A New Years Resolution Idea - The Oberlin Pledge

Posted by Sharon Pearson
Sharon Pearson
Sharon Pearson is the Program Coordinator for the Oberlin Project and liaison to
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on January 16, 2015 in Community Voices


Each January is a new start for many people.  If offers a proactive person the opportunity to start again. Regardless of whether a person believes in New Year’s Resolutions, making commitments at the start of a new year can teach a person how to make, set, and work toward achieving goals. 

2014, was a banner year for Oberlin. According to the Climate Action Plan annual update by the City of Oberlin, the community is on track to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by the end of 2015, compared to a 2012 baseline. As a result of these efforts, The White House and US Department of Energy named Oberlin one of 16 inaugural “Climate Action Champions” in the nation.

David Orr, Visionary/Founder of The Oberlin Project, summarizes Oberlin’s 2014 achievements as follows:

  • White House selection of Oberlin as one of sixteen U.S. cities designated “Climate Action Champions." Building on our previous selection as one of the Clinton Climate Initiative projects (now part of the C40 network) we pulled together the City, Oberlin Municipal Power and Light, and the College to craft a bold, but practical way to become climate neutral. We've eliminated 87% of the CO2 emissions from the municipal power system and halved the community's greenhouse gas emissions in three years.
  • Construction is well under way on the Peter B. Lewis Gateway building. It will be a LEED Platinum, entirely solar powered hotel and conference center, including offices, a culinary school, and businesses. The building will feature a number of firsts, including a geothermal system that uses no climate damaging refrigerants. Completion is scheduled for early 2016.
  • The Peter B. Lewis Gateway building will also feature a Maya Lin installation focused on climate and landscape, the final part of her “Ohio Trilogy."
  • We will complete a passive solar, high-performance, and affordable home in the Southeast Quadrant of the City by mid-March of 2015.
  • Planning for a 50-unit climate positive and affordable development on 14 acres is moving toward a 2015 groundbreaking.
  • We’ve installed Environmental Dashboards in all of Oberlin’s public schools and other sites throughout the City and conducted teacher workshops on systems thinking skills using Dashboard technology.
  • Oberlin is home to both Ohio's first Zero Waste Plan and its first hybrid hydraulic recycling fleet.
  • The next Climate Action Plan milestone is a 75% reduction of our 2012 greenhouse gas emissions by  2030.  That seems a long way off but the closer we get to our goal the more of a challenge it will be to reduce carbon emissions.  Achieving this goal will require the assistance of all who live, work, play, and learn in Oberlin. 

You may be asking yourself, “what can I do?” or “how can I help Oberlin become the first positive climate community in the United States?” The answer is easy - take the Oberlin Climate Action Pledge!

This pledge includes steps each Oberlin resident can take to help achieve the City’s Climate Action Plan. So how does it work?  Visit this link to review the list of commitments.  Then look at the links associated with each of the items and pick one or more that you will commit to accomplishing in 2015.  Each person, if chosen to be made public, will be listed on our website as an Oberlin Climate Action Champion.  Your public commitment will inspire and motivate others in the community. Also, when you make goals public you are more likely to achieve your commitments.  What a great feeling it is to know that your 2015 pledge supports our community’s goals as well as encourages others to follow your lead. 

To access the pledge and begin making your commitment to a positive climate Oberlin community please click here!

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Sharon Pearson is the Program Coordinator for the Oberlin Project and liaison to the Transportation Working Group. Sharon will complete her Bachelor’s Degree in Green and Sustainable Enterprise Management by the end of 2013. She was born and raised in Oberlin and worked for Oberlin City Hall for 25 years. Currently she and her fiancé are moving back to Oberlin so they can take advantage of the various low-carbon transportation methods available including walking, biking, car-sharing, ridesharing while actively being involved in the Oberlin community.


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