ECO SPEAKS CLE

Diane Bickett and Greg Rotuno

ECO SPEAKS CLE is where the eco-curious explore Northeast Ohio's unique and thriving environmental community. Each episode delivers thoughtful and informative interviews with local sustainability leaders and offers tips to help listeners connect, learn, and live with the community and planet in mind. ECO SPEAKS CLE is hosted by Diane Bickett and produced by her son-in-law, Greg Rotuno. Diane draws on experiences and relationships developed during her 31-year environmental career to showcase the impactful work shaping Cleveland's environmental future in a podcast that speaks to sustainability newcomers and masters alike.

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Society & CultureSociety & Culture

Episodes

Changing Our Perception of the Cuyahoga River with Jim Ridge
5d ago
Changing Our Perception of the Cuyahoga River with Jim Ridge
Jim Ridge is the founder and executive director of Share the River, a non-profit that promotes Cleveland as a waterfront city and sharing everything that makes it a vibrant and engaging space for residents and visitors. In this episode, Jim talks about his upcoming Blazing Paddles Paddlefest on June 22, where hundreds of recreational paddlers and racers will paddle the commercial shipping section of the Cuyahoga River from Rivergate Park up to Cleveland-Cliffs Steelyard and back. Along the way, they will experience how the river has "risen like a phoenix" from its polluted past and is now attracting economic development, tourism, and community pride. Jim is one of our biggest river advocates, even being named Champion of the River by the Cuyahoga River Area of Concern (AOC) last year. He has much to share about how our past, present, and future are inextricably tied to our waterfront and its evolving health. Join us to hear his vision, plus some tips on sharing the river with freighters, about those YAKports, registering for Blazing Paddles, and more. You will surely find new ways to appreciate our tremendous natural resource for its recreational, commercial, and revitalizing potential.Guest: Jim Ridge, Share the RiverResources:About Share the River Follow Share the River - Instagram and FacebookAbout the Cuyahoga RiverKnow Before You Go safety tipsRegister for the Dave Vasarhelyi Memorial Recreational Paddle Map of the lower Cuyahoga River (Federal Navigation Channel)Cuyahoga River Water TrailCuyahoga River and Share the River NewsFollow us: https://www.facebook.com/ecospeaksclehttps://www.instagram.com/ecospeakscleContact us:hello@ecospeakscle.com
Earth Month in Action with the Cleveland Heights Green Team
Apr 2 2024
Earth Month in Action with the Cleveland Heights Green Team
In this episode, we celebrate Earth Month and the power of local environmental action with the Cleveland Heights Green Team, its co-founder Catalina Wagers, and volunteer Suzanne Zilber. The  Cleveland Heights Green Team was founded in 2021 and is very active, with over 300 volunteers. They have a full calendar of events planned for Earth Month, and during the rest of the year, they are busy organizing green space clean-ups, recycling drives, plastics reduction campaigns, eco fairs, and more. Getting involved with a green team is a great way to channel your environmental concerns into fun and impactful actions. It's also a great way to meet like-minded people in your community. Join us as we hear how this green team was founded, how to get involved with other green teams in Cuyahoga County or start one of your own, and ways to celebrate Earth Month throughout the Land. Check the links below for calendars of events and other helpful information. Guests:Catalina Wagers, Co-Founder, Cleveland Heights Green TeamSuzanne Zilber, Member, Cleveland Heights Green TeamResources:CH Green Team WebsiteAbout the Cleveland Heights Green Team Earth Month in the Heights - Calendar Cleveland Heights Green Team Events - ways to get involvedSustainable Cleveland Earth Month  Other green teams in Cuyahoga County - get involved with your local green teamLaurel School Youth Climate Summit (April 14th) Follow us: https://www.facebook.com/ecospeaksclehttps://www.instagram.com/ecospeakscleContact us:hello@ecospeakscle.com
Cultivating Community with Re:Source Cleveland
Mar 19 2024
Cultivating Community with Re:Source Cleveland
In this episode, we welcome returning guests Patrick Kearns with Re:Source Cleveland (formerly Refugee Response) and Michael Bartunek with Ohio City Farm to update us on the exciting developments at Ohio City Farm and with its operator, Re:Source Cleveland. Rachel Ramos, who manages CSA sales for the farm, also joins us to tell us about the diverse array of fresh produce available in the 2024 CSA program and the new tiered pricing structure. We first spoke with Patrick and Michael in episode 3 two years ago. Since then, The Refugee Response has relocated, rebranded, expanded, and begun a major new initiative at Ohio City Farm: the Roundstone Pavilion. Groundbreaking for the 4,000-square-foot building will take place this year. This next-level investment will bring food to the community year-round by housing a commercial kitchen, a wash and pack station, workers' facilities, a retail hall, and more. Last year, Refugee Response rebranded to Re:Source Cleveland, honoring the organization's past 14 years of providing resources to resettled families and supporting them in becoming engaged, self-sufficient, and contributing community members. The farm is central to that mission, growing local food, community connections, and providing meaningful employement. These developments enhance other investments in the area, like the West Side market and the new Metropark taking shape just below the farm along the Cuyahoga River at Irishtown Bend. Join us as our guests update you on what's happening on the farm, in the neighborhood, and at our community table. GuestsPatrick Kearns: Executive Director, Re:Source ClevelandMichael Bartunek: Senior Farm Manager, Ohio City FarmRachel Ramos: Farm Sales and Marketing Coordinator, Ohio City FarmResourcesAbout Re:Source Cleveland rebranding Ohio City 2024 CSASupport Ohio City FarmSupport Re:Source ClevelandAbout the Roundstone PavilionFollow us: https://www.facebook.com/ecospeaksclehttps://www.instagram.com/ecospeakscleContact us:hello@ecospeakscle.com
Eco Meet CLE: Weaving a Sustainable and Local Textile Economy
Mar 5 2024
Eco Meet CLE: Weaving a Sustainable and Local Textile Economy
In this episode, we bring you the conversation from Eco Meet CLE, a Cleveland sustainability event on February 20 featuring local innovators reinventing northeast Ohio textile production. Rather than today's exploitive and resource-intensive system, we can grow a regional, circular system that fosters economic integrity, ecological stewardship, and connection to people and place. Listen and hear from those working towards this goal -  Jess Boeke, the co-founder of Rust Belt Fibershed, a non-profit developing a bioregional textile community; Aidan Meany, a designer and the owner of Found Surface, a Cleveland clothing manufacturer that prioritizes sustainability and is setting a new standard for ethical fashion; Kat Novak, the Associate Director of the TechStyleLAB and the Faculty in the School of Fashion at Kent State University; and Kelly Powers, a farmer and the owner of Powers Acres, a 50-acre certified organic farm in Medina, Ohio, and the future owner and operator of a fiber mill in northeast Ohio. Together, they are creating a fashion ecosystem that rivals the farm-to-table food revolution, only this time, it's with the garments we wear. It's a blueprint for a world where designers, farmers, and consumers all play a part in crafting an industry that respects our planet and community. Guests:Jess Boeke - Co-Founder, Rust Belt FibershedAidan Meany - Founder, Found SurfaceKat Novak- Associate Director, Kent State University School of FashionKelly Powers - Farmer and Shepherd, Powers AcresFollow us: https://www.facebook.com/ecospeaksclehttps://www.instagram.com/ecospeakscleContact us:hello@ecospeakscle.com
Our 2 Year Anniversary Special
Jan 2 2024
Our 2 Year Anniversary Special
On December 21, 2021, Greg and I launched the first episode of Eco Speaks CLE to elevate and connect the greater Cleveland environmental community by speaking with those doing inspiring and impactful work. Forty-seven episodes later, as we celebrate two years of Eco Speaks CLE, we are grateful to each guest and each listener. You have become our friends. We hope this first episode of 2024 and its compilation of clips from the past two years will help you find new ways to stay connected, stay positive, and stay active. Featuring:Eddie Olshanski/Trash Fish ClevelandTristan Rader/Solar United NeighborsBritta Latz/Medwish International Tim Jasinski/Lights Out ClevelandSteven Love/Cleveland Plogs Chelsea Shuran/Hunger NetworkJacob VanSickel/Bike ClevelandSemia Bray/Black Environmental LeadersJim Sheehan/Ohio City Bicycle Co-opElissa Yoder/Ohio Sierra ClubMike Sandoval/Evergreen RecyclingRen Brumfield/Cleveland RecyclingNina Savastano/Brooklyn Recycling ProgramNathan Rutz/Tilth SoilDenzil St Clair/Greater Cleveland Beekeepers AssociationEmily Peck/Frayed Knot FarmPatrick Kearns/Ohio City FarmJess Boeke/Rust Belt FibershedDan Brown/Rust Belt  RidersNicole MgGee/Upcycle Parts ShopJessica Davis/Rebuilders ExchangeDebbie Eastburn/Humble Design ClevelandMatt Walters /Cuyahoga RecyclesKathleen ColanJill Bartolatta/Ohio Sea GrantErin Huber Rosen/Drink Local, Drink TapAlex Margevicius/Cleveland WaterMax Herzog/Cleveland Water AllianceRachel Regula/Little Spark Refill ShopPat Conway/Great Lakes Brewing CompanyAlec McClennan/Good Nature Organic Lawn CareAaron Jacobson/FaanwareJoe Rohan, Jing Lyon/BRITE Energy InnovatorsJefferson Jones/Organic ConnectsAmy Roskilly/Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation DistrictCarol Thaler/Great Lakes BiomimicryMarci Lininger/Ohio Pollinator Habitat InitiativeDeb Yandala/Conservancy for CVNPSamira Malone/Cleveland Tree Coalition.Follow us: https://www.facebook.com/ecospeaksclehttps://www.instagram.com/ecospeakscleContact us:hello@ecospeakscle.com
Behind the Scenes at MedWish International with Britta Latz
Dec 5 2023
Behind the Scenes at MedWish International with Britta Latz
Medwish International in Cleveland, Ohio, has been making a world of difference since 1993 by recovering, repurposing, and redistributing surplus medical supplies around the globe. This urgently needed humanitarian aid also helps the environment by keeping life-saving resources out of landfills. In this episode, we speak with Executive Director Britta Latz about how Medwish has been bridging the gap between surplus and scarcity for 30 years with the support of an army of volunteers and the help of our northeast Ohio community.  Join us as we take you behind the scenes of MedWish International to learn how teams of volunteers sort, repackage, and distribute over 600,000 lbs. of medical supplies annually to 115 countries and those in need locally. The logistics involved with receiving and fulfilling supply requests from organizations worldwide are extensive. As Medwish marks its 30th anniversary, it celebrates the people in our community who make this life-saving work possible. Hear how individuals and healthcare facilities donate their surplus supplies instead of sending them to a landfill, the army of volunteers and aid workers who sort and redistribute the supplies, and the funders that keep this remarkable organization going. Hear how you might make a difference. Guest:Britta Latz, Executive Director, Medwish InternationalResources:Follow Medwish on Instagram, Facebook and YouTubeGive Supplies Give $$Give TimeFollow us: https://www.facebook.com/ecospeaksclehttps://www.instagram.com/ecospeakscleContact us:hello@ecospeakscle.com
Secondhand Savvy with Kathleen Colan
Nov 21 2023
Secondhand Savvy with Kathleen Colan
We all love a good find at a vintage store and have done our fair share of donating or selling stuff we no longer want. These sustainable actions fuel a booming industry called the secondary market for consumer goods. But how much do we know about the consumer resale market? How can we make good decisions about where we donate, and how can we be savvy shoppers in the resale retail world? Joining us with the inside scoop is Kathleen Colan - a seasoned writer, author, and the founder of KC Media Partners. Kathleen has reported on the resale retail industry and sells vintage goods herself. In this episode, we unlock some of the best places in town to find those pre-loved treasures, share our favorite finds, and hear some tips for savvy shopping that we hope will inspire you to shop secondhand this holiday season.  Guest:Kathleen Colan, Founder of KC Media PartnersC'estParfait.love (Kathleen's vintage on Ebay)Resources:PBS feature: Buy low, sell high: commodifying commerce in the consumer goods secondary market by Kathleen ColanConsumer brand buy-back programsUnboxing Shein on HuluShop Vintage Cleveland and More:Great Lakes VintageGoodwill Bins OutletWorn Wear (Patagonia)Attenson's Antiques and Books  Eclectic Eccentric Monarch BoutiqueFlower ChildSweet LorainAll Things for You  Schoolhouse SalvageROOK ModernMain Street Modern Beachland BallroomBainbridge Antique CenterHabitat Re-StoreFollow us: https://www.facebook.com/ecospeaksclehttps://www.instagram.com/ecospeakscleContact us:hello@ecospeakscle.com
Eco Meet CLE -  Our Local Food System
Nov 7 2023
Eco Meet CLE - Our Local Food System
In this episode, we bring you the conversation from Eco Meet CLE,  a sustainability event held this October at Great Lakes Brewing Company. The theme of the evening was local food. Over 100 people joined us for food, beer, and a conversation about our local food system with a panel of guests that helped us explore the meaning of the term food system, the various roles within that system, and ways we might make it more local, more accessible, and more inclusive.In this recording, we first hear Lexi St. Denis, the local and responsible food coordinator for Great Lakes Brewing Company, describe her job and the farmers she works with. After that, we hear from Dr. Darcy Friedman, a renowned researcher and the Director of the Mary Ann Swetland Center for Environmental Health at CASE. Dr. Friedman moderated our panel of 3 speakers that included Zainab Pixler, the Local Food Systems Strategy Coordinator for the City of Cleveland Department of Public Health; Annabel Khouri, the owner of Bay Branch Farm in Cleveland and a member of the USDA Farm Service agency committee; Jennifer Lumpkin, founder of My Grow Connect, an organization that works to connect the community with agriculture and member of the Cuyahoga County Food Policy Coalition. We've set the table for some intriguing topics - everything from food sovereignty to wealth building for BIPOC growers. And we examine solutions that Cleveland can adopt to improve its local food system, address disparities, and improve health in our communities. So pull up a chair. There's plenty to digest on this episode of Eco Speaks CLE.Thank You, Sponsors! Great Lakes Brewing Co - Brewing Good Mary Ann Swetland Center for Environmental Health - CWRUConserva Irrigation of Northern OhioGraziani Multimedia1 PM One Planet MediaSustainable Ohio Public Energy CouncilRET3 Job CorpsLettuce Tree FarmsBlue CSR StrategiesRust Belt RidersCollaborxFood StrongBRITE Energy InnovatorsCleveland Neighborhood ProgressFollow us: https://www.facebook.com/ecospeaksclehttps://www.instagram.com/ecospeakscleContact us:hello@ecospeakscle.com
Saving the Birds with Lights Out Cleveland and LENSC
Oct 3 2023
Saving the Birds with Lights Out Cleveland and LENSC
What if there was a way to save thousands of innocent birds from lethal collisions with our urban glass structures each year? In this episode of EcoSpeak CLE, we head to Lake Erie Nature and Science Center to speak with wildlife rehabilitation specialist Tim Jasinski, one of the founders of Lights Out Cleveland. Tim shares the challenges migratory birds face in navigating the dangerous cityscape of Cleveland and how we all help make our community more feather-friendly.  Tim takes us behind the scenes of Lights Out Cleveland and The Lake Erie Nature and Science Center, revealing the dedication and commitment of the volunteers who roam downtown streets in the early morning hours during spring and fall migrations to rescue and rehabilitate injured birds. In our Tip Time, Tim shares what to do if you find an injured bird or animal and some of his favorite spots around town to bird watch.Lights Out Cleveland needs more volunteers. You can make a difference by becoming a Bird Collision Monitoring Crew member.  Monitoring and collection volunteers are responsible for monitoring specific areas throughout Downtown Cleveland, collecting/transporting both living and dead birds, and recording data.  Monitoring happens between 5:00 am – 8:30 am, March 15 – ~June 1 and August 15 – mid-November. Opportunities are available seven days per week. To become a volunteer, you will need to join the Cleveland Metroparks volunteer system.Guest:Tim Jasinski, Wildlife Rehabilitation Specialist with Lake Erie Nature and Science Center and Founder of Lights Out ClevelandResources:Lights out Cleveland   Lake Erie Nature and Science Center Become a Lights Out Cleveland volunteer Feather Friendly window film  Ohio Bird Conservation InitiativeMake your house more bird-friendly.  Follow us: https://www.facebook.com/ecospeaksclehttps://www.instagram.com/ecospeakscleContact us:hello@ecospeakscle.com
Organic Connects and the Power of the Outdoors
Sep 19 2023
Organic Connects and the Power of the Outdoors
Whitnye Long Jones is a nature enthusiast, community engagement specialist, and environmental justice advocate. She channels these passions and skills into the non-profit she founded in  2017 called Organic Connects. Whitnye runs Organic Connects with her husband, Jefferson Jones, a lifelong outdoor educator, and outdoorsman. Together, they provide environmental education, outdoor recreation, and nature-based opportunities primarily for urban youth and families with limited access to nature. In this episode, we speak with Whitnye and Jefferson in Jimmy's Treehouse, the outdoor learning classroom at the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes. We talk about the power of nature to teach, restore, transform, heal, inspire, connect, and prepare our future environmental leaders. Whether it be kayaking, camping in Allegheny National Forest, or building a campfire, the practical skills one acquires outdoors benefit each of us throughout our lives, and as Jefferson puts it, "everybody, whether they're white or black or brown, needs more of the outdoors." Join us to hear how these two black environmental leaders provide these experiences and connect people organically to the outdoors, each other, and the community. It's a reminder of how these organic connections can create ripple effects, fostering an environment where everyone, regardless of their background, can connect with nature in a meaningful way.  Guests:Whitnye Long-Jones, Founder and Executive Director, Organic Connects email: wlj@organicconnects.orgJefferson Jones, Senior Director of Operations, Organic Connects email: jhj@organicconnects.orgResources:Environmental education and outdoor recreation programs Organic Connects Events Partners and FundersCleveland Metroparks Youth OutdoorsConveniently Vegan restaurantCamp JourneyFollow us: https://www.facebook.com/ecospeaksclehttps://www.instagram.com/ecospeakscleContact us:hello@ecospeakscle.com
Dreams Blossom at Frayed Knot Farm
Aug 15 2023
Dreams Blossom at Frayed Knot Farm
Emily Pek is a flower farmer and the owner of Frayed Knot Farm, a small flower farm in Newbury, Ohio, where she produces beautiful, diverse cut flowers and herbs that share stories, bring joy and support equitable and regenerative farming. In this episode, we visit Emily on her farm and discover her journey to becoming a flower farmer, the family roots and community behind her farm, the flowers behind the Saison beer at Great Lakes Brewing Company, and her grandpa's punny joke that inspired the name Frayed Knot Farm. If Emily were a flower, she says she would be Foxglove. It's delicate but tough with "tough" being the operative word behind being a farmer. Starting with just a grass field in 2018, Emily now grows over 100 varieties of annual and perennial flowers and foliage on less than an acre using hand-scale farming practices. She demonstrates how hard work and a "why not?" attitude can turn dreams into reality. Join us on this episode to discover the heart and hard work behind Frayed Knot Farm and Emily's passion for a more sustainable and healthy environment. Her journey will inspire you to pursue your dreams, no matter how big or small.Resources:Frayed Knot FarmFollow Frayed Knot Farm on InstagramEvent FloralsFlower Shares through Ohio City farm Wholesale - The CollabCommunity Partners - Rustbelt Fibershed The Flax ProjectThe joke - a string walks into a bar....Follow us: https://www.facebook.com/ecospeaksclehttps://www.instagram.com/ecospeakscleContact us:hello@ecospeakscle.com
Be a Beekeeper with the Greater Cleveland Beekeepers
Jul 18 2023
Be a Beekeeper with the Greater Cleveland Beekeepers
In this episode, we explore the world of beekeeping with Denzil and Sheila St. Clair. Sheila and Denzil have been happily married and very busy for 52 years, keeping bees, raising children, operating their bee business, and founding the Greater Cleveland Beekeepers Association (GCBA). Greg and I caught up with them on a Wednesday evening at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds, where they were demonstrating how to do an "alcohol wash" on a hive to determine if it contained harmful mites. This preceded the beekeepers association's annual July picnic. The GCBA supports hundreds of backyard beekeepers from all walks of life. They come together to learn, support each other, socialize, and help spread the word about the essential need for honeybees and beekeeping. Housed at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds, the GCBA educates aspiring and existing beekeepers and the public. There are several active bee hives, a bee barn, a pollinator garden, and an observation hive. Join us as we dip into this topic just enough to pique your interest in becoming a beekeeper, spark an appreciation for bees, and inspire you to take a beginner beekeeping course through GCBA. Guests:Denzil St. Clair and Sheila St. Clair - Greater Cleveland Beekeepers Association and owners of Queen Right Colonies, a beekeeping supply house.Resources:Greater Cleveland Beekeepers AssociationBeekeeping classes Beekeeping Supplies from Queen Right ColoniesCuyahoga County Fair Follow us: https://www.facebook.com/ecospeaksclehttps://www.instagram.com/ecospeakscleContact us:hello@ecospeakscle.com