Cleveland, Ohio is working to create a more circular economic structure. Sustainable Cleveland, the city's sustainability program, recently provided updates on its progress.
The Midwest city has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% over a 2010 baseline by 2050. The Clean and Equitable Energy Future report, which was released in April 2021, details the steps the city will follow to successfully transition to 100% clean energy.
Since Sustainable Cleveland's last virtual meeting in January, "a few big things have happened," says Kristin Hall, director, City of Cleveland Mayor's Office of Sustainability.
"We have moved forward with identifying a consultant to help us develop the Circular Cleveland roadmap, which is going to be really a blueprint for us to transition to a more circular economy here in Cleveland, especially focused on community engagement and really making sure that we're we're lifting up our Cleveland residents through this process."
The first details of the Circular Cleveland roadmap are expected to be completed by early 2022. In the meantime, the city is focusing on fostering strong community engagement.
Neighbor Up, a nonprofit community-building fundraising program, recently closed the first round of grant applications that will "provide financial assistance to grassroots neighborhood groups, faith-based organizations and small non-profit organizations (with an operating budget of less than $250,000) to support their community work related to the circular economy."
Twenty-one organizations submitted grant applications that cover a six-month period and will range between $250 and $3,000. Hall expects the recipients to be announced "in the next few months."
Lastly, the city will be leveraging community members who are passionate about sustainability to educate residents. Applications are now open for the first class of Circular Cleveland Ambassadors. Ideal candidates are "passionate and engaged individuals within Cleveland who are interested in reducing waste and pollution, while also supporting economic opportunities in their community."
The leadership role will require the selected ten ambassadors to engage in the community in an effort to progress the transition from a linear economy to a more circular model. The initative is funded through a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Partners of the Circular Cleveland initative include the city of Cleveland, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress, Neighborhood Connections, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.