The Green Column #13

Measuring Lincoln Green by Design’s Own Sustainability

October 19, 2009—After six months of Green Pages, I’m proud of what’s been accomplished and aware of how much more needs to be done. We are pleased to announce that the editor of Neighborhood Extra has invited Lincoln Green by Design (LGbD) to continue Green Page columns for another six months.

Columns have been included in organizational newsletters, used for presentations and perhaps more importantly, helped to further educate LGbD’s members and citizens of Lincoln in important local sustainability issues. Membership in LGbD has increased by 33 percent from 218 in April to 291 in October.

Success hasn’t been limited to the Green columns. Since the Green Page’s launch, there have been many developments in LGbD including Task Group activity, increased involvement with government groups and agencies and more input in public policy.

The Education Task Group created “Earth to Lincoln,” a KZUM radio program. Every Monday evening, the show features speakers, discussions on local green issues and current events.

Sustain-a-Brew Tuesdays at Buzzard Billy’s Restaurant in the Haymarket is where thirsty patrons can find out how drinking a local draft brew saves the environment. Developed by the Business Task Group, Sustain-a-Brew Tuesdays pair sustainable facts such as, “The simple choice of drinking a pint from draught instead of the bottle cuts the environmental impact by a whopping 68 percent,” with tasty local brews. And, good green-issues networking happens.

The Building and Design Task Group established LEED in Lincoln to provide Lincolnites with an opportunity to tour LEED certified buildings to see firsthand how green can look good and save money at the same time.

The importance of LEED in Lincoln was clearly stated in Mayor Beutler’s news release following the LEED certification of the Nature Center’s Prairie Building. “The City of Lincoln is committed to green building construction. This project sets the standard we are trying to achieve for all new city buildings in the future.”

The mayor’s commitment to green building construction falls in line with LGbD’s long-term goal of encouraging the City of Lincoln to create a municipal green building program. Green building is too important to be left to voluntary efforts. Only where local government has gotten involved has it thrived.

One step toward the involvement of local government was the April 1 announcement of the Cleaner Greener Lincoln initiative and introduction of the new sustainability coordinator, Milo Mumgaard, hired to spearhead the project. Mumgaard said, “I look forward to helping build upon the great work toward sustainability already launched by Mayor Beutler and the city government and the partnerships among business, industry, government and the nonprofit sectors.”

In a speech delivered May 12, Mayor Beutler announced priorities for the stimulus energy efficiency grant and asked for public input and ideas. In response, LGbD posted its top ten list . Go to to view the complete list. Previous Green Page columns are also posted there.

LGbD has also been successful in the continued education of its members, nonprofits and members of the city government. In August, members of LGbD, the Mayor’s Environmental Task Force and Mumgaard attended Nebraska Sustainability Leadership Workshop sponsored by Joslyn Institute for Sustainable Communities.

The workshops provide a unique platform for civic leaders to share their challenges and successes, and to discover new ways to address the critical economic, environmental, social-cultural, technological and public policy challenges facing our communities. These individuals had the opportunity to share common ground, experience new tools and gain new allies in their jobs and passion for sustainability.

Change begins here—on the local level—not in Washington. In his 2008 executive order launching Lincoln’s sustainability and climate protection efforts, Mayor Beutler set a target for reducing Lincoln’s greenhouse gases to 7 percent below where the city was in 1990 by 2015.

“Together, we will not only continue to improve our own quality of life but in the process spur economic development in the growing clean energy economy, opening the door to green job creation and economic opportunity for thousands,” Beutler said. “It’s an aggressive goal but we can do it.”

Partnerships are key to actively addressing future quality of life in Lincoln. LGbD will continue to bring diverse groups together to achieve Lincoln’s goals.

Sustainability and green issues are a bit like freedom—it will never be won, and the fight will never end.

© Lincoln Green by Design