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ECO SPEAKS CLE

Diane Bickett and Greg Rotuno

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ECO SPEAKS CLE is where the eco-curious explore Northeast Ohio's unique and thriving environmental community. Each episode delivers thoughtful and informative interviews with local sustainability leaders and offers tips to help listeners connect, learn, and live with the community and planet in mind. ECO SPEAKS CLE is hosted by Diane Bickett and produced by her son-in-law, Greg Rotuno. Diane draws on experiences and relationships developed during her 31-year environmental career to showcase ...
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Jim Ridge is the founder and executive director of Share the River, a non-profit that promotes Cleveland as a waterfront city and sharing everything that makes it a vibrant and engaging space for residents and visitors. In this episode, Jim talks about his upcoming Blazing Paddles Paddlefest on June 22, where hundreds of recreational paddlers and r…
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In this episode, we celebrate Earth Month and the power of local environmental action with the Cleveland Heights Green Team, its co-founder Catalina Wagers, and volunteer Suzanne Zilber. The Cleveland Heights Green Team was founded in 2021 and is very active, with over 300 volunteers. They have a full calendar of events planned for Earth Month, and…
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In this episode, we welcome returning guests Patrick Kearns with Re:Source Cleveland (formerly Refugee Response) and Michael Bartunek with Ohio City Farm to update us on the exciting developments at Ohio City Farm and with its operator, Re:Source Cleveland. Rachel Ramos, who manages CSA sales for the farm, also joins us to tell us about the diverse…
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In this episode, we bring you the conversation from Eco Meet CLE, a Cleveland sustainability event on February 20 featuring local innovators reinventing northeast Ohio textile production. Rather than today's exploitive and resource-intensive system, we can grow a regional, circular system that fosters economic integrity, ecological stewardship, and…
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Cleveland Metroparks has always been a preserver and protector of our valleys and the waters that run through them. In 2013, it opened the Watershed Stewardship Center in Parma's West Creek Reservation with a mission to enhance and protect our urban watersheds through scientific discovery, education, and sustainable actions. In this episode, we spe…
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Northeast Ohio can be proud of its sewer district, not only for the skill with which it manages our wastewater and protects our water resources but also for the skill with which it connects with the public, especially its Twitter followers. How did the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District amass more than 60,000 die-hard Twitter followers here in …
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Meet Victoria Avi, owner of Venture Forward Strategies. Victoria has many rich stories and insights from her 17-year sustainability career and her personal life. Victoria immigrated to Cleveland from Azerbaijan when she was just 16 and navigated language, high school, and finally college, where she found her passions for graphic design and the envi…
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On December 21, 2021, Greg and I launched the first episode of Eco Speaks CLE to elevate and connect the greater Cleveland environmental community by speaking with those doing inspiring and impactful work. Forty-seven episodes later, as we celebrate two years of Eco Speaks CLE, we are grateful to each guest and each listener. You have become our fr…
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Medwish International in Cleveland, Ohio, has been making a world of difference since 1993 by recovering, repurposing, and redistributing surplus medical supplies around the globe. This urgently needed humanitarian aid also helps the environment by keeping life-saving resources out of landfills. In this episode, we speak with Executive Director Bri…
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We all love a good find at a vintage store and have done our fair share of donating or selling stuff we no longer want. These sustainable actions fuel a booming industry called the secondary market for consumer goods. But how much do we know about the consumer resale market? How can we make good decisions about where we donate, and how can we be sa…
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In this episode, we bring you the conversation from Eco Meet CLE, a sustainability event held this October at Great Lakes Brewing Company. The theme of the evening was local food. Over 100 people joined us for food, beer, and a conversation about our local food system with a panel of guests that helped us explore the meaning of the term food system…
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In this episode of Eco Speaks CLE, we speak with New York Times bestselling author and climate journalist Jeff Goodell. Jeff has covered climate change for over two decades at Rolling Stone and is the author of seven books, including his latest book, The Heat Will Kill You First: Life and Death On A Scorched Planet. This is an engaging, thoughtful,…
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What if there was a way to save thousands of innocent birds from lethal collisions with our urban glass structures each year? In this episode of EcoSpeak CLE, we head to Lake Erie Nature and Science Center to speak with wildlife rehabilitation specialist Tim Jasinski, one of the founders of Lights Out Cleveland. Tim shares the challenges migratory …
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Whitnye Long Jones is a nature enthusiast, community engagement specialist, and environmental justice advocate. She channels these passions and skills into the non-profit she founded in 2017 called Organic Connects. Whitnye runs Organic Connects with her husband, Jefferson Jones, a lifelong outdoor educator, and outdoorsman. Together, they provide …
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Emily Pek is a flower farmer and the owner of Frayed Knot Farm, a small flower farm in Newbury, Ohio, where she produces beautiful, diverse cut flowers and herbs that share stories, bring joy and support equitable and regenerative farming. In this episode, we visit Emily on her farm and discover her journey to becoming a flower farmer, the family r…
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Evergreen Recycling, based in Clyde, Ohio, is one of North America's largest recyclers of plastic PET bottles and its mission is to make single-use plastic a thing of the past. With four facilities across North America, Evergreen leads the industry in bottle-to-bottle recycling. In our conversation with Michael Sandoval, Evergreen's corporate purch…
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In this episode, we explore the world of beekeeping with Denzil and Sheila St. Clair. Sheila and Denzil have been happily married and very busy for 52 years, keeping bees, raising children, operating their bee business, and founding the Greater Cleveland Beekeepers Association (GCBA). Greg and I caught up with them on a Wednesday evening at the Cuy…
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Eddie Olschanski is on a mission. Five days a week, year-round, Eddie can be seen fishing for trash in his kayak on the Cuyahoga River in the Flats. Outfitted with just a life jacket, a trash grabber, and garbage bags, Eddie and his volunteers have plucked over 50,000 lbs of trash from the shipping canal, the last place the trash can be removed bef…
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Curious about how the water you use every day gets to your tap? If you live in Northeast Ohio, chances are you get some or all of your water from the Cleveland Division of Water and the process of getting it from Lake Erie to you is fascinating. Today is water appreciation day on Eco Speaks CLE and speaking with us is Alex Margevicius, the Commissi…
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In this episode, we hear from a number of Cleveland's sustainability community in this recording from May's Eco Meet CLE event at Great Lakes Brewing Company. The evening featured a community stage where we heard from local environmental organizations about their work and the many ways we can connect and get involved. A lot is happening around town…
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The Ohio City Bicycle Co-Op has been helping people use bikes for over 20 years by imparting skills that encourage riding for fun, fitness, and transportation. Guided by the principles of respect, resourcefulness, and reciprocity, the OCBC's small professional staff and its many skilled volunteers refurbish donated bicycles, teach bike maintenance …
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In honor of Arbor Day, we discuss local efforts to reforest the Forest City with the Cleveland Tree Coalition and the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission. Cleveland was once known as the Forest City, but it's not so forested anymore, with less than 18% of tree canopy remaining in the urban core. This tree canopy loss negatively impacts the city and…
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April is a busy month in the CLE, so we bring you this short Earth Day episode where Diane goes solo and speaks about the first Earth Fest at the Zoo in 1990, what having a sustainability community means, ways to get involved, and what's in store for Eco Speaks CLE. Ways to Connect: Join the Eco Meet CLE 4 Miles 4 Water team Register for Eco Meet C…
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Spring has arrived, and here at Eco Speaks CLE, we are thinking about SOIL. It is fundamental to all life on earth, so it deserves our attention. In this episode, we speak with Nathan Rutz, the Director of Soil for Tilth Soil. Tilth is an outgrowth of Rust Belt Riders, transforming food waste into a family of soil products that nourish plants, peop…
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In this episode, we learn how BRITE Energy Innovators is helping power the future of energy across Ohio by speaking with Jing Lyon, BRITE's Entrepreneur Programs Director, and Joe Rohan, BRITE's Accelerator Program Manager. BRITE Energy Innovators empowers founders to launch energy technology solutions and operates Ohio's only energy technology inc…
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Meet members of our local sustainability community and hear from local climate leaders in this episode recorded during our second Eco Meet CLE event in February at Great Lakes Brewing Company. First, meet some of the people in the room and then hear from our climate panelists, featuring County Executive Chris Ronayne, Stephen Love with the Clevelan…
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In this episode, we celebrate the national park in our backyard by speaking with Deb Yandala, President and CEO of the Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and Donté Gibbs, VP of Community Partnerships. The Conservancy is the non-profit partner of Cuyahoga Valley National Park and its biggest supporter. Its 85 staff work to protect and pr…
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Elena Stachew and Moses Ngong are two young professionals demonstrating the power of youth in action. They lead the Cleveland Hub of Global Shapers. Global Shapers is a diverse community of young people working together to address local, regional, and global challenges through 522 city-based hubs located in 154 countries. In this episode, we get to…
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In our first episode of 2023, we help you with all your recycling questions and give you options for cleaning out the clutter so you can start your new year off right. Joining us are Beth Biggins-Ramer, the Executive Director of Cuyahoga Recycles, and Matt Walters, the Recycling Programs Coordinator with Cuyahoga Recycles. Hear Beth tell us what’s …
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In this episode, we speak with Jess Boeke. Jess and her twin sister Sarah Pottle, are the co-founders of Rust Belt Fibershed and are growing a bioregional textile community within a 250-mile radius of Cleveland. Imagine sourcing your clothing from a regional fibershed where local fiber farmers, workers, and artisans produce natural clothing that or…
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In this episode, we pull back the curtain on fast fashion with Aaron Jacobson, the creator of faan, a Cleveland-based clothing company. Aaron designs and creates low-waste, locally-made, unisex clothing that supports the philosophy of true circular fashion. Circular fashion is the opposite of fast fashion, which accounts for 10% of global CO2 emiss…
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Chelsea Csuhran is the Food Rescue Program Director with the Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland. In this episode, we speak with Chelsea about food rescue and how her organization keeps usable food out of landfills while reducing hunger in our community. This happens with hundreds of volunteers she calls food rescue heroes. Hear how you can become …
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Debbie Eastburn is the director of Humble Design Cleveland, and her motto is "togetherness to end homelessness." She and her team of designers and volunteers create spaces that families, veterans, and kids aging out of foster care can call home. And they do this primarily with second-hand items that people in our community have donated. Keeping it …
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Cleveland Water Alliance is making Lake Erie the first SMART Great Lake by harnessing technology to monitor water quality, fuel research, drive innovation, and elevate Cleveland's role in the Blue Economy. Max Herzog is a program manager with Cleveland Water Alliance. In this episode, Max invites us to imagine what it would mean to have sensors and…
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In this episode, we recap Eco Meet CLE with Victoria Avi and Danielle Doza with Venture Forward Strategies. Danielle and Victoria helped Greg and me organize this meetup for Cleveland's sustainability community on September 20th at Great Lakes Brewing Company. Dan and Pat Conway sponsored the event, along with several other partners. It was an ener…
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Marci Lininger calls monarch butterflies the guardian angels of the pollinator world. By doing good things for monarchs, we also help a myriad of other species that also need our help. This past summer, the monarch was officially designated as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Curious to know more about what that mea…
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How does nature move liquids? How does nature manage structural forces? How does nature sense motion and temperature? These are some of the questions that the practice of Biomimicry asks when faced with a design challenge. Our guests, Trisha Brown and Carol Thaler are two Biomimicry practitioners that are helping accelerate innovation based on solu…
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Upcycle Parts Shop is a creative reuse center in Cleveland’s St. Clair Superior neighborhood. In this episode, we speak with Nicole McGee, the center's scrappy founder and executive director. Since 2014, the shop has diverted over 47 tons of material from landfills while providing the materials for creative inspiration to local artists and makers. …
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In this episode, we met up with Stephen Love, founder of Cleveland Plogs for an evening of "plogging", a fitness and litter cleanup craze from Sweden that is quickly spreading throughout the world and right here in CLE. Cleveland Plogs seeks to inspire a city to discover the joy of plogging by hosting monthly cleanups in the Collinwood neighborhood…
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In this episode, we wrap up our Plastic-Free July series by speaking with local entrepreneur, Rachel Regula, the founder and CEO of Little Spark Refill Shop. Little Spark is Cleveland’s first retail store devoted to sustainable living and zero waste. Her stores in Rocky River and Chagrin Falls offer customers a convenient way to refill household es…
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In this episode, we kick off Plastic Free July with Elissa Yoder Mann, Conservation Program Manager with Sierra Club Ohio. According to Elissa, "plastic-free" is more a journey than a destination, given all the ways that plastic packaging has invaded our lives, but there are ways to have a "plastic-less" life. Sierra Club Ohio is participating in t…
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This is the first of an Eco Speaks CLE series on plastic. In this episode, we tackle the subject of plastic pollution with Jill Bartolotta, OSU Extension Educator with Ohio Sea Grant. Jill is a researcher focusing on plastic pollution in the Great Lakes. Her work informs plastics policy, international research, and education projects. Listen and he…
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In this episode, we talk about recycling and circularity in the City of Cleveland. After a long hiatus, curbside recycling returns to Cleveland on June 13th, and here to tell us about the reinstated program and how to participate, is Cleveland’s Recycling Coordinator, Orensel Brumfield. Also joining us to talk about the Circular Cleveland initiativ…
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Bike Cleveland is creating a region that is sustainable, connected, healthy, and vibrant by promoting bicycling and advocating for safe and equitable transportation for all. In this episode, our guests Jacob VanSickle and Diana Hildebrand with Bike Cleveland speak about National Bike Month and all the ways to get out and have fun on two wheels. Are…
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In Episode #10, Greg and I have a beer and talk about our podcasting adventure thus far while recapping our favorite parts of episodes 1-9. Join us as we shoot the breeze and talk about what's in store for ECO SPEAKS CLE down the road. And if you haven't yet had a chance to hear every episode, we will catch you up and help you find topics that "spe…
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April 22 is Earth Day. On this day in 1970, 20 million Americans marched for clean air, clean water, and environmental justice. In this episode, we honor Earth Day with a conversation about environmental activism with a focus on health, diversity, inclusion and equity with SeMia Bray and David Wilson, Co-Directors of the Black Environmental Leaders…
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Jessica Davis knows salvage - where to get it, how to move it, and how to help others buy and sell architectural salvage and used building materials. Jessica is the founder and owner of Rebuilders Xchange (RBX) and she is on a mission to build a salvage economy here in Cleveland. In this episode, Jessica gives us a quick tour then we sit down to ta…
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Meet Erin Huber Rosen, the Founder and Executive Director of Drink Local. Drink Tap., Inc.™ Since 2010, Erin has been inspiring people to "Be the Drop" to recognize and solve our local and global water issues. What started as a campaign to encourage people to ditch bottled water and conduct beach cleanups to protect Lake Erie, grew into a global ca…
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Spring is right around the corner and Eco Speaks CLE is here to help you get ready. In this episode, we speak with Alec Mclennan, the founder and president of Good Nature Organic Lawn Care and Amy Roskilly, the manager of conservation education for the Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District. This episode is jam-packed with eco-friendly sprin…
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Cuyahoga County and Solar United Neighbors are working to expand solar in northeast Ohio by making it more affordable and accessible. In this episode, we demystify solar power and the process of going solar by speaking with Cuyahoga County Sustainability Director, Mike Foley, and Ohio Program Director for Solar United Neighbors, Tristan Rader. Join…
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