Sustaining the Message with Green

Jackie Green outside his shop on Market Street

Everybody in town, it seems, is ready to talk about sustainability. The question is whether anyone is going to do anything.

Yesterday, Greg Fischer appointed 25 people to a Food Policy Advisory Board, which may lead to some new ideas for improving our diets and eating more local food products. I did a story the other day on Chef John Varanese, one of several local chefs emphasizing local foods who is even producing a TV show called Big World of Food.

One of our sponsors, Fresh Start Growers Supply, hosts regular classes on how to do urban agriculture, such as raising chickens.

In his editorial board interview at the C-J yesterday, Fischer mentioned the infamous Office of Sustainability. I say infamous because it became a major campaign issue last spring, when the media jumped on speculation that candidate Jackie Green was exchanging his endorsement for a promise that Fischer would create a Sustainability Office that Green would have some role in.

Here we are, two months into Fischer’s mayoral era, and while there’s some talk of sustainability, there’s no office and Green is busy running his bike shops and raising two daughters. I caught up with him last Thursday, and asked him about the Mayor’s efforts so far. Green  says the mayoral race was just part of his overall campaign to push for sustainability.

“We continue to be successful in getting the message out. It’s about health, fuel, air quality, water quality,” says Green, who in March received a prestigious Acorn Award for his efforts to promote green living. “I haven’t given up, and I haven’t lost hope for Greg.”

Obviously, there wasn’t really any deal between Fischer and Green last May. And Green has become, for anyone who will listen, one of Fischer’s biggest critics.

“I’m waiting for the light to come in his head and that he will see what fuel does to our local economy. We’re 99 percent dependent on non-local fuel. He just doesn’t get it,” he says.

What Green would like to see if more emphasis and money put into the local transit system, and less resources on bridges. He thinks the proposed Metro Transportation Center is useless until some incentives are put in place to increase bicycle use.  And he really believes that the city’s development structure, which encourages the destroying of farmland, needs to be changed. That’s what Green finds disappointing, that Fischer is pushing to eliminate food deserts in town while not doing anything about “green-fill development” in the city.


4 Comments on "Sustaining the Message with Green"

  1. There’s lots of sustainability issues besides fuel…food being a big one. “Pushing to eliminate food deserts in town while not doing anything about “green-fill development” in the city,” as quoted in the article are two different things. Creating in-city growing areas delivers healthy food and exercise while cutting transportation costs to truck food here is a win-win for everyone. The economic impact on the areas surrounding these growing areas is also a positive by-product. Because of these issues, I’m glad our Mayor is putting his attention here instead of bicycle use.

  2. followthemoney | April 28, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Reply

    When folks make comments such as Mr. Green’s, I have learned to always first look for self-interest. Other motivations can tend to get in the way of even our best intentions. Mr. Green is in the business of selling bicycles, and not just any bicycles but specifically commuter bikes. While I agree that more bike use and less fuel use is generally a good thing, it would be best to have someone at the forefront of this issue with a more balanced outlook. After all, there are other issues to consider, such as efficient flow of traffic, safety, etc. I fear Mr. Green would focus solely on getting more bikes on the road, which puts more money in his pocket.

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