A Local, Green Forum

April 17, 2007

Cleveland, Ohio doesn't get a lot of respect. It's been the butt of countless jokes, an environmental scapegoat, the "City whose river caught on fire," and a symbol for the declining cities of the "Rust Belt" of the American midwest.

But that doesn't mean that there isn't a green heart in the Cleveland area. Even a city in the middle of the rust belt can be a center for "Think Globally – Act Locally." In fact, I've recently found that the Cleveland area has a vibrant local/regional blog at Green City Blue Lake, covering the local and regional scene from a green perspective. GCBL arose out of an earlier site called EcoCity Cleveland, which remains online as an archive with a wealth of information still available in its pages, but is no longer actively supported.

Recent content on the Green City Blue Lake site ranges from articles about alternative energy policy to articles about local wildlife to a recent decision by county commissioners to demolish an existing landmark office tower rather than rehabilitating it.

It's an excellent example of a regional interest blog. GCBL aims to be a hub for sustainability with a broad list of objectives including creating a regional agenda for sustainability, focusing on "11 areas of practice – water, energy, economy and sustainable business, regional food systems, land and conservation, transportation, green building and neighborhood development, health, arts, education, and spirit." The site also seeks to "Promote a positive GreenCityBlueLake identity for Cleveland and the region — a new image that will make the outside world see us differently and will make us break out of our tired, Rust-Belt mindsets and imagine new futures."

Even though the preceeding EcoCity Cleveland site, which led to GCBL, is no longer actively being updated, it still also contains a wealth of good information. Some of it is local, but much of it is widely applicable, and it is another resource that ought to be bookmarked.

The only thing I could think of to ask for is a link to other, similar regional blogs (such as one closer to my own community) or a clearinghouse site that could direct people to appropriately local blogs for their particular regional interests. I'm not aware of anything of its kind in my area, but I'm going to start looking. I'd also be very interested in gathering a list of regional interest blogs (post 'em in the comments below, if you like). Some of this might be less interesting to you if you don't live in Cleveland, or if you don't live in a region that is similar to the Cleveland area. But even if you are in a completely different part of the country (or outside the US entirely), I think this is still a good example to look at to see how a regional blog might be organized.

Let's see if a network of these sites can be organized. Rather than coming from a top-down organization, if local, regional blogs like this include links to other blogs with a similar approach, the connections will grow and it will be possible to find regional information on sustainability across the country.