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Cities in green and Brown

The differing approaches in Buffalo and Niagara Falls in reaction to spiraling energy costs and other ramifications of climate change can be boiled down to this:

When I called Paul Dyster to talk about what Niagara Falls is doing, the mayor invited me up for what turned out to be a detailed, and ultimately exhausting, two-hour interview in which I finally had to plead "no mas." The man knows his stuff, and talks not in sound bites, not in sentences, but in complete paragraphs. Several at a time.

Don't believe me? Here's a video of a speech Dyster gave this summer to Business Gets Green.

Mayor Byron Brown, on the other hand, doesn't want to talk about what he is doing -- and not doing -- in Buffalo. Not with me. And not with some prominent greens like Walter Simpson who have tried to get an audience with him.

As a result of its mayor's respective attitudes, Niagara Falls has landed a plant to produce silicon used to make solar panels, while Buffalo is, well, washing the halls of City Hall with less abrasive cleaning solutions.

In addition to my story in Sunday's Buffalo News, I've complied links to additional resources for those of you who want to know more.

Let's start with Sam Magavern's report done with some of his U.B. law students for the Partnership for the Public Good, entitled "Greening Buffalo: What Local Governments Can Do." Magavern presents an abbreviated version of the recommendations in this story he wrote for Artvoice.

To learn with other cities are doing, start with the one-page action plan developed by the the Climate protection Center of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Magavern says Cincinnati's action plan is particularly relevant to a city like Buffalo. has ranked the nation's 50 greenest cities, although probably fewer than 20 really deserve kudos. Another outfit has done a readable narrative on the greenest of the green cities.

Newsweek has reported on a study by the Brookings Institute on how metropolitan regions can reduce their carbon footprint.

Finally, Gristmill is in the midst of reporting on what 15 regions across the nation are doing on the green front.

Read on.


Global warming | Green | Local Government
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