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The Alliance: Sustainability for the 21st Century

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The Alliance: Sustainability for the 21st Century
This story profiles Cincinnati-based Green Umbrella, a sustainability organization whose collective impact is helping create a healthy community.
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The Alliance: Sustainability for the 21st century. Sponsored by Green Umbrella. 

The word sustainability gets thrown around a lot these days. "Sustainability Program...sustainable I'm thinking about being greener...sustainability giving way to even more sustainability." It can mean different things to different people depending on where you live and the topic at hand. Now the ethos of sustainability came into its own back in 1969 when the EPA introduced the principle of sustainable development to the nation.

Each of us all across this great land has a stake in maintaining and improving environmental quality. Clean air and clean water, the wise use of our land, the protection of wildlife and natural beauty. Parks for all to enjoy. These are part of the birthright of every American."

Nearly half a century later the notion of sustainability represents a new reality, one in which we frequently see the effects of climate change widespread pollution and other environmental health impacts. 

David Easterling, NOAA climate data scientist explains, "We see this very distinct warming especially since about 1960. That's what we've seen is rapid up-tick in carbon dioxide emissions and it corresponds to a fairly rapid increase in global temperatures. If we continue on the trajectory we're on sort of what we call the business as usual trajectory then that's a major concern." 

The complexity of this challenge can be paralyzing to process let alone act upon. Fortunately organizations everywhere are working to tackle a variety of sustainability challenges. The collective impact of one such organization is doing just that. We spoke with Green Umbrella's director Ryan Mooney-Bullock to learn more.

"Green Umbrella is greater Cincinnati's Regional Sustainability Alliance. That means that we bring together stakeholders from across environmental sector, business sector, nonprofits, concerned citizens, to all work on issues that people are really passionate about." 

To ensure work in the region is effective and coordinated Green Umbrella employees the collective impact model.

"The big idea behind collective impact: we're getting people who are concerned about and working on issues in the same room and those are what we call our action teams."