published industry case studies and Ei-hosted national conference panels. In addition, the Ei Blogs' readership significantly increased and Holly was recognized as a respected environmental journalist. The IMPACT Blog article, Ei 2016: A Year of RECOGNITION, gives an in-depth overview of accomplishments, completions, and recognition. 
2017: Year of Shifting Gears - in 2017 Ei announced Soil Health, regenerating the foundation of life, was a prime focus, replacing the prominent RR work. In addition, Ei Leadership experienced a changing of the guard and Ei welcomed new Strategic Allies.
The Ei Team is comprised of Industry Experts and Industry Pioneers. Experts educate, advise and support the Pioneers; the Pioneers craft new standard operating practices within their operations that make good business and environmental sense. Once tested and proven effective, the Pioneers share the evolved practices with their industry colleagues. Ei’s work is complete and the Team moves into a new industry frontier.

Since 2010 the Ei Team served as a leader in pioneering frontiers with a myriad of completed projects | programs. The Mission Accomplished page lists Ei endeavors considered complete via a sale, term expiration or simply mission accomplished!

Soil Health
In 2017 Ei shifted gears within the spiral of humanity's environmental impact. Ei evolved from a focus on RR and food waste collection for compost to Soil Health, regenerating the foundation of life.

GWCCA Team on
Hickory Grove Farm Tour
Initial work relates to the education of depleted soils' direct relationship with out-of-balance carbon cycles, contaminated waterways, excessive water usage, erosion control, stormwater management, and production of nutritious food. In addition, Ei addresses the microplastic pollution within the soils, similar to the plastic smog prolific in the oceans. The inaugural Soil Health focus areas are:

Ei served on The Compost Story Launch Team for the impressive May 2017 release in conjunction with the International Compost Awareness Week. As The Soil Story sequel, The Compost Story explains compost's role in soil regeneration and balancing the carbon cycles.

Ei-hosted panel during
Q&A session
In the November 2017 released Kiss the Ground (KTG), how the food you eat can reverse climate change, heal your body and ultimately save the world book by Josh Tickell, the well-searched chapters dive deep into the destruction of the Earth's soils. The ZWA Blog article, Beyond Sustainability: Regenerative Solutions, was inspired by KTG; the article explains trigger points for the mass desertification and ocean acidification underway across the globe, culminating in a pending oxygen deficiency and food crisis.

At the January 2018 U.S. Composting Council (USCC) Conference in Atlanta, Ei Founder Holly Elmore moderated the popular Ei-hosted panel, Compost's Empowering Role in Sustainable Soils, to a near room capacity audience. Per the program, the following is the panel description:
Soil is the foundation of life. Healthy, vibrant soil eco-systems are the building blocks for healthy communities with effective stormwater management programs, solid erosion control systems, and nutritious urban food production. … and compost feeds the soil eco-systems!
Industry experts shared about compost’s empowering role in carbon sequestration/climate change, soil management systems grounded in solid economics, and green urban infrastructure.
The ZWA Blog article, GAME WON: 2018 compost conference a record-breaking success, features the Ei-hosted panel. PPT presentations are available for download on the Ei-Hosted Conference Panels page.

Simultaneous with the Soil Health platform announcement, the RR platform was moved to Mission Accomplished. RR, zero waste, and other related expertise are available via Holly's private consulting practice at www.hollyelmore.com.

Changing of the Guard
SFCI Chair
In August 2017, Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA) Director of Sustainability Tim Trefzer joined the Ei Leadership Team as the new Sustainable Food Court Initiative (SFCI) Chair.
Past SFCI Chair Doug Kunnemann
& current Chair Tim Trefzer

Founding SFCI Co-Chairs Scott Seydel and Doug Kunnemann of NatureWorks lead the SFCI through grand successes within the RR and Post-Consumer Food Waste focus areas. With Ei's shift to a Soil Health focus, Scott and Doug pass the SFCI leadership baton to Tim with strong accolades.

The ZWA Blog article, Changing of the Guard: Welcome Tim Trefzer to the Ei Leadership Team!, gives a brief SFCI history, chronicles Tim's impressive achievements, and includes Scott and Doug's accolades.

The SFCI evolved into the Sustainable Facilities Initiative (SFI) with a soon-to-be-announced leadership team. A formal SFI launch is slated for late spring 2018.

Strategic Allies
To support new directions in Soil Health endeavors, Ei welcomed Kiss the Ground, One More Generation and Park Pride to the Ei Strategic Ally Program. The IMPACT Blog article, Ei Welcomes New Strategic Allies, provides a brief synopsis of each non-profit and their strategic role related to Ei work.

Michel Halicki & Tim Trefzer
With impeccable timing, Park Pride Executive Director Michael Halicki and Tim were recognized for their outstanding environmental leadership at the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce's E3 Awards. The IMPACT Blog article, Ei Leadership Recognized for Contributions to Atlanta's Economy & Environment, gives details on the impressive awards.

Respected Industry Resource
Urban Biocycles scoping paper
On March 28, 2017, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF) issued the groundbreaking Urban Biocycles scoping paper as an introduction to a Circular Economy approach for urban nutrient cycles. The paper addresses the valuable nutrients within current organic waste streams and how urban environments disrupt nature's perfected nutrient cycles.

A combination of global, long-term, research-oriented planning coupled with immediate, action-oriented, grassroots efforts is a recipe for a Circular Economy to emerge. Ei is honored to support the global planning and grassroots efforts.

The Urban Biocycles paper credits Ei Advisory Council Member Brenda Platt with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and Holly as Expert Input and Case Study Contributors.

The ZWA Blog article, A Circular Economy Approach to Urban Nutrient Cycles, introduces the important EMF scoping paper.

Southern Farm & Garden feature article
Holly provided the copy and photographs for a seven-page, multiple-article feature in the Southern Farm & Garden fall issue. An Icon in Sustainability and Hickory Grove Farm: Regenerative Agriculture Revives Soils & Local Ecosystems, gives an overview of Kennesaw State University’s (KSU) stellar sustainability commitment at the Michael A. Leven School of Culinary Sustainability & Hospitality, The Commons (KSU’s Gold LEED certified dining hall), and Hickory Grove Farm. 

The Ei-hosted Hickory Grove Farm tour for the GWCCA team, including Tim, GWCCA Grounds Maintenance Manager Steve Ware, and Levy Restaurants Executive Chef Matt Roach, is featured in an article sidenote along with a photo of Tim.

Ei Blogs
The Ei Blogs, The Impact Blog and Zero Waste in ACTION Blog, detail project status and tales from Ei's empowering journey. In July 2017, the ZWA Blog pageviews surpassed the coveted 350,000 views milestone – the article, Ei: Respected Journalism, chronicles the blogs’ evolution from a powerful industry voice and resource to respected journalism.

As of this article's publication, The IMPACT Blog's views were at 142,450 while the ZWA Blog boasted 371.250 views.

GaTech Facilities Sustainability Forum
On October 24, 2017, Georgia Institute of Technology (Ga Tech) hosted the first annual Facilities Sustainability Forum to an enthusiastic audience from the university and beyond.

At the invitation of Ga Tech Associate Director, Office of Solid Waste Management & Recycling Cindy Jackson, Holly was the forum featured speaker. Within her opening remarks, Holly shared the long-term, powerful Ga Tech | Ei relationship dating back to the ZWZ's 2009 launch.

The ZWA Blog article, Collaboration + Culture = Sustainability Success, is a forum overview featuring the impressive Building Services, Office of Solid Waste & Recycling, and Landscape Services presentations. A comprehensive forum PPT presentation is available for download on the Ei Speaking Engagements page.

The Power of Connection
Ei plays a valuable industry role by introducing organizations and individuals who share synergies for powerful relationships and action. The year began with a series of Ei Farm Tours for SFI Chair Tim Trefzer, culminating in the Southern Farm & Garden article referred to above.

Lambda Alpha International (LAI)
At Holly's invitation, Mercedes-Benz Stadium (MBS) General Manager Scott Jenkins gave an empowering Sustainability: an economic driver presentation at the February 15, 2017, LAI Atlanta Chapter luncheon meeting.

Ei entourage @LAI meeting
A strong Ei entourage attended the LAI meeting to show their support for their close Ei friend: LAI member Wayne King (U.S. Composting Council | ERTHProducts), Boyd Leake (City of Atlanta, Office of Sustainability), Jim Harrell (Renaissance Technology) and Tim Trefzer (GWCCA).

The IMPACT Blog article, Sustainability: an economic driver, gives an overview of Scott's presentation. Scott's PPT presentation is available on the LAI page for download. 

LAI is a prominent, global land economics honorary. In December 2013, Holly was inducted into LAI and in early 2017 joined the Atlanta Chapter Board. SFI Chair Tim Trefzer and Ei Strategic Ally Michael Halicki accepted their 2017 LAI membership nominations on December 1, 2017.

U.S. Green Building Council Atlanta Visit
In late July 2017, Ei hosted U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Global Zero Waste Director Stephanie Barger on a whirlwind Atlanta zero waste-focused visit. For three days, Stephanie met with Atlanta's sustainability leadership to educate on the USGBC Zero Waste Certification and their commitment to building a Zero Waste Economy. 

The ZWA Blog article, Building a Zero Waste Economy, one city, one step at a time, gives the history of the strong relationship dating back to the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council timeframe along with details on the whirlwind visit.

Laura Turner Seydel | Kathy Kellogg Johnson 
On August 22, 2017, Laura Turner Seydel hosted a Sustainable Soils luncheon at the EcoManor, her LEED Certified home. An impressive cross-section of industry professionals representing the USDA Forest Service, The Conservation Fund, U.S. Composting Council, Turner Foundation, Captain Planet Foundation, Park Pride, Emory University, Ei, Growing a GreenerWorld, and Kellogg Garden Organics attended the empowering luncheon.

Kathy & Laura embrace before
the USCC plenary conversation
The luncheon was in honor of industry icon Kathy Kellogg Johnson's Atlanta visit. When Ei introduced Kathy and Laura in the spring, a lovely friendship blossomed.

At the 2018 USCC Conference closing plenary session, Kathy introduced her dear friend and joined Laura on stage for a conversation on an array of topics. In her opening remarks, Kathy graciously thanked Ei for the introduction to Laura. The profound conversation is one of three main features in the ZWA Blog article, GAME WON: 2018 compost conference a record-breaking success, chronicling the conference. 

Kiss the Ground
During pre-USCC conference activities, Ei hosted Kiss The Ground Co-Founder Finian Makepeace on a series of introductory meetings focussed on regenerative landscape & grounds maintenance. The busy day included meetings with Ga Tech, GWCCA, Southern Farm & Garden and the Atlanta Airport.

The Ei Connects page details an array of Ei introductions over the years. Photos from important meetings are included in the Ei FB album, Ei Connects.

2018: Year of Regeneration
With gears shifted and new leadership in-place, Ei soars into a Year of Regeneration!