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‘Green’ partnership to focus on climate change

April 7th, 2008

President Ramsey, others share Earth Day reflections

University of Louisville President James Ramsey, Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson and U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell are among more than 40 community leaders who have contributed to Earth Day Perspectives, a collection of writings about the environment in the April issue of JCPS Global Connections.

“The idea is to get people thinking about what they can do on a personal level to protect the environment,” said Brent Fryrear, director of Partnership for a Green City.

Everyone’s heard about climate change, but how can we do something about it in Louisville?

That’s only one of the issues for the Partnership for a Green City, a coalition the University of Louisville, Louisville Metro Government and Jefferson County Public Schools created in 2004 to preserve the local environment.

The group already has led efforts to measure how local pollution affects health, to improve “green” education in the community and to find new ways of saving energy, said Brent Fryrear, who began directing the partnership in December. Those activities earned the group a top award last year from the National Association of Counties’ Center for Sustainable Communities.

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The glaciers on Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania are melting; the Partnership for a Green City wants to know what climate change means to Louisville.

In the months ahead, learning more about climate change — and how Louisville figures into the phenomenon — will be a key goal, Fryrear said.

The partnership’s climate change team is organizing a local inventory of greenhouse gases, a comprehensive study that will involve local businesses and local utilities.

“This project will be significant because no one has measured greenhouse gases in Kentucky since 1990,” he said.

The partnership also is working to bring together a wide variety of environmental efforts under way in the city, the school system and at UofL.

For example, Louisville’s government just launched “Go Green,” a campaign urging people to take five simple actions each day to improve the environment. UofL is stepping up campus recycling and developing “green” purchasing policies, while JCPS is expanding environmental education in local public schools and creating outdoor classrooms.

“People are doing a whole lot in the Louisville area to protect the environment,” Fryrear said. “The partnership is trying to bring them together so they can coordinate their activities. If we’re going to make things happen, we need to talk to each other.”

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