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Making 2010 green

BY COURTNEY SPEARS | DECEMBER 17, 2009 7:30 AM

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ECO Iowa City invites area residents to “go green” in 2010.

The grant-funded initiative aims to increase environmental awareness by hosting a Green New Year’s Eve Party at the Iowa City Public Library, 123 S. Linn St., from 2-4 p.m. on Dec. 31.

Attendees can register their green-minded resolutions and check back with them on Earth Day’s 40th anniversary on April 22, 2010.

“It’s the end of the year, and people want to make resolutions,” said Maeve Clark, the Public Library information-services coordinator. “We want people to take baby steps, medium size-steps, or big steps — whatever they can do to make their life and the lives around them … more environmentally sustainable.”

People of all ages can learn to reduce their carbon footprint by filing a resolution on the library’s website. ECO Iowa City is providing water bottles and other green items as incentives to make a resolution.

“Iowa City has very good water, so why buy the plastic water bottles if you don’t have to?” Clark said. “[But] mostly, it’s to celebrate the Earth that we have and how to make it better.”

ECO Iowa City was born about a year ago as a joint initiative between the library and the city’s Public Works Division. The initiative is funded by a $57,000 grant from the International City and County Management Association. The grant was to show that libraries and cities or county municipalities could work together.

The national council selected nine grant recipients, including ECO Iowa City, out of 515 applications.

While the grant was not specifically focused on environmental sustainability, the library and the city chose to focus on the issue because of the past success of the two working together.

“And how could you not want to do green activities?” Clark said.

This year, the organization partnered with various city and state groups to pave the road to green. But Clark believes that Iowa City still has a long way to go.

On Friday, ECO Iowa City will host a discussion on suggestions for what to do in 2010 with the remainder of its grant money.

“The goal is that the community groups will continue to work together [after the grant is finished],” said Jennifer Jordan, Iowa City’s recycling coordinator.

The collaborators have green resolutions of their own. Clark said she is taking on the difficult task of giving up her city parking pass to save on gas and cut down on emissions. Jordan has resolved to eat only local foods, including produce from her own garden.

Clark said looking at the financial benefits of going green is important to show people how being a friend to the environment affects everyone.

“The more you put into the environment that’s unhealthy, the more expensive it is to take it back out,” she said. “Not everybody has that warm fuzzy feeling about trees … [so] if that’s what it takes to get people to do it, then good.”

ECO Iowa City and environmental protagonists encourage collaboration as a means to a more healthy Earth.

“If everybody plugs in one fluorescent bulb … takes just one little step,” Clark said, “ … eventually, accumulatively, it will make a difference.”


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