Author Archives: greenconvene

YouthBuild Louisville!

The June Green Convene Community Meeting featured YouthBuild Louisville, a nonprofit organization focused on preparing underemployed and undereducated young adults to be successful, productive leaders in their communities. YouthBuild helps young people earn their GED or High School diploma while receiving practical hands-on training in the construction field building sustainable low-income and affordable housing for Louisville, Red-Cross Certified Nursing Assistant Training, or sustainable urban conservation practices. Coursework includes environmental studies and service is at the heart of YouthBuild Louisville. Each student completes 675 hours of community service over the course of the year. The organization works to place every student in a job, college, or the military after graduation, and staff follows up with students for at least two years after they graduate to ensure their placement is appropriate and they are getting the resources they need. They ensure that each aspect of programming is integrated to create the most cohesive and supportive environment for young people to develop and learn.

The presentation included a facility tour highlighting green design aspects of the YouthBuild center and grounds, and a discussion of the ways in which they are helping Louisville to grow greener.

Service Event

***This service event took the place of our regular monthly Community Meeting in April.***

The Green Convene organized a team to participate in this year’s Give A Day campaign, part of the Mayor’s Week of Service. Our team spent an hour removing litter from Eva Bandman Park on River Road. We were proud to join the thousands of other volunteers working to help keep Louisville clean and green. The event was part of the Brightside/Passport Health Community-Wide Cleanup.

LSC and Community Action Teams

March 11, 2014 Green Convene Community Meeting

Louisville Sustainability Council (LSC) volunteers, Board members and staff provided updates on the activities of the Community Action Teams that were launched at the January 18, 2014, Sustainability Summit, in partnership with Metro Louisville’s Office of Sustainability. The LSC Action Teams are developing initiatives to help make advancements in Transportation, Green Economy, Green Building & Infrastructure, Community Engagement, and Tree Canopy & Urban Heat Island.

We would like to thank the American Printing House for the Blind for hosting our March Community Meeting and providing a facility tour for attendees. The tour highlighted some of the manufacturing areas and showed how the company is making what they do more sustainable.


A fun and fact-filled tour through a variety of LEED projects in our area!

At our February 11, 2014, Community Meeting, our speaker Nancy Church performed her LEED rap song describing all the things we do in LEED buildings, (e.g., eat, sleep, play, nurture, read, shop, operate, educate, etc.), and gave us a sense of the nearly 400 LEED projects in the state. She also discussed USGBC’s focus on social justice, resilience, triple bottom line (economic prosperity, environmental stewardship, social responsibility), and what citizens can do to affect change.

Ms. Church, a Louisville native, is the Executive Director of the Kentucky U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

Louisville Sustainability Council

Our November 12, 2013 Community Meeting featured an update from Emily Chandler, Interim Executive Director of the Louisville Sustainability Council. Emily discussed the history of the LSC and plans for an upcoming Sustainability Summit to be held in partnership with Metro Louisville’s Office of Sustainability.

The LSC is a public private partnership that works to engage and collaborate with the community and facilitate the achievement of Louisville’s sustainability goals. A new independent 501c3 nonprofit, the LSC works collaboratively with Metro Louisville’s Office of Sustainability as a robust community engagement partner. The LSC Board of Directors represents the Bingham Fellows Class of 2010 and professionals from a cross-section of Louisville’s business, public and nonprofit community. The Green Convene is a founding member of the Louisville Sustainability Council and serves on its Board of Directors.

We would like to thank Supplies Over Seas (SOS) for hosting our November Community Meeting. After the meeting, SOS staff provided a tour of their operation to show attendees how the organization is able to divert 12,000 pounds of medical waste per month from landfills.

Stream Daylighting

“Bringing Two Cincinnati Streams back to the Surface after 100 Years of Burial: Saving $, Reducing Sewage Overflows, and Restoring Habitat by Stream Daylighting”

October 8, 2013 Green Convene Community Meeting

Our speaker, Robert J. Hawley, Ph.D., P.E., shared his experience as the principal stream designer and fluvial geomorphic expert on two stream daylighting projects in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The projects are a part of Cincinnati’s Green Approach to reducing combined sewer overflows (CSOs) in the historic Lick Run corridor. Combined with strategic stormwater separation upstream in the watershed, the projects will help to reduce sewage overflows by ~1 billion gallons annually and save Cincinnati an estimated $300M relative to the alternative ‘gray’ design. Beyond improving water quality and restoring habitat, the stream daylighting approach is a central element of Cincinnati’s “Communities of the Future” and other urban renewal efforts.

Local Sustainable Businesses

Our “September Brew Ha-Ha” featured a number of local businesses and organizations committed to sustainability in our community. Speakers included representatives from:

Participants heard brief comments by each speaker and then had the opportunity to ask questions and network, sharing their perspectives on local sustainability.

Environmentally Friendly End-of-Life Choices

Dust to Dust with the Death Doula – August 13, 2013, Green Convene Community Meeting

In one peaceful hour with Diane Walker a myriad of items came to mind that we all should address before we die – from our fear of death to planning end of life ceremonies in responsible ways.  And since, as Diane says, we are ALL terminal, this topic is always apropos.

Rev. Diane Walker is, among many things, a life coach.  But, you could also call her a death coach.  She specializes in helping people navigate through life’s difficult transitions.  She lovingly guides the recently diagnosed, the elderly, and their family members through planning and officiating funeral services.  She also works with perfectly healthy folks and their families to plan end-of-life celebrations and other events.  Perhaps most endearing is her ability to give people the skills needed to approach this sacred time with courage and peace – to let go of the fear in order to live with more joy.

Also fascinating, and most apt to our Green Convene mission, is Diane’s knowledge about the funeral system in America, specifically in Kentucky.  Whatever she charges for her services, you are almost guaranteed to save in unnecessary funeral expenses.  Diane is a holistic lady, and conserving resources comes very naturally to her.  If you so desire, Diane can help you design a funeral that has minimal environmental impact.  Did you know that you do not have to be embalmed, that you are allowed to stay with your loved one’s remains for several hours before they need to be picked up, that traditional burials have a major negative impact on our environment?  Embalming fluid is usually comprised of the carcinogen chemical formaldehyde and other hazardous chemicals, which has been proven to pose health risks in funeral homes.  Each year, cemeteries across the States bury over 800,000 gallons of embalming fluid.  And, while concrete and metal in vaults may be considered “natural” to some, manufacturing and transporting them uses a tremendous amount of energy and causes enormous carbon emissions.  Casket manufacturers are listed on the EPA’s top 50 hazardous waste generators list due to chemicals used in the protective finish sprayed on the caskets.  Cremation uses far fewer resources than almost any other option, but it certainly has an environmental impact. Crematoria alone contribute .02% of the global emission of dioxins and furans.  Have you noticed that our cemeteries are overbooked and the new ones are being built in solely utilitarian ways?  They no longer resemble restful parks, but overgrown, crammed cities where all nearly all the green is replaced by concrete.  Does this honor you?

So, what to do with your earthly remains in order to least impact the Earth?  The sanitation and preservation of a corpse can almost always take place without the use of chemicals.  Apparently this is done in just about every nation in the world, with the exception of the US, Canada and a few others.  And, according to Diane Walker, we have options here – it’s just a matter of knowing what they are and how to get them.  While Diane is currently busy consulting based on our current options in Kentucky, her future mission includes a place where she can care for the dead with minimal environmental impact, and further the conservation of natural resources by reducing carbon emissions and the stewardship of a preserved natural area – a green cemetery with green burial options.  Imagine going to visit your loved one’s resting place – their pure body was laid into the dirt, a tree is planted above the burial spot – over the years you watch it grow, along with all the others, and eventually the land becomes a dense forest sprung from the bounties of life’s rich soil.  Not so scary after all….

The Green Convene will keep you informed of Diane’s progress.  Please contact Rev. Diane Walker at 548-5377 for a consultation.


Farm to Table

The July 9, 2013, Green Convene Community meeting featured Louisville’s Farm to Table coordinator, Sarah Fritschner. Sarah worked as a food writer for the Daytona Beach News Journal, the Florida Times-Union and the Washington Post before returning to her home town to serve as food editor for the Louisville Times and Courier-Journal. During her 24-year tenure in Louisville, she often featured local farmers and agricultural products, from country ham of Cadiz in the west to an apple orchard outside Hazard in the east.

Since 2009 she has served as the coordinator for Louisville Farm to Table, which was created that year to bring together area farmers and their locally-grown foods with Louisville consumers in their homes, schools, restaurants and workplaces, bolstering the local food economy. Louisville Farm to Table provides an economic benefit to local farmers by expanding their markets as well as meeting the rising consumer demand for local foods.

Green Parenting

Jennifer Olliges

Jennifer Olliges explained that Kentucky is one of only nine states where practicing midwifery is illegal.

The June 11, 2013, Green Convene Community meeting focused on Green Parenting options and resources available in the Louisville area.


  • Jennifer Olliges, Kentucky Home Birth Coalition, a grass-roots organization working to legalize and license direct-entry midwives using the Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) credential in Kentucky
  • Teresa Neuman, Louisville Chapter of the Holistic Moms Network