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Sustain Charlotte unveils 2030 plan

The long-term vision for Sustain Charlotte was unveiled today in uptown.

Nearly a dozen speakers were at “The Square” at the intersection of Trade and Tryon streets for the event, including Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx and Mecklenburg County Commissioner Jennifer Roberts.

Before he addressed a crowd of about 50, Foxx said Charlotte is not where it needs to be when it comes to sustainability.

“We need citizens engaged in the building process of our community,” he said. “Today is not about coming up with plan A to Z to make it happen. There’s going to be lots of debates and discussion in the future.  The biggest obstacle is balancing long-term benefits with up-front costs.”

Shannon Binns is executive director of Sustain Charlotte, a nonprofit.

In less than a year the 33-year-old has managed to gain the support of many of the city’s political, business and environmental leaders, helping to lend some high-profile visibility to Sustain Charlotte, which Binns said aims to provide a framework to help improve 10 aspects of Charlotte’s sustainability by 2030, such as air quality, buildings and homes, the economy, trees and green space.

“This is not your father’s green advocate,” Ernie McLaney, executive director of Central Piedmont Community College’s Center for Sustainability, said in describing Binns.

Binns said that now that he’s outlined Sustain Charlotte’s vision, the real work begins: getting public and business support, including donations and partnerships.

“We’re just getting started, but I feel like we’ve already made some strong connections in the community, and people are hungry for change,” he said.

At the event, Roberts discussed the importance of public involvement, saying sustainability “needs to be part of the community’s daily fabric,” including everything from recycling old electronics to building more walkable neighborhoods and better public transportation.

“We need everyone from businesses and nonprofits on board,” she said. “We’re all linked together.”

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