At The Refinishing Touch, we’re always thrilled to see cities and local governments making efforts to increase their sustainability and establish green initiatives. We’ve also been reading more and more articles recently, outlining how businesses in sprawling metro areas such as New York have joined the fight to keep their cities more environmentally conscious. Smaller cities, however, though not as densely populated or as economically booming, are also keeping up with sustainability.
The Guardian recently wrote an article that focused on mid-West cities, Milwaukee and Columbus, as precedents for smaller cities that are excelling in sustainability, despite the fact that most land-locked cities lack the same resources major coastal cities, such as New York or Los Angeles, have.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin has seen two of its major industries, manufacturing and brewing, decline in recent years. The city’s government, however, has turned this negative into a positive, creating urban farms out of areas that were previously abandoned factory space or industrial sites. Green buildings and designs are becoming more commonplace in the city of 600,000, as green initiatives are underway from some of Milwaukee’s cornerstone companies, including Harley Davidson and Pabst.
Columbus, Ohio has followed in Milwaukee’s footsteps, also building an energy-conscious development on old industrial property. Though still reliant on the coal industry, Columbus has put into place an E3 program, designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2 percent annually.
While New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and other large cities have been the most vocal supporters of expansive green initiatives, smaller cities have benefits of their own – many cities throughout America’s heartland have large university communities, a good majority of which are focusing more and more on sustainable education and initiatives. But, as most are well aware, in order to continue to increase our nation’s overall sustainability, it must be a collective action. Whether its large cities, small cities, local or the federal government, we must all come together to preserve our environment for generations to come.