September/October 2016 Newsletter

In this issue…

Human Arial Art Event to Launch Ready For 100 Campaign

Cleveland Ready for 100The Cleveland Ready For 100 Campaign will have its official launch on Sunday, September 11th with 100 plus people coming together to form a Human Aerial Art image of a wind turbine. This event is part of a National Ready For 100 Tour of aerial art events taking place across the country. Internationally acclaimed Aerial Artist, John Quigley is working with our Cleveland team to provide the concept and design needed for a successful event and is thrilled that Cleveland has chosen a wind turbine image instead of a sun image as other events nationally. The wind turbine image was selected to congratulate LEEDCo on obtaining a 40 million dollar grant from the Department of Energy for an off shore wind project and to provide awareness to the need for the city of Cleveland to become 100% Clean Energy by the year 2050.

This event will be held 3:00 pm at the Abbey Overlook, 1402 Abbey Avenue in the Tremont area. There will be special guests, prizes, refreshments and plenty of free parking. Everyone is encouraged to come out and make history in Cleveland by forming a wind turbine image that is sure to go viral. Please wear your brown, orange or dark colors and pass the word to help make this event a success. Registration for this event can be accessed here, on-line.

In addition to signing up for the Arial Art Event, 1000 signatures are needed on Ready For 100’s On-Line Petition to Mayor Jackson. Also, Ready For 100 Campaign Committees have been created and volunteers are needed to help us reach our goal by serving on the following committees: Coalition of Allies Committee, Education/Events Committee, Faith Committee, Grassroots Committee, Grasstops Committee, Lobby/Advocacy Committee & Media/Communications Committee.

Please contact Ready For 100 Coordinator for event information or committee sign up via e-mail, or (216) 926.6535


People’s Convention a Rousing Success!

The People’s Justice and Peace Convention (PJPC) held at the Olivet Institutional Baptist Church and the Masonic Art Center on July 15-17 brought together more than 400 people to hear speakers, participate in workshops, and contribute ideas to a policy platform that will be used to challenge our political leaders during and after the upcoming elections. The convention opened at Olivet on the evening of Friday, July 15 with a keynote address by Dr. Jawanza Colvin, Olivet’s pastor. A video of the address can be found on YouTube, here. Everyone should view the video (scroll through the introductory part to get to Colvin) as it provides a perspective that many of us in white suburbia rarely hear. The address makes clear that Sierra Club has a real ally in the African-American community, especially in churches like Olivet. If we want to make progress with such local issues as clean energy, air and water pollution, public transportation, urban agriculture, protection of parks and green space, etc., then we should be seeking ways to collaborate with the Olivet congregation and other churches and African-American organizations. If the NEO Sierra Club remains stuck in the suburbs, our impact will remain stuck at a level far below what it could be.

On the morning of Saturday, July 16, more than 200 participants attended 30 workshops that dealt with different aspects of five themes: economic justice, racial and social justice, political justice, environmental justice, and international justice. All of the workshops were held at the Olivet Church whose staff did a wonderful job in organizing the meeting rooms and keeping the workshops running on time. The following NEO Sierra Club members facilitated the indicated workshops: Steve McPhee and Jocelyn Travis, Ready for 100 Campaign; Akshai Singh, a history of environmental injustice in Cuyahoga County; Michael Melampy, climate change. Cheryl Johncox, a staffer for the state chapter of Sierra Club, also provided a workshop on environmental justice.

The afternoon of July 16 provided time for plenary addresses and workshops focused on crafting platform planks. Thanks to the efforts of NEO Sierra Club’s Anne Caruso, Rev. Lennox Yearwood, a noted environmental justice and voting rights activist, attended and spoke about the linkages between environmental and social/racial problems. A video of his presentation can be found here on YouTube. A second activist, Connie Burton, who is well known as a defender of the rights of public housing residents in Florida, provided her perspective on the relationship between poverty and social justice. The planks that were crafted during the workshops were further refined during Sunday’s (July 17) session at the Masonic Art Center in Ohio City. That session was facilitated by Dr. Rhonda Williams, director of Case Western Reserve University’s Institute of Social Justice. An inspirational address for participants was provided by Medea Benjamin, co-founder of the women-led peace group CODEPINK. The final platform will be posted on the NEO Sierra Club website and is currently available on the website for the Cleveland Nonviolence Network.

Key elements of the platform were read aloud by members of the PJPC organizing committee on Public Square, Thursday, July 21, the last day of the Republican National Convention, and a copy of the platform was delivered to the headquarters of the Republican National Committee. Discussion of next steps for the platform are ongoing and will involve members of NEO Sierra Club. If you would like more details, contact me at This is an opportunity to significantly expand Sierra Club’s influence in the Cleveland metropolitan region; please help us take advantage of it!!

A note of thanks goes out to everyone who provided financial support for the PJPC. That includes generous donations from both NEO Sierra Club and national Sierra Club. NEO members Anne Caruso and Kathy Flora are to be thanked for their herculean effort in providing food for PJPC participants.

Michael Melampy


Tropical Forests and Climate Change at the Botanical Garden

The NEO Sierra Club Rainforest Committee will sponsor a lecture by Dr. James Watling of John Carroll University at 7 PM on Wednesday, September 21 in the Cleveland Botanical Garden. The title of Dr. Watling’s presentation is: The heat is on: thermal biology, climate change, and tropical deforestation. Dr. Watling is a tropical ecologist and holds the position of Coburn Professor of Environmental Science at John Carroll. He earned a doctorate at the Florida International University and then did post-doctoral research at Washington University in St. Louis. His primary research interest is determining how species are distributed at spatial scales ranging from a few square kilometers to entire continents. He is particularly interested in understanding how interactions between environmental change and species traits influence distribution patterns. Currently, he is focusing his research efforts in Colombia.

There is a $5 admission fee to the Botanical Garden for non-members; admission is free for members. In addition to the lecture, there will be access to the Garden’s glasshouse exhibits and there will be a Hoppy Hour, which begins at 5:30 and is a chance to sample craft beers from our area and learn about the brewing process.

Your efforts in helping us spread the word concerning this lecture are greatly appreciated. Please note that there is a fee for parking in the Botanical Garden’s parking garage, but free street parking is available in the area. For more details, contact Michael Melampy at

Michael Melampy


Water Committee Report

BACKGROUND: On October 28, 2014, Cuyahoga County Council voted to create a Department of Sustainability. On February 3, 2015 Mike Foley was appointed as the director and Shanelle Smith was appointed as deputy director of the new Department of Sustainability. In March 2016, the Department of Sustainability produced a document, Sustainable Cuyahoga: A toolkit of recommended best practices for communities in Cuyahoga County. Sunny Simon is the chairperson of the Cuyahoga County Council Education, Environment and Sustainability Committee and the author of the legislation that created the Cuyahoga County Department of Sustainability.

On August 4th I emailed Sunny Simon as follow-up to the discussion at the August 3rd Sierra Club meeting; I asked her about the status of her February 2012 plastic bag initiative. (She and Cleveland Councilperson Matt Zone discussed the issue at that time.)

Joseph Nanni, the Chief of Staff of the County Council responded to my August 4, 2016 email:

Councilwoman Sunny Simon thanks you for your email and she asked me to respond to your email regarding her efforts to reduce plastic bag waste. She is currently focusing on educating the Council and County staff on the importance of dealing with this issue both locally and beyond. She recently had Marcus Eriksen, a world renowned expert in this field present to Council the impacts on plastic pollution in the world’s waterways. You can view this presentation here (the local focus of the discussion starts at minute 58).

Additionally, Councilwoman Simon is researching options available to Council to do our part in solving this problem. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Thank you for your offer of support.

Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District Director, Diane Bickett’s presentation about plastic bags is included in the video above. Both Sunny Simon and Mike Foley are on the Solid Waste District Board of Directors.

Reducing the use of plastic bags is a national Sierra Club goal. Many chapters have been working on this, including the Ohio Chapter. Continuing dialogue with Sunny Simon, the Department of Sustainability and the Solid Waste District may help move the plastic bag initiative forward in our county.

Thank you,
Fran Mentch


Global / Palestinian Environmentalist Visits Northeast Ohio, September 14-15

Every autumn and spring, half a billion birds representing about 280 species pass over the Levant, including Palestine, Israel and Jordan, as they migrate between northern Europe to eastern and southern Africa.

Collecting data on these birds and their migratory routes is one of the responsibilities of distinguished environmentalist Imad al-Atrash of Palestine, who will be in the Cleveland area mid-September to meet northeast Ohio environmentalists, formally and informally.

As a Global Councilor of Bird Life International, Imad is in charge of a joint program of activities for the Middle East, which includes implementing an exchange of data collection on wildlife with a focus on birds and the migratory routes, or flyways, from Europe to Africa through the Middle East. The program also collects data on the Important Bird Areas (IBA’s) which are the areas used as feeding and resting sites for migrating birds.

Like the Audubon Society in the United States, the Palestine Wildlife Society (PWLS) is a Birdlife International Partner. Imad is one of two Council representatives for the Middle East and is the Founder and Executive Director of PWLS. He also founded the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in the town of Beit Sahour where small animals and birds recover before being released back into the wild.

The PLWS’s Nature Conservation Program focuses on research & monitoring of birds, with an emphasis on endangered, endemic & migratory birds and on seabird and wetlands research conservation. The Society trains local and regional ecologists and has established wildlife monitoring and banding stations in three key locations (Beit Jala, Jericho and Gaza).

The Society educates school children with field trips to nature reserves. They established wildlife conservation within the national educational curriculum and have developed educational materials for children and adults.

Imad will be sharing information about Palestinian wildlife and the importance of sustainable development and conservation. His illustrated presentation is titled “Bird Migration Knows No Boundaries” to raise awareness of the importance of Middle East and to encourage people to recognize and support Palestinian environmental efforts.

Imad has degrees in Agriculture, Biology and Environmental Education, is a nature photographer and has worked in environmental protection in the West Bank for over three decades. He is a member of various international environmental organizations including the Ornithological Society for the Middle East-UK, Birdlife International-UK, OISCA-Japan, Palestine Chapter; International Union for Conservation of Nature; Global Council for Birdlife International; National Protected Areas in Committee and the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture, among others.

Imad al-Atrash will speak Wednesday, September 14th, 7:30 PM
First Unitarian Church of Cleveland,
21600 Shaker Blvd; Shaker Heights 44122
A reception with Middle Eastern foods will be included.

Pam Beck


Ignite Your Imagination and Sense of Adventure at:

On the Edge Film FestJourney to faraway locales, paddle wild waters and climb some of the world’s most amazing peaks! The 2nd Annual On the Edge Film Festival will have something for extreme sport and armchair athletes alike when it comes to The Breen Center for the Performing Arts on Friday, October 14 and Saturday, October 15, 2016.

The newest of Cleveland’s film festivals showcases films of adrenaline-driven action sports, engrossing character studies and environmental and cultural issues from around the globe. Many are shot against a panoramic backdrop of breathtaking scenery.

This two-night event features different films each evening. Friday’s Opening Night Reception attendees can visit the food trucks outside the theater and will be treated to complimentary coffee and cookies in the theater lobby from 6:00-7:30 p.m. Coffee and cookies will also be served for Saturday’s reception, 7:00-8:00 p.m. Exhibitors include Cleveland Metroparks, the Northeast Ohio Sierra Club, Geiger’s, Bike Cleveland and more. The films begin at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday.

The film festival is produced by On the Edge Films and is sponsored by Bike Cleveland, St. Ignatius High School, Geiger’s, Erie Island Coffee Co., Caruso’s, North Coast Multisports and the Student Recreation & Wellness Center at the University of Akron. It will be held at The Breen Center for the Performing Arts, 1911 West 30th Street, Cleveland, Ohio, in the heart of Ohio City. Free parking is available on the premises.

Advance General Seating tickets to the OEFF are $20 for Friday and $20 for Saturday and can be purchased at any of the three Geiger’s locations through September 30. Regular priced tickets will be $25 for each night starting October 1. Tickets are also be available online at Eventbrite.

For additional information, go to or e-mail You can also like us on Facebook at On the Edge Films.


Sierra Club Kids Need Volunteers

Do you like working with kids, hiking, helping?

Sierra Club (Inspiring Connections Outdoors-formerly Inner City Outings) could be for you. There are 52 clubs all over the US, aimed at getting youth outdoors to appreciate the environment. Our Cleveland group takes kids ages 7-11 on outings at least one Saturday a month. Some of our activities are hiking in the Metro Parks, picnicking, fishing, apple picking, sledding, canoeing and swimming. Also visits to Botanical Gardens, Holden Arboretum and Natural History Museum.

The kids we take on the outings are Bhutanese refugees from Nepal who now live in South Euclid and Cleveland Heights.

We are especially looking for help with driving and would love to find someone who has a van. If interested please contact

There are probably some refugees in your area that could use some help.

Claire Brugnoletti


Can a 60 Second Action Help to Save the Planet?

When I watched the local CBS news manager make a remark about Meat-Free Monday, it didn’t sit right with me, I had to reply. I immediately heard back from CBS news, asking me to be filmed. I had 60 seconds to plead my case.
My editorial aired 12 times, including a viewing right smack before “60 minutes.” Apparently others liked it, too. It was picked up across the entire United States!

Here’s the 60 second dialogue:
“I am Laurel Hopwood responding to Dominic Mancuso’s Meatless Mondays editorial. Most pigs, chickens, and cows are raised in factories. When I saw pictures of these factories, it made me feel sick. In my opinion, if I choose to eat these animals, then I feel that I am contributing to their pain and suffering. As a nurse, I want people to feel healthy and vibrant. I believe that everyone wants to feel good and not have to pay for expensive drugs. There’s a groundswell of evidence showing that nuts, beans, grains, seeds, and fruit and vegetables are better for our health. And, that’s not all. Sources of drinking water can get contaminated from the millions of pounds of by-products from animals raised in factories which can lead to toxic algae…shutting down our water systems. “Meatless Monday” isn’t dictating to people what to eat. Rather, it’s a compromise. At least one day a week, I’d rather heal my body and the planet one forkful at a time. Thank you.”

You’re welcome to read our campaign. You’ll find suggested actions and delicious recipes. Please click here. Simple choices can help to change the planet.

Laurel Hopwood, NEO Sierra Club Agriculture Chair.


Meat-Free Recipe from Anne’s Kitchen: Quinoa with Pepper Sauce and Roasted Vegetables

Anne's KitchenI made this dish for a friend who is allergic to tomatoes. It’s good to have several go-to sauces.

2 red, orange or yellow bell peppers
1 small yellow or red onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 box quinoa
Raw veggies to grill or sauté like zucchini, yellow squash, broccoli, cauliflower or asparagus


To make the pepper sauce:

Rinse the bell peppers then roast them by placing them on a baking sheet at the top shelf in the oven set to roast. Every 10 minutes turn the peppers a quarter turn until they are completely blackened. Take them out of the oven and place them in a paper bag. Close the bag and let them sit until cool. Take them out of the bag and use your fingers to take off the blackened skin. Cut the peppers open and discard the seeds and white membrane inside. Place the remaining flesh in a Cuisinart.

While the peppers are roasting, slice the onion and sauté it until softened. Add the crushed garlic cloves and cook together 1 minute. Add the veggie broth, sugar, salt, pepper, and pepper flakes and cook gently for a few minutes to blend the flavors. Add this to the peppers in the Cuisinart. Blend everything until you get a smooth sauce. Set aside.

Cook the quinoa according to the instructions on the box.

Grill veggies like asparagus, zucchini, yellow squash, broccoli, cauliflower, or even onions. You can also sauté them in a little olive oil if a grill is not available.

To serve this dish, place 1/2 cup cooked quinoa on a plate. Spoon a generous amount of the sauce on top of the quinoa. Then place some grilled veggies on top of the sauce. So, so good!

Anne Caruso

Upcoming events

Thursday, September 8: 5 – 8 p.m.
History on Tap: What’s Your Cause?

A History of Organizing, Community Change, and Social Enterprise
The Cleveland History Center of the Western Reserve Historical Society
WRHS, 10825 East Boulevard

SJI will be featured at the Cleveland Historical Society’s next History on Tap. Participants will reflect on periods of unrest in the City of Cleveland. This event will feature stories, activities and crafts to make you think. What’s your cause? What can you do to support issues that matter to you?  Draw inspiration from the places where past and present intersect in the fight for justice and equality. As an added bonus, enjoy happy hour libations, light hors d’oeuvres, trivia, rarely-seen artifacts, hands-on activities and special guests.

Tickets $10 at the door | $7 in advance | $5 for WRHS members

Registration requested here.



September 10 & October 8, 3:00-7:00 pm

What is ciCLEvia?

ciCLEvia (verb)
To reimagine a street segment as a place for people to be active and build community. What do you see for the streets of Cleveland? How do you ciCLEvia?

ciCLEvia (noun)
A Cleveland street segment that is temporarily closed to vehicle traffic and open to all forms of people-powered movement. Eat. Play. Walk. Roll.

West 25th and Clark

September 11
Aerial Art

Our Sierra Club Ready For 100 Campaign is working actively to get everyone involved in urging Mayor Jackson to commit to 100% Clean Energy for the city of Cleveland by the year 2050. Therefore, your help is needed Sunday, September 11th at 3:00 pm to form a Human Wind Turbine to bring about awareness and support to reaching our goal. This is our launch event with special guests, prizes and refreshments. This event will be held at Abbey Overlook, 1402 Abbey Avenue. Please wear your orange, brown or dark colors. Also, this event is part of of National Aerial Art Ready for 100 Tour!

Sign Up Here… Ready For 100 Cleveland AddUp Aerial Art Event Link…


September 17, 2016, 10 am
Canoe or Kayak the Cuyahoga River

Paddle 10 miles on the Cuyahoga River from Eldon Russell Park to Hiram, and see a woodland stream, wetlands, beaver, birds, and nature. For more information call Dennis Plank at 216-939-8229


Sunday, September 18th, from 9am to noon
Cahoon Creek Cleanup

We will be starting at Circle K (tentatively) and working our way north from there. 21790 Center Ridge Road, Westlake, OH. – Sue Engle


September 22nd
2016 Sustainable Cleveland Summit

Presented by the Cleveland Foundation.

The 8th annual Sustainability Summit will open the afternoon of Wednesday, September 21st with Remarks from Mayor Frank G. Jackson, a presentation of Awards, and a keynote and interactive workshop from Gil Penalosa and 8 80 Cities.

September 22nd will be a full day of visioning, design and action planning focused on:

  • The current and upcoming celebration year topics
  • Advancing the Cleveland Climate Action Plan, which incorporates the topics of: Energy, Water and Land Use, Community Engagement, Waste, and Transportation.

The Sustainability Summit is a unique opportunity to work across sectors, foster collaboration, learn about recent innovations and design the future of the Cleveland region.