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September 19, 2008
By Jon Fortenbury
Reno residents will have an opportunity at the 2008 Green Summit event to engage in open dialogue about what the city should do to increase substantiality and improve the quality of life in Reno.
“This is an opportunity for real engagement in community initiatives that could have a real impact on our future,” said Jennifer Huntleysmith, associate director in the academy for the environment at the University of Nevada, Reno. “This is not a pretend or mock scenario. The City of Reno is looking for real action items that the council can do to change our community.”
The 2008 Green Summit event will be held Sept. 20 on the University of Nevada, Reno campus on the fourth floor of the Joe Crowley Student Union. It will be an opportunity for residents to help develop plans to improve energy efficiency, reduce emissions, recycle and contribute in many other ways that will protect our environment.
At last year’s Green Summit Event, there were about 400 people in attendance. This year, the community will be provided a report on the action taken since last year’s event.
“The purpose of these annual events is to empower area residents to have a meaningful say in the steps toward sustainability that the City Council can adopt, including the overall sustainability plan,” Huntleysmith said.
At this year’s Green Summit event, the keynote speaker will be Rocky Anderson, who was the founder of High Road for Human Rights and served as mayor of Salt Lake City from 2000 to 2008. His comprehensive environmental programs achieved a 31 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in Salt Lake City's municipal operations.
Following the keynote address will be four available break-out sessions to attend, including the first ever youth leadership break-out session. Two University students, Delia Martinez and Kaitlin Weeks, will be leading this open discussion on what concerns young citizens in the community.
“I want to see more involvement from the youth,” said Weeks, who is a dual major in journalism and environmental studies and is from Reno. “People don’t always take their (youth’s) opinions into consideration. They (the youth) need to know that they can do something and they have the power to (do something).”
The current sustainability plan for the city of Reno includes many priorities taken directly from last year’s break-out sessions. Any Reno resident, including college students, has a say at the outcome.
“It's a lot easier to sit around complaining about what others are doing or not doing for all
kinds of issues than to actually stand up, take some risks, and put one's shoulder to the wheel as they say,” Huntleysmith said. “This is an opportunity for people in this community to put their money where their mouth is, to use yet another colloquialism.