Archived News Release: January 25, 2023 - For the ninth year in a row, the Ann Arbor Office of Sustainability and Innovations (OSI) will host the annual Sustainability Forum series. Participants are invited to attend online (only) via Zoom for tonight's kickoff forum, Wednesday, Jan. 25, at 6 p.m.. The sustainability forums are a five-part series, taking place the last Wednesday of each month starting in January and ending in May (an online-hybrid format is planned for future months' forums). All members of the public are invited to attend any or all of these interactive sessions and engage with local experts about a variety of strategies available to advance the A2ZERO goal of a just transition to community-wide carbon neutrality by 2030.
This first forum in the series will focus on, “Circling Back: The Past, Present and Potential of Ann Arbor's Circular Economy." During this session, attendees will learn about an array of strategies for making the most of resources, with a focus on what the circular economy is, how we can support it, and why optimizing the use of materials, products and services is vital for reaching the city's sustainability goals. This event will also discuss how the A2ZERO Plan supports Ann Arbor's circular economy, what has been revealed about the functioning of our circular economy through interviews and events, and opportunities to grow work in this area.
Presenters at this forum include Hannah Loftis, Samuel McMullen and Jennifer Petoskey. Hannah Loftis is a sustainability coordinator in the Ann Arbor OSI, where she supports several A2ZERO circular economy initiatives including the A2R3 reusable container program and the weeklong zero-waste challenges in partnership with Live Zero Waste. Jennifer Petosky is the Ann Arbor solid waste outreach and compliance specialist and is currently working on a project to shape community engagement around the city's future circular economy strategy. Samuel McMullen is the executive director of Live Zero Waste, a nonprofit dedicated to creating a zero-waste future by building systems of power and practice that eliminate the need for extraction and start the process of healing the relationship with each other and the planet. Following a brief presentation, these speakers will engage online audience members through an interactive question and answer session.
Future sustainability forums will cover the connections between sustainable housing and transportation (Feb. 22), home electrification (March 29), and the expansion of renewable energy (April 26). The final forum (May 31) in this year's series will be an open discussion of community priorities and needs to continue tackling the climate crisis at a local level.
“The Sustainability Forums are an awesome way to hear from the Ann Arbor community about the strategies they are excited about" said OSI's Community Engagement Specialist Zach Waas Smith. “I think a lot of people will be surprised how involved they already are in Ann Arbor's circular economy, and how easy it can be to continue growing this work."
Interested individuals can learn more about — and register to attend any or all of the forums at a2gov.org/sustainability/events.
A live stream of the event will also be available through the city's partner, the Ann Arbor District Library's, event page at https://www.youtube.com/@AADL.
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