Celebrating 10 Years of Cleveland Growing Toward Becoming a Sustainable City!

Blog Date
Stuart O. Smith, Jr.

The Keeping It Green video
by Youth Opportunities Unlimited (@YOUCleveland)
was shown at the Summit opening.

Sustainable Cleveland is:
  • A community of people from every walk of life working together to reshape Cleveland into a vibrant livable city with thriving businesses and a flourishing natural environment.
  • A resource that offers information and actionable tools so you can make smart, sustainable choices at home, at work and in your community.

Mission: Sustainable Cleveland is a 10-year initiative that engages people from all walks of life, working together to design and develop a thriving and resilient Cleveland region that leverages its wealth of assets to build economic, social and environmental well-being for all.

Vision: Cleveland will surprise, amaze, and inspire the world with its transformation to a bright green city on a blue lake. Determined people from every walk of life will work together to shape vibrant livable communities, innovative businesses, and a flourishing natural environment that will result in health, wealth, creativity, and economic opportunities for all.

I had heard about the work of Sustainable Cleveland (@sustainableCLE) for years from talking to their staff and volunteers at their booths at Cleveland area environmental events I attended. This was the first year I was able to attend their Annual Sustainable Cleveland Summit which took place on October 16, 2019, at Cleveland Public Auditorium. I knew that each year had a theme:

  • 2011- Energy Efficiency
  • 2012- Local Foods
  • 2013- Renewable Energy
  • 2014- Zero Waste
  • 2015- Clean Water
  • 2016- Sustainable Transportation
  • 2017- Vibrant Green Space
  • 2018- Vital Neighborhoods
  • 2019- Engaged People

Learn more about the nine action areas key to "building a more sustainable, resilient, and thriving Cleveland" by watching videos on their web page: SustainableCleveland.org/Action_Areas

What I did not fully realize was that the 11th Annual Sustainable Cleveland Summit was the final event planned as part of this ten-year initiative by the City of Cleveland Mayor's Office. At the Summit, the leaders committed to continue the work of Sustainable Cleveland, but they were not ready to announce in what form these activities will take place. I look forward to when these future initiatives are publicly announced.

In this blog post, I will share tweets and videos relating to the 11th Annual Sustainable Cleveland Summit, and the work of Sustainable Cleveland and its many partners. Please share anything that you find interesting, so that others may learn about the mission of Sustainable Cleveland. Thank you!


Pre-Summit Announcements


October 16, 2019, Summit Day!


Attending the 11th Annual Sustainable Cleveland Summit

In addition to the tweets from the opening, we are fortunate that the City of Cleveland has provided a full Facebook video of the opening, which I have embedded here:

The biggest announcement at the opening of the Summit came from Mayor Frank Jackson, which you can read more about in:



2019 Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) Commuter Awards Announcement

A BIG thank-you to @NOACA_MPO who, after the Summit, send me a direct message on Twitter with the full list of the NOACA Commuter Award winners and a link to their article with more information about the award:



Appreciative Inquiry - Dr. David Cooperrider

Appreciative inquiry (AI) is a model that seeks to engage stakeholders in self-determined change. . . .  It was developed at Case Western Reserve University's department of organizational behavior, starting with a 1987 article by David Cooperrider and Suresh Srivastva. They felt that the overuse of "problem solving" hampered any kind of social improvement, and what was needed were new methods of inquiry that would help generate new ideas and models for how to organize.

Dr. David Cooperrider (@Dlc6David) "facilitated the first Sustainable Cleveland Summit in 2009, and many since then, returned to the event this year to lead the group through an afternoon Design session." "David L. Cooperrider, PhD, is a Distinguished University Professor and holds the Fairmount Santrol - David L. Cooperrider Professorship in Appreciative Inquiry at the Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University, where he is the faculty Founder and Director of the Fowler Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit." (@CWRU @caseweatherhead)

I had not seen Dr. David Cooperrider since I had him as a professor many years ago. During the Summit, I received confirmation that I would see him again later this month at the Cleveland Rising Summit (@CLERisingSummit) on October 29-31, 2019.




Solutions Providers


Circular Economy





This Summit 2019 Promo video by Sustainable Cleveland is a must-watch! It does an excellent job of featuring the many partner organizations working to create a better Cleveland!


Here is a great video by Cool Cleveland that was taken at the Summit:


Please consider sharing these video be retweeting the following:


Related Blog Posts

Here are my sosAssociates blog posts that relate to some of the Sustainable Cleveland nine action areas for "...building a more sustainable, resilient and thriving Cleveland" -- I have listed them under the theme for each year:

2011- Energy Efficiency and 2013- Renewable Energy:

2012- Local Foods and 2014- Zero Waste:

We were fortunate to have "Ohio's largest environmental education event and the longest running Earth Day celebration in the nation" in our community until the Earth Day Coalition (@EarthDay_CLE) closed its doors after the 2017 EarthFest. Their EarthFest featured local environmental groups [including Sustainable Cleveland (@sustainableCLE)], local foods, and demonstrated how to put on a zero waste event. I hope that they will start up again sometime. They did a great job of connecting many of the organizations that now continue the environmental work in our community.

Read more in my Earth Day blog posts:

2015- Clean Water:

2016- Sustainable Transportation:

2017- Vibrant Green Space:

See all of my blog posts about the Cleveland Metroparks here.

2018- Vital Neighborhoods and 2019- Engaged People:


Thank You and Look to the Future

Congratulations to the Sustainable Cleveland leadership team for their great accomplishments over these past ten years. I look forward to learning what is being planned going forward.

Important work needs to be done in Cleveland and throughout the world about the environment. I hope that Cleveland will continue to be a world leader through the support of the Sustainable Cleveland mission into the future.