By Mary Ellen Cassidy
So, what is Wheeling Green Table, and what’s all this health, wealth, and good life talk?
Let’s start with the name. It seems that Wheeling Green Table came upon its name by default more than discernment. It is not limited to Wheeling’s city limits. It’s not a typical “green” monoculture (Fill in your own preconceptions here.). And it’s certainly not a table. So, now that we know what it’s not, what is it?
A very brief history — A few months ago, Jake Dougerty and Jeremy Morris invited a few people who they knew were interested in sustainability to get together and share their ideas and hopes for our Wheeling area as it moves forward. It was not a coincidence that the timing of this first meeting followed Wheeling’s recent Strategic Plan’s Envision meetings. The city’s Strategic Plan showed a great commonality regardless of categories or working groups. Words that dominated the vision, included “forward-thinking, modern, sustainable, diverse economy, local entrepreneurs, partnerships, robust investments… .”
Members of the Green Table saw great potential here to step up and offer research and plans that particularly target projects related to sustainable, diverse, and local economies. We committed to offering new options to the Wheeling area that would not only hedge our bets toward a strong and healthy community, but also build a thriving local economy. Programs that we are exploring right now include solar coops, energy efficiency upgrades for local businesses, and expanded recycling.
People moving into the area are often surprised that a forward-looking city like Wheeling does not offer a full recycling program. People who have called the Wheeling area their home for many years wonder what happened to the original recycling plan. Wheeling Green Table is currently working with a local entrepreneur who can recycle an expanded list of items at a very reasonable cost. This has many payoffs for our community, both now and certainly for our future. In short, no city has ever attracted new businesses and investments by advertising, “ We have huge landfills here.”
In addition to expanded recycling, Wheeling Green Table is also coordinating the formation of a local solar coop. As our electric rates climb, you may have asked yourself whether there isn’t something we can do to lower these costs and have that savings to invest in our own family, business. and community. Come and join us and learn how we can form a solar community here in Wheeling that would offer discounted installations as well as access to solar experts to help us navigate logistics and financial incentives. In addition, Wheeling Green Table is working on energy conservation, energy efficiency initiatives, and policies to promote affordable energy upgrades for local small businesses, so they can reinvest in our community.
Last, Wheeling Green Table is really about a quality of life, not just for some, but for all members of our community. It is about living as if what we choose matters, not only locally but globally. It is about knowing value as well as cost. It is about great conversations about innovative solutions. It is about believing that Wheeling is ready not to just “sustain,” but to “thrive.”
We meet the first Tuesday of every month at 6:30pm, (tonight!), at the First State Capitol and would love to have you join us. Meanwhile, follow us – “Wheeling Green Table”– on Facebook.