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Southwest Ohio Updates from the Field – June 2023

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Letter from the Regional Director

OEC Southwest Ohio: June 2023 Updates


This spring marked an exciting time of growth for equity and environmental justice priorities in the region. Cincinnati City Council unanimously voted to adopt the 2023 Green Cincinnati Plan — a community vision for collective action to equitably address climate change and reach carbon neutrality by 2050. The Midwest Regional Sustainability Summit brought together over 500 leaders from across the Midwest to discuss possibilities and solutions for an equitable climate future. Finally, it was an honor to recognize Cincinnati City Councilmember Meeka Owens as our statewide Climate Policy Champion award recipient at the OEC’s annual Green Gala. 

As summer officially begins, please read on for opportunities to take action and participate locally this season. Thank you for subscribing and for your continued support!

With gratitude,

Kylie Johnson
Southwest Ohio Regional Director

Regional Events & Opportunities

ORSANCO 75th Anniversary Celebration Event at Smale Riverfront Park
Wednesday, June 28, 2023
Smale Riverfront Park | 1-4 PM

Join the OEC in celebrating ORSANCO’s 75 years of protecting the Ohio River water quality and the partners who make it possible. Come see ORSANCO’s Life Below the Waterline 2,200 gallon mobile aquarium filled with fish from the Ohio River as well as environmental education activities and prizes from partner agencies! For more information, visit ORSANCO’s website

Regional Climate Collaborative Candidate Education Nights
Thursday, July 20 & July 27
6:30-8 PM

Green Umbrella, in partnership with our sibling organization, OEC Action Fund, presents two educational events about sustainability action and policy for candidates running for local offices. Regional sustainability leaders will educate candidates on how to prepare their communities to act, where resources and champions are needed for continued progress, and how to leverage forthcoming state and national funding. The event on July 20 is open to all confirmed candidates running for City Council and School Board in Cincinnati. The event on July 27 is open to all Mayoral and City Council candidates in Greater Cincinnati. Candidates are also welcome to register campaign staff as guests (this event is not open to the public).

Ohio River Paddlefest
Saturday, August 5, 2023

The OEC is proud to sponsor the Ohio River Paddlefest, the nation’s largest paddling celebration, on Saturday, August 5! Bring your own boat or rent a single kayak (while they last) and paddle either 4.5 or 9 miles on the Ohio while it’s closed to motorized traffic. Whether you’re paddling or not, kick off the weekend on Friday, August 4 at the free Outdoors for All Expo at Schmidt Recreation Complex, featuring 50+ exhibitors (including parks, outdoor outfitters, adventure experts and environmentally minded organizations), hands-on demos, live music, raffles, food trucks and beer. All proceeds benefit Adventure Crew, a nonprofit that connects city teens in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky with nature and each other through outdoor adventures. 

Greater Dayton Partners for the Environment – Fall Awards Celebration
Wednesday, September 20
Glen Helen Lodge | 6-8 PM

Greater Dayton Partners for the Environment’s Fall Awards Celebration will take place on September 20, 2023, from 6-8 PM at Glen Helen Lodge at Camp Greene. The Fall Awards celebrate those who work to protect, preserve, and restore the environmental and agricultural resources of the Great Miami River and Little Miami River watersheds. The Awards recognize our victories and honor those who provide us with leadership and inspiration. Learn more about sponsorship opportunities here. Nominations for Partner of the Year Awards are being accepted until July 31. To nominate yourself or another individual, please submit this form

Regional & Partner Updates

Celebrating City of Cincinnati Councilmember Meeka Owens at the OEC Green Gala

OEC’s Green Gala provides the opportunity for environmental champions around the state to come together, build our path ahead, and celebrate the accomplishments that bring us hope and inspiration.

This year, the OEC recognized City of Cincinnati Councilmember Meeka Owens with the Climate Policy Champion Award, celebrating her outstanding successes as an elected official leading the way in equitable climate action. Her dedication uplifted some of Councilmember Owen’s climate action accomplishments, like serving as Chair of the Climate, Environment, and Infrastructure Committee — one of the first local government committees in the nation to prioritize climate change. Owens also recently chaired the 2023 Green Cincinnati Plan Steering Committee and ensured racial equity was prioritized throughout the engagement process and final written plan. Congratulations Councilmember Owens on your Climate Policy Champion Award, and thank you for your incredible leadership!

Imagining What’s Possible at the Midwest Regional Sustainability Summit

OEC staff and community members from across Ohio attended the Midwest Regional Sustainability Summit in May to connect with hundreds of passionate, visionary leaders and partners in the region to “Imagine What’s Possible.” The OEC proudly sponsored and served as a planning partner for the Summit’s 10th annual conference. OEC staff members Marisa Twigg and Chris Tavenor challenged attendees to “Imagine a Future Without Climate Misinformation & Disinformation ” in an interactive workshop alongside Tatiana Rodzos, a partner at Ohio Citizen Action. Thank you to our many elected climate champions for participating, including Cincinnati City Councilmembers Mark Jeffreys, Meeka Owens, Reggie Harris, Liz Keating, and Commissioner Driehaus.

Ohioans travel to DC to lobby Congress for climate policy

In June, Ohio volunteers from Citizens Climate Lobby (including SW Ohio delegates Peg Fischer, Kelly Patterson, Chris Heckman, Michael Roman and Marko Stojanovic) went to Washington D.C. and joined hundreds of others for a national conference and to meet with over 400 Congressional offices. Specific policies that were lobbied for included clean energy permitting reform, carbon border adjustment mechanisms, and carbon fee and dividend. Visit their website to learn more about the Cincinnati and Dayton chapters

PFAS Lawsuit Settled

Green Umbrella Board Member Robert Bilott is one of the plaintiffs attorneys in a recently settled lawsuit against three chemical companies – DuPont, Chemours, and Corteva – that asserted their products contaminated public water systems with PFAS, or “forever chemicals”. The companies are set to pay $1.19 billion to a water district settlement fund. Learn more about Robert Bilott’s work here. Learn more about the lawsuit here.

Tri-State Trails Is Official!

Tri-State Trails is now an officially approved 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization! Formerly a Green Umbrella program, last year they began the process of spinning Tri-State Trails into its own nonprofit. This change allows Tri-State Trails to expand their reach and Green Umbrella to have capacity for more environmental priorities.

Groundwork ORV Youth Employee Kickoff

The nation’s largest youth green workforce program centered in environmental justice has kicked off! Each year, over 150 Groundwork Ohio River Valley youth employees better themselves and their communities through green initiatives like urban forestry, energy efficiency and green infrastructure. During their first week of the summer session they built air quality monitors for residents, tackled invasive species, and even started a podcast. This work is made possible through partnerships with the Cincinnati Park Board, The Cincinnati Zoo, Great Parks, and MSD. You can keep track of their work here

City of Dayton Updates

Thanks to the City of Dayton for providing the following updates: 

  • The City of Dayton and Montgomery County launched the Solar United Neighbors Business and Non Profit Co-Op! Any interested businesses and nonprofits can sign up here.
  • The City worked to plan over 600+ new trees over Earth Month! Once the trees mature, this will equal the amount of carbon sequestered roughly 49 acres of forests. 
  • The City has been busy working on a multitude of grant opportunities to expand EV chargers and assist with some environmental justice projects around our superfund sites.
  • Mark Charles, the City of Dayton Sustainability Manager is retiring after 40+ in the environmental field. Meg Maloney will be taking over as the Sustainability Manager as of July 1, 2023. Thank you Mark for your contributions and welcome, Meg! 

For more updates, visit the City of Dayton Office of Sustainability website.

OEC Updates

GET OUT THE VOTE: Vote No on Issue 1 on August 8

Our ability to fight for a healthy environment is directly impacted by Issue 1, which will make it harder for Ohio voters to fight for clean air, land, water, and democracy through future ballot initiatives. 

Issue 1 shreds Ohio’s Constitution, ending majority rule and taking away our right to decide what happens in our state. 

The bottom line is that we all want the freedom to make decisions that affect our lives. Ballot initiatives let us exercise that freedom. We must protect that right by showing up with all of our friends and family to the polls to VOTE NO on Issue 1 in August. 

Pledge to Vote No on Issue 1 and share our voter guide with your network.

Join the One Person One Vote campaign on Thursday, July 29 at 5:30 PM for an Urgent Community Meeting to learn more about Issue 1. The event will be held at Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 392 (1228 Central Parkway, Cincinnati OH 45202). RSVP here.

TAKE ACTION: Speak Up for Our National ForestsUSFS Public Comment

The U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management recently launched a process with the potential to provide critical protections for mature and old-growth forests. Now until July 20, you can tell these agencies why our public forests deserve to be preserved.