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Shannon Binns Enlarge Shannon Binns
Lee Howard Posted: March 25th, 2012 Lee Howard

Sustain Charlotte is a local nonprofit that hopes to solve Charlotte’s sustainability challenges. By all accounts, it looks like Charlotte has a mile-high climb.

But there’s reason for optimism. Sustain Charlotte, along with UNC-Charlotte’s graduate program in Urban Design, will host the first Community Sustainability Awards on Saturday, March 31.

Leaders from local nonprofits, government agencies, businesses and schools will be recognized for their civic action. More than 70 nominations were made. The event is 7-9 p.m. Saturday, March 31, at UNCC’s Center City Building at 320 E. 9th St. The 143,000-square-foot building, which opened last fall, makes for an appropriate venue since it’s LEED-certified.

Local citizens will be rewarded for their efforts at improving the Queen City’s air quality, public transportation, water quality, energy efficiency, parks and green space, said Shannon Binns, executive director of Sustain Charlotte.

Sustain Charlotte is a nonprofit that hopes to ensure a sustainable future for the entire Charlotte metropolitan region, Binns said.

Binns points to a recent study commissioned by Siemens Energy Inc. that ranks Charlotte 20th among the 27 largest cities in the U.S. and Canada for sustainability.

The study assesses and compares each city on its performance and policies across nine categories. They include things like carbon emissions, energy, land use, buildings, public transportation, water, waste, air quality and environmental governance.

Binns said he was not surprised Charlotte ranked so low in the Siemens study. “Our organization exists to help address the fact that Charlotte is not yet a leader in sustainability compared to other cities our size.”

Tickets to the awards ceremony range from $25 for full-time students to $55 for the general public.

Event sponsors include Coca-Cola Consolidated, the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, Shade of Green Events, Strait Insights, The Lawrence Group, and Charlotte Viewpoint.

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