RGC Steering Committe Meeting Minutes

Racine Green Congregation Steering Committee 12-5-14


Members Present:    Betty Brenneman, Jean Gorden, Adele Helmle, Nancy Holmlund,  Marilyn Kiemen, Kate Kirby, Mike Michael Mueller, Melissa Warner, Sister Janet Weyker,  Rose Woodruff, David Rhoads, Tom Rutkowski.


David referenced two sources that relate to our plans: 

                An article about E. O. Wilson’s proposal called Half Earth in the September 2014 Smithsonian     magazine and states that half of the earth should be preserved for wildlife space and corridors.

                Anthony Westin’s book entitled Back to Nature presents the idea that we should see the            Earth, our backyards, and church property as earth community.


Goals of Greening Racine: David proposed:   Engage city and county governments to adopt goals to bring environmental sustainability to our communities.


Sister Janet stated that we should involve city government in adopting 4 steps.

City government should adopt an open-ended resolution based on Natural Step plans.  Look at 10 other cities in Wisconsin which adopted Eco-Municipality resolutions – some based on The Natural Step- to see what they have accomplished and how the resolutions were worded.


Three essential tasks to accomplish as soon as possible include:

Educate political leaders in government about the Natural Step program goals

Have city of Racine adopt a Resolution for the Natural Step goals

Education:  engage corporations, environmental organizations, congregations,schools, etc. to support overall goals.

Website Development:  Kate presented information about different options for a website.  One possibility is pay $123.00 for domain name and listing.  Other possibilities included working with Gateway class, Community Partnerships Program, and working with Allison Theilen or Marilyn Pelky. 


Conversations:  David talked with Allison Thielen of Root-Pike WIN and she is supportive.  Will speak with S. C. Johnson people involved in Charting New Waters.  Root River Water Restoration Plan already recommends steps to accomplish.


David talked with Madison’s City Manager, Karl Van Lith, who offered to come to Racine to present information. Discussed having meetings during the day with city officials and other municipalities who may like to attend for their info and also community leaders representing corporations, schools, and businesses and offer a presentation to the community at the Golden Rondelle (hopefully) in the evening.  Working date is Wednesday, April 15th.


Patti Nagai of US-Extension, Rose commented, already bases their activities principles we were discussing.


Contact should be made with Lynn Broadus, Wingspread Coordinator of Environmental issues.


David mentioned additional people that could be helpful:  Steve Perkins of the Center for Neighborhood Development in Chicago and Jim Schwaab, American Planning Association, an Eco-Municipalities consultant.  Mr. Perkins recommended approaching four companies in Racine to donate $25,000.00 each for one year to create  “Sustainability Officer” in Racine who would be responsible for coordinating/initiating activities—and saving enough money to support her/his position moving forward.  Companies to approach include S. C. Johnson, Kranz, Modine, Cree, UNFI, etc.


Best ideas from this meeting (according to someone):  Hire Sustainability person and promote Natural Step Resolution in city.


Sister Janet will contact Rob Lawry of the Golden Rondelle about possible Natural Step program on April 15th.  Call to Action Resolution should be part of follow-up to Rondelle presentation.


People from Canada came to Madison to train various departments regarding Natural Step goals and implementation. 


Grants must be sought to fund project.

Drafts of letters to the editor should be ready to share on the next meeting.


Next meeting:  Wednesday, December 17th.  Location to follow.

Respectfully submitted. Kate Kirby