Biking Buckeyes and the greening of the heartland

By Barbara Kessler

Columbus, Ohio. It’s not the first place you think of when green cities come to mind. Or the second or the third.

Indeed, there’s a whole string of burgs more strongly associated with sustainability. There’s Boulder with its rock solid commitment to community gardens, organic food mecca Eugene and all wind-powered Austin. The U.S. has many traditional pockets of non-tradition paying daily homage to the green spirit.

But now here comes Columbus — and Little Rock, and Raleigh, and Sioux Falls. These regular-folks towns are getting their green groove on too. They’re setting up sustainability offices, buying biodiesel buses, hosting solar car events and designing new bike lanes.

Dems Infuse Convention With Green Ideas

By Barbara Kessler

Hazardous chemicals are on hiatus, bottled water is out and bikes are in at the Democratic Convention in Denver, where organizers are seizing the opportunity to green the festivities this week.

As some 10,000 delegates, volunteers, politicos and media people converge on the Mile High city, they’ll be quenching their thirst at “hydration stations” or water fountains serving Denver tap water (inside and outside the Pepsi Center) instead of grabbing the once ubiquitous and landfill-clogging plastic water bottles that have been the norm at big gatherings.

Yes, what’s old is new again, and conventioneers have already been drinking from the well, so to speak, at weekend events where the non-profit water utility Denver Water provided a truck of chilled agua to refill water bottles. The new approach has been “incredibly well received” by those attending the pre-Convention activities, said Donna Pacetti, the local government conservation coordinator with Denver Water. “They love it. It’s cold water. We keep it chilled so it comes out at about 38-40 degrees.”

Convention goers also will find themselves with another back-to-basics choice, with 1,000 bicycles available free-of-charge for short carbon-free hops around top, courtesy of Humana and the Bikes Belong Coalition.