Grand Rapids forms Sustainability Partnership

I’ve discussed on a number of occasions how states and local communities in the US are doing a much better job of addressing environmental concerns than our national government. The city of Grand Rapids, MI, is proving this the case again with the formation of it’s Community Sustainability Partnership:

[Grand Rapids Mayor George] Heartwell, who made sustainability the centerpiece of this year’s “State of the City” speech, was to announce today that top officials from the city’s public schools and several colleges are joining the city in forming a “Community Sustainability Partnership.”

Partners scheduled to attend this morning’s signing ceremony included:

# Bert Bleke, Grand Rapids Public Schools superintendent

# Juan Olivarez, president of Grand Rapids Community College

# Harry Knopke, president of Aquinas College

# Mark Murray, president of Grand Valley State University

“We’re all convinced this is about the future of not only our organizations, but the entire community,” Heartwell said. “It’s about leaving a better community for our children.”

The three-year partnership will create a framework and measurements for their sustainability programs.

While the article doesn’t mention specific goals of the partnership (I’m guessing that’s a part of the three-year program), it does demonstrate that strategic partnerships like this are possible at the local level. I’m inspired by the fact that Mayor Heartwell is pushing the concept of sustainability itself and attempting to bring citizens together to make it a part of Grand Rapids’ community life. Hopefully, this will lead to a larger discussion of the issue within the city’s educational community, and perhaps even more attention in school and college curriculums.

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