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Sustainability begins to take shape in Oxford

Oxford City Council discussed its environmental sustainability efforts at its meeting last Tuesday. A group of graduate students from Miami University's Institute for the Environment & Sustainability (IES) gave a presentation on two greenhouse gas studies conducted in the past year and Council discussed penning an open letter to the university about mutual sustainability efforts.

The IES presentation summarized the results of a year-long study into the feasibility of Oxford signing on to the Global Covenant of Mayors (GCM), and a current study of greenhouse gasses in Oxford. The GCM consists of over 9,000 cities that have all committed to lowering greenhouse gas emissions to slow the effects of climate change and prevent irreversible environmental damage.

In order to sign onto the GCM, Council would need a majority vote to agree to conduct a city-wide greenhouse gas inventory, set target reductions for greenhouse gas emissions and enact legislation to push the city toward its reduction targets.

The IES study, which was completed in May 2018, recommended the city wait to sign onto the GCM and instead conduct its own greenhouse gas emissions inventory.

Another study, currently being conducted by IES, is taking a greenhouse gas inventory of all city emissions, and the results will be available on Friday, May 17.

At the end of the meeting, council discussed publishing an open letter addressed to Miami asking for open dialogue about sustainability going forward.

Council member David Prytherch, who drafted the letter, is also a professor of geography at Miami. He noted that Miami and Oxford have historically kept their sustainability efforts separate.

Council plans to revise the letter and send it to University President Gregory Crawford sometime this spring.

"More important than the letter itself is the commitment for the university and city groups to meet on probably a quarterly basis to keep each other informed," said Mayor Kate Rousmaniere.

Council meets next at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 19 at the Oxford Courthouse.

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