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Columbus climate activists kick off new year over sustainable spirits

Scott Hetrick of Great Lakes Brewing Company speaks at the Columbus Green Drinks event on Jan. 12. Credit: Ris Twigg | Lantern Reporter

Members of Ohio State’s and Columbus’ climate-activist community announced their commitment to the issue during the first “Columbus Green Drinks” event of the year on Thursday night hosted by Green Columbus in collaboration with Ohio State.

Students, faculty and Columbus community members kicked off the evening by creating sustainable goals for themselves, celebrating at the university’s first LEED-certified building. Attendees gathered at the Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center on West Campus to sign-up for Earth Day Columbus projects serving the community in April.

“January is a time of New Year’s resolutions,” said Trisha Clark, 62-acre Chadwick Arboretum and Learning Garden program manager.

Clark, who helped coordinate Thursday night’s event, said one of the biggest challenges facing the community is reaching out to people who don’t believe in the science behind climate change.

Columbus City Councilwoman Elizabeth Brown, chair of the council’s environment committee, reiterated the importance of working with the community on climate change.

“Now is a critical time to make your voices heard, and to walk that talk as well,” Brown said.

To help visualize the city’s efforts, Brown explained Columbus’ vital role in both large and small projects implemented throughout the city, outlining one of her committee’s sustainability objectives.

“As a city, we have some aggressive goals to reduce our (emissions) by 30 percent by 2020,” she said. “And we are on track to do that.”

One company in attendance had already achieved its sustainability goal.

Cleveland-based Great Lakes Brewing Company supplied the evening’s adult-beverages. In 2016, the company received the Environmental Protection Agency’s Gold-Level Encouraging Environmental Excellence Award.

Scott Hetrick, a sales rep for the brewery, said that the company is committed to environmental issues not only in Cleveland, but in each city it distributes its craft beer.

“We lowered our energy use and our water use by six percent every year, against production that was going up,” said Hetrick.

Kate Bartter, director of OSU’s Office of Energy and Environment, mentioned the university’s sustainability goals, which include reducing campus energy consumption, increasing the purchase of locally sourced food and achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, among others.

“We should not hesitate to keep innovating, researching, teaching, and engaging,” encouraged Bartter. “This very large research institution cares about these issues and is working on solutions that will make a difference in the world.”

 

Correction 1/17: An earlier version of this article misstated the event name as Branch Out Columbus Earth Day. Additionally, the article has been updated to reflect that Green Columbus co-hosted the event with Ohio State.

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