Sustain Charlotte begins new green movement

Sustain Charlotte, a local non-profit organization, released a new brochure titled “Charlotte 2030: A Sustainable Vision for our Region.”

In the brochure, Sustain Charlotte lists the ways they see the Charlotte region changing over the next 20 years in 10 different aspects. These aspects are air, buildings and homes, economy, energy, food, parks and green space, waste, social equity, transportation and water.

Around UNC Charlotte, students and faculty hope to see, and expect to see various changes in the area.

Population growth, among most people on campus, is expected to grow. “I see Charlotte expanding immensely. I see it growing even more,” said political science major Rachel James.

Charlotte-native Ph.D. candidate Joseph Cochran also believes that Charlotte will grow, and has an estimation on how quickly the growth will occur. “That’s pretty much guaranteed,” he said. “What we’re likely to see is Charlotte will expand by about 20 percent, if it fits in with the trends.”

Even those from different parts of the country, who have spent only a few months here, see Charlotte as rapidly growing region. “I’d say a bigger population, [because] it’s a great place to live,” said Josh Scheerer, an information and software systems major. “I’m from Pennsylvania, so it is a little tougher not knowing the history [to predict anything], but Charlotte is a nice area.”

Another common aspect of Charlotte’s growth which both faculty and students readily discuss is the banking industry.

“I hope that the banking sector picks back up again, and I hope that Charlotte becomes prominent,” said W. Keener Hughen, assistant professor of finance UNC Charlotte.

While the problems with Charlotte’s banking sector are not limited to the Charlotte metropolitan area, some believe that Charlotte is faring with the difficulties better than other areas of the country. James believes that Charlotte is doing much better than the nation as a whole.

Some are not as hopeful that banking in Charlotte will recover, and even see other areas of Charlotte’s industry thrive due to the troubles being experienced by the banks. “We’ll probably see the energy sector increase in importance to replace the financial sector,” said Cochran. “And that depends largely on the amount of investment that the federal government, state government and local governments are willing to do, plus the ability of companies to relocate and start up.”

The environment and the push for the green movement is also on student’s minds.

Rumors spreading through the media cause students to see Charlotte’s environmental footprint to be a positively improving one. “I know there have been talks of…cars that don’t impact the environment as much,” said James. She also has heard that the city may begin using these types of cars for public transportation purposes. “The city may become more environmentally friendly than it is today,” she said.

Hughen feels that environmental change may be one of the more difficult changes the region will endure. “There’s a lot of fight [against the green movement] because people fight against everything,” he said. “But I think it will be good and Charlotte will be just like every other city.”

Other efforts that are being made as part of the current green movement may also be improved and continued, says Cochran. “You’ll see a push towards more environmentally friendly technologies, not necessarily solar or wind, but there will be a push towards more efficiency. And that’s what is already occurring in the area.”

While others are optimistic about the environment, Scheerer disagrees that the Charlotte area will improve in the coming years. “Realistically, we’ll be less environmentally friendly,” he said.

While many students and faculty around campus focus on the changes in the size, economy and the environment of Charlotte and the surrounding area, others would like to see other changes made as well. “I would like to see more community programs for kids in school,” said Samantha Carey, a nursing student. “And more outreach programs for the homeless. I think that’s a big problem here.”

Sustain Charlotte focuses on serving as a “catalyst for change,” according to the organization’s website. They strive to enhance the future for the Charlotte area. The director of the organization, Shannon Binns, moved to Charlotte in 2007.

The brochure is based on the movement that they launched on Nov. 1, 2010, under the same name as the brochure.



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