ready to make a commitment?

Submitted by Susan Miller on Tue, 02/09/2010 - 16:27.

Scout Salute

I'm gonna keep me outta this one for now. Ya'll decide for yourselves. Sign on if ya want to or comment. From here on out, it is not me but the committee.

The Cleveland Commitment: A Promise for Our Region’s Sustainable Future

Cleveland Sustainability 2019 Public Compact Committee DRAFT 3.2; 10.22.09 
Call to Action
We are at a crossroads of time and place. Northeast Ohio is in crisis‐‐too many of our citizens live in poverty, with children struggling to graduate from high school and living in neighborhoods riddled with vacant homes. Our way of life threatens the foundations of our survival; our land, our waters, our earth, our health and our economy. We can no longer deny these facts and must change our course.
Yet, at this time and in this place we have the opportunity to unite in common purpose for the benefit of our children and grandchildren. We come prepared to face these challenges with optimism, hope and energy rooted in our region's long tradition of innovation and hard work. We can and must join together in building a regional economy catalyzed by a new sustainable way of life.

Believing that everyone's actions count and add up to our common destiny, The Cleveland Commitment
urges all of us who call this region home to make known our aligned efforts to fashion a thriving,
resilient future for Northeast Ohio's people. With this VISION we offer hope to those whose faith in a brighter future is not yet strong. With our PLEDGE we give each other courage, knowing we do not work alone and we can trust each other to make the tough decisions to turn our region around.

We see a green city on a blue lake:

  • Where wind, sun and water are respectfully harvested for energy;  
  • Where the natural environment is intentionally restored and preserved;
  • Where nothing goes to waste.   

We see a bustling metropolis:

  • Where children are healthy and well‐educated;
  • Where adults are engaged in challenging, rewarding and meaningful labor;
  • Where everyone is appreciated for their contribution to our collective growth and happiness;
  • Where local interests are united with plans for regional prosperity. 

We see a thriving economy: 

  • Where wholesome food is locally grown;
  • Where businesses adopt sustainable practices; 
  • Where personal drive and ingenuity are supported. Values

The Cleveland Commitment reflects these truths:

  • Our lake, rivers, and the land they define are the source of our physical, social and economic health.
  • Cleveland was at the center of the industrial revolution, and the time has come to embrace the sustainability revolution now unfolding before us.  
  • We have, over many years, led in response to great challenges by joining tradition and hard work with innovation to create practical solutions. 
  • We can reach across community borders to unite the region in common purpose.
  • We can create, produce, consume, and live in a sustainable way.
  • We can build a better future for our children, a future rich in happiness with a strong sense of community and a commitment to be faithful stewards for generations beyond our own.

The Cleveland Commitment embraces these goals:

  • We will celebrate diversity and inclusiveness. 
  • We will eliminate poverty and racism.
  • We will seek justice and promote safety.
  • We will foster spirited engagement in local, national and global commerce and exchange of ideas.
  • We will create vibrancy in the core community through regional cooperation, collaboration and interdependence.
  • We will inspire innovation, eliminate waste, and create a competitive environment.  
  • We will strengthen our economy, community and long‐term security through sustainable practices that produce local food and energy, provide accessible transportation, promote community health, and support education for all.   

Pledge: My Personal Commitment
I promise to be open to change and to challenge how I act, think and solve problems by:

  • Listening, learning, and leading by example;
  • Asking for input from those not like me; and
  • Seeking solutions beneficial to all.

I promise to be aware of social and environmental impacts before choosing to buy something. I will become aware of the consequences of my purchases by considering:

  • What materials make up my purchases and belongings, and how they’re manufactured;
  • How they are transported to me; and
  • Where they end up when I am finished with them.

I promise to contribute to a resilient, sustainable, regional economy by:

  • Doing my part to strengthen our community’s schools;
  • Encouraging the development, recruitment and retention of responsible businesses that acknowledge the dignity and value of their employees; and
  • Buying goods and services from local farmers, suppliers, manufacturers, and vendors.

I promise to minimize my carbon footprint by:

  • Reducing, reusing, recycling, and composting, toward a goal of zero personal waste;
  • Making my home, school, and work place energy efficient;
  • Using energy efficient modes of transportation; and
  • Conserving and protecting the land and water under my care.

I promise to:

  • Make these actions a part of my daily life;
  • Celebrate small victories;
  • Continuously re‐commit to higher goals; and
  • Encourage others to do the same.

Sign the pledge!

( categories: )

or another commitment


This one from Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra

Commitments to the Earth and to Life

Human beings are precious, for their intelligence, work and organization can protect and preserve all forms of life.

1. Love and care for the Earth and all natural beings.
2. Always work to improve our understanding of nature and agriculture.
3. Produce food to eliminate hunger. Avoid monoculture and pesticides.
4. Preserve the existing forest and reforest new areas.
5. Take care of the springs, rivers, dams and lakes. Fight against the privatization of water.
6. Beautify the settlements and communities, planting flowers, medicinal herbs, greens, trees…
7. Take care of trash and oppose any practice that contaminates or harms the environment.
8. Practice solidarity and revolt against any injustice, aggression or exploration practiced against a person, the community or nature.
9. Fight against latifundia for all that possess land, bread, studies and freedom.

10. Never sell conquered land. Land is the ultimate commodity for future generations. 


People worldwide are making their own local and regional commitments. Kevin O'Brien is committed to laughing at climate change. That chorus of science deniers is pretty loud. Can we get a shout out from the other side? 

I have thought about the commitment posted above. I heard that, in its drafting, the title went through several revisions. One possibility was the "Cleveland Promise", but someone probably googled that and realized that there is a charter school of the same name - have to toss that. They surely also saw this: "Cleveland: Promise Denied"

Last night I went with Tim and Gloria Ferris to hear Matt Zone speak about his trip to Copenhagen. Matt admitted that he doesn't fully understand climate change scientific details (I don't either), but he said he is convinced that we have to act now.

Gloria made an interesting observation about one of the slides Matt showed - one that showed the spiking carbon emissions since 1970. She said that in 1970 she was in college, and her generation (and mine) were going to change the world. "Obviously we haven't" she said - in fact it is far worse than it was then. Maybe the voices of the deniers are simply louder... read promise denied and note how similar it is to today. Gloria's right - not much has changed, and it is in fact worse.

I asked what the city of Cleveland has done toward meeting the challenge of climate change. Fran Di Donato was in the audience and spoke about the fact that the city of Cleveland's Office of Sustainability has had its nose to the grindstone. She said that they have been hard at work and have had some successes, but admitted that they have had trouble getting the story out since they have no outreach person and the local news organization seem uninterested in covering their work. She said the story is covered outside the region however. Maybe like this and this and this and this

I asked Matt Zone about downspout disconnect code changes, and he said that they had proposed the idea, but had such push back from Building and Housing (yes, Ed Rybka - married to Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District head Jan Rybka), that it didn't make it out of committee. Well, I had never heard that it made it that far. I am impressed that they did follow through even if they did meet short sightedness on that road. 

But I have to say that, though it is good to keep your nose to the grindstone working away at stuck government policy and making incremental change, telling the story is just as important. Radio silence is not the 21st century methodology for business or government. So I am telling this story here, because it is another thing I can do.

When Cleveland held its summit on sustainability back in the summer of 2009, I thought 2019!?! Why wait? What are we waiting for? Permission? I have often thought this. And personally, like many, I have moved ahead with my own set of conservation actions. But it may be time for us to come together to tell our stories and to more effectively share stories of success in conservation. Even though I can find some flaws in the commitment posted above - I would strengthen it - it is a step in the right direction, and it seeks to begin a carol wafting through our streets. Sometimes we will have to fight, but other times we will celebrate Debra's chicks and Norm and Evelyn's restoration of a home in East Cleveland another sideyard garden, 8000 lbs of compost cooking in Maurice Small's new blog. Can we celebrate hardworking worms?

We may make missteps on a journey toward a more sustainable life. We make wish to pick at language that obfuscates or doesn't go far enough, but activists and dogooders and treehuggers could from time to time join our voices in a chorus that counters polluters and self interested freemarket capitalists singing a song of change. 1.5 million landless members of MST have done it in Latin America. Could we engage 1.6 million in NEO? (it's a word document)

Can we engage in our personal acts of civil disobedience AND sing a chorus of "we shall overcome"? Maybe.

Raj Patel makes an important point here: (full article Faulty Shades of Green)


The orgy of partnerships at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (and almost every other major multilateral event of late) might make us want to think again about Margaret Mead’s oft-quoted sound bite in the activist world: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Although this slogan has been recited as a hard-times mantra by embattled progressives the world over, it is important to remember that it is a double-edged slogan. The Bank is, after all, a small group of thoughtful committed citizens, too. It is just that their commitments lie in a different direction from those whom they sue to help.

The wisdom of Mead’s insight is thoroughly Olsonian and dangerous. Perhaps it should be jettisoned because it provides too much succor to those whose tendencies are more centralist than democratic. It is also incorrect: many of the finest moments in history have come not from a group of well-organized individuals but from the collective actions of hundreds of thousands. Whether this action has been in the home, the fields, the factories, or the classroom, populism and mass action remain important. Capital is trying to professionalize activism, in the darkest sense. In light of the large-scale mobilizations around the World Bank, UN, and global capitalism throughout the past five years, the most appropriate response is also demonstrably feasible: a blaze of mass politics.


"I promise to be open to change"

"I promise to be open to change" and so do not pledge my support for the Cleveland Commitment

I pledge my support for the real NEO commitment.

Disrupt IT

I am commited to eradicating all the causes of lead poisoning...

A mission should be short and simple...

I recommend the following mission for Northeast Ohio, with assurances all other "Cleveland Commitment" issues will be addressed if we achieve this...

I am commited to eradicating all the causes of lead poisoning in Northeast Ohio in 2010

Main Entry: erad·i·cate
Pronunciation: \i-ˈra-də-ˌkāt\
Function: transitive verb
Inflected Form(s): erad·i·cat·ed; erad·i·cat·ing
Etymology: Latin eradicatus, past participle of eradicare, from e- + radic-, radix root — more at root
Date: 1532

1 : to pull up by the roots
2 : to do away with as completely as if by pulling up by the roots <programs to eradicate illiteracy>

Disrupt IT

I appreciate your commitment

I appreciate your commitment to eradicating all the causes of lead poisoning in Northeast Ohio in 2010, Norm. You have been and remain a tireless advocate of this effort, and your commitment is well documented. Please get back to us with an update on the progress in 10 months or where GCLAC is to date with the effort. There is surely a large contingent of effort on this front. 

I am also appreciative of those who commit to removing mercury, uranium and thorium from the soil and water, particulates from the air, asbestos from buildings, fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides from the soil. I appreciate users of public transit and those who advocate for a larger allocation of state resources for public transit. I appreciate urban and rural growers of local food, composters, recyclers, researchers, people who turn off the lights when they are not in the room, who brush their teeth with a glass of water rather than letting the faucet run... there are many little and big things we can do.

Lead is surely a big problem here and in most urban environments. I hope that all the causes of lead poisoning in Northeast Ohio will be eradicated in 2010. That's a critical mission. Thank you for raising awareness about it.

There are also other things I will commit to - some not in this commitment document. I know there are other things that make life healthier for you and your family that you are already practicing. We're all at different points on the road. I envy your chickens and Debra's. What can I say? I'm headed that way, but I haven't caught up. 

I appreciate your commitment

You and others from realNEO have been here with me learning about lead and spreading the word.

Working on other good causes should not prevent anyone from making a commitment to eradicating lead poisoning in NEO this year... and it is excluded from the Cleveland Commitment above.

Without the concerted, community-wide commitment of 100,000s to eliminate childhood lead poisoning here, it will not happen this year. We still have 100,000s of lead contaminated housing units and miles of contaminated soil to identify, isolate and contain, and we must, as we still lead poison 1,000s of kids in Cuyahoga County each year.

We are all guilty for that, as we know we may do better.

Cleveland Heights certainly had over 100 lead poisonings above 5 micrograms per deciliter, last year - your city needs to do better. Citizens need to demand better, and to make the community better.

I believe Terri Schwarz lives in Cleveland Heights, and she may speak to your leaders with authority on the importance of addressing lead poisoning in the community, and suggest solutions. You may as well.

We have 1,000s of children to keep safe from lead, this year... Cleveland still has the highest lead poisoning level of comparable large cities in the world, with about 14% of children testing above 10 micrograms per deciliter... New York City is 1%... Baltimore is 5%... related data is found here:

To beat Baltimore and NCY in something that truly matters, we need a citizen army of inspectors, advocates, and enforcers... 100,000s of lead soldiers will be able to win the war against lead poisoning in less than a year.... but we all need to fight together, for a change.

Disrupt IT