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Local to Global: Going All-In for Climate Protection

George Heartwell, former Mayor of Grand Rapids and Community Sustainability Coordinator of GVSU, describes the resiliency efforts his city has made in the face of climate change and how they relate to the Paris Climate Accords.

Climate change is one the most pressing challenges of our day and while there is much in the media about gloom and doom, there are also signs of hope. Last December nearly 200 countries agreed at the COP21 meeting in Paris to reduce their CO2 emissions with a goal of limiting global temperature increase to under 2 degrees centigrade over pre-industrial levels. Within the past month, the United States, China, India, and the European Union joined many other countries in ratifying the agreement and now COP21 will go into effect in December 2016.

Mayor George Heartwell was a mayoral delegate at the Paris Climate Accords last year and will describe his experience there and in the year since focusing particularly on the resiliency efforts Grand Rapids has made in the face of climate change.

After the presentation, you are invited to enjoy refreshments and a display of student projects at the CEAP Poster Session in the Gezon Lobby.

George Heartwell

Mayor George Heartwell took office on January 1, 2004 and served three terms until January 2016. As mayor of Grand Rapids, Heartwell implemented a variety of environmental measures, which  helped the city receive national recognition for its sustainability efforts. In 2007, the United Nations recognized Grand Rapids as a “Regional Center of Expertise in Education for Sustainable Development.” In 2010, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce gave Grand Rapids the “Nation’s Most Sustainable City” award. And in 2012, Heartwell was given the first place Climate Protection Award by the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

December 2016
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