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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Ei Expanding Horizons into Health Impact

In July Susan Grider Montgomery, Zero Waste Zones Program Director, presented and facilitated a discussion on "Going Local in Food/Energy/Health:  Methods, Measures and Strategies" at the 2011 Society for Values in Higher Education Conference hosted by Elmhurst College, Elmhurst, IL.    One of the conferences focus areas was Planning and Sustainability.

Founded in 1921, the SVHE maintains an important mission:

The Society for Values in Higher Education is a fellowship of teachers and others who care deeply about ethical issues—such as integrity, diversity, social justice and civic responsibility—facing higher education and the wider society. We believe that such values call for study, reflection, discussion, and action. We pursue these activities through publications, projects, regional gatherings, and an annual national meeting.
Jo Margaret Mano of SVHE &
Susan Montgomery
It is organizations like the SVHE that vet out the challenges facing our civilization and educate on the possibilities.  Through higher education, our future leaders benefit from the wisdom of the preceding generations while maintaining the enthusiasm necessary to create solutions for forthcoming generations.

Susan's 2011 sessions were the evolution of a 2010 competitive paper review at SVHE on sustainability.  This year's presentation and discussion on health economics and sustainability underscores the idea we must go LOCAL to go GLOBAL.  The time is now to address LOCAL HEALTH, which is focused on illness prevention and health risk reduction. Local food plays an integral roll in establishing a healthy local community.
Susan facilitating lively discussion
In November Susan deepens her health focus with a guest lecture presentation at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

It is an honor for Elemental Impact to join Susan's journey of embracing the importance of health economics and the health impact of our choices.  This fall Ei Consulting plans to announce the addition of health economics and impact to the list of offered services.  Stay tuned!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Sheraton Atlanta POWERS New Energy & Identity

Built in the 1960's as Atlanta's first large convention hotel, the Sheraton Downtown Atlanta exhibits the wisdom that comes with a long history.  With more than $70 million invested on Atlanta’s flagship Sheraton property during the past seven years, the Sheraton Atlanta is powering a revival from an unpretentious, traditional property into a stylishly designed hotel with a new energy and identity.

New energy takes many forms including the latest enhancement to their environmental commitment: Installation of charging stations for electric vehicles (EVs)!  The Sheraton is the first Atlanta hotel to install EV charging stations, which are complimentary to guests using the parking garage.

We are tremendously excited to be offering this resource to our guests,” said Niles Harris, General Manager of the Sheraton Atlanta. “It is our hope that these stations will attract energy-conscious patrons and showcase our progressive efforts towards sustainability.”

The idea was originally proposed by Mo Babalola, Director of Parking Operations for the Sheraton Atlanta, as a way to communicate to guests that the Sheraton Atlanta is a responsible advocate of green initiatives, and to provide a practical option for guests that drive electric vehicles. For additional information on the EV charging program, read the Sheraton's August, 2011 press release, Sheraton Atlanta Provides Charging Stations for Electrical Vehicles.

As a Charter Zero Wastes Zones Participant, the Sheraton Atlanta exemplifies the pioneering spirit typical of program participants with enthusiasm extending well beyond material diversion from landfills.  Astute business operators, ZWZ Participants develop green programs within their operations that make solid business sense.

When the South Carolina Hospitality Association brought a group to Atlanta on August 16 & 17 to learn about  ZWZ success, the Sheraton served as the host hotel.  Visit the ZWZ Blog post, ATL Zero Waste Team Hosts SC Hospitality Group, for details on the tour.

One of the most green-friendly hotels in downtown Atlanta, the Sheraton employs unique initiatives throughout the property. These initiatives include a laundry water recycling system that saves 375,000 gallons of drinking water each month, low energy lighting in all permanent light fixtures, food waste composting program, a $700,000 hotel-wide water heating system that increases previous efficiency by more than 50%, and a saline injection system that cleans the swimming pool naturally, without utilizing harmful chemicals. Visit their Greenest Hotel in Atlanta article excerpt for additional behind-the-scenes eco-friendly practices.

Always looking for ways to help the environment and be proactive in its environmental tactics, the Sheraton Downtown Atlanta is a true leader in evolving hotel operating practices.  Thank you Niles Harris for inspiring your hotel team, and the community, to integrate sustainability into the business model foundation.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

City of Atlanta Embraces Urban Agriculture

Thanks to a generous donation by WalMart, the City of Atlanta and Sustainable Atlanta announced an urban agriculture design competition for a vacant lot across from City Hall.  The Trinity Avenue Urban Farm Design Competition was launched to support the city's effort in establishing an effective and inspirational model for urban agriculture and furthering the city's pursuit of becoming a Top 10 sustainable city.

Trinity Avenue Urban Farm Site
With the ultimate goal of showcasing how fresh food can be grown locally and sustainably, the competition will promote creativity and innovation in the design of the farm, as well raise awareness of the farm itself. The Office of Sustainability is consulting on this multidisciplinary project with Sustainable Atlanta, the Atlanta City Council, the University of Georgia School of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Georgia Organics and Truly Living Well.

Transforming the old traffic court site into a vibrant demonstration farm supports the City of Atlanta's "Power to Change" sustainability plan and its commitment to bring local food within 10 minutes of 75 percent of all residents by 2020. "The Trinity Avenue farm will be a living visual of the city's dedication to sustainability," said Office of Sustainability Communications Manager Aaron Bastian.

By taking the form of a contest, the Trinity Avenue Urban Farm project  expands its contribution beyond the immediate area to urban farming in general.  According the Jenah Zwig, Project Manager for the City's Sustainability Office and the internal force behind the project.  “This competition hopes to inspire an innovative vision of what’s possible when rethinking conventional urban farming.”

The contest is open to students, educators and professionals across Georgia in fields related to urban agriculture and landscape architecture. Interested competitors must register online at this link by October 15 and submit proposals by November 1. Once the winning design is chosen, the preparation of the land and design installation will begin immediately, with the farm scheduled to open to the public by the spring of 2012. There will be a $25,000 grand prize awarded to the winning submission.

The City of Atlanta is taking their sustainability commitment into ACTION.  It is inspirational to witness the collaborative efforts of government, universities, non-profits and private enterprise come to fruition in substantial, long-term projects like the Trinity Avenue Urban Farm Design Competition.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Ray Anderson: A Legacy Beyond Description

On Monday, August 08 Ray Anderson, founder of Interface, left a legacy beyond description when he passed through the veils separating us from the heavens.

An uncompromising hero, Ray inspired his carpet manufacturing company to accomplish what seemed impossible back in 1994:  reduce energy consumption, eliminate landfill destined material, and decrease Green House Gas emissions ALL within a solid, profitable business model.  As a true leader, Ray inspired his comrades (employees) to co-create a new operating plan.  Wow - did it work!  Refer to the below list of recommended articles for specifics on the miraculous results of his revolutionary approach that produced environmental and corporate WINS.

Ray proved "good business" and environmental stewardship are one in the same.  Without Ray here to personally advocate the message, it is imperative to honor his legacy by following his lead.  Remember Ray listened to his Heart and refused to abide by logic embraced in social consciousness.  The answers to creating strong economic strides with net zero environmental impact lie in the silence between the verbose clutter of our minds.  Silence is heard by our open Hearts, where logic has no home.  Once the silence is heard, logical solutions miraculously appear.

THANK YOU Ray Anderson for your unwavering Faith and willingness to Trust your Heart.  You are a true inspiration and your legacy lives.

Recommended Links for Ray Anderson:

A simple Google search yields many more articles|features on Ray Anderson's contribution to humanity.