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Category: Government

”Green Minds” is a collaboration between members of the Southeast Sustainability Directors Network and guests who have experience, knowledge, passionate and dedication to sustainability.

About SSDN: The Southeastern U.S. is no different than the rest of the world when it comes to dealing with the problems associated with climate change. Extreme heat, rising seas, strengthening storms, flooding, drought, and crop loss are just some of the challenges we face.

The Southeast Sustainability Directors Network (SSDN) addresses these problems through sustainability efforts — work that creates a healthy, clean, and more stable environment for current and future generations.

We connect local government sustainability professionals throughout the region to accelerate, scale, and implement sustainable best practices so that communities are equipped to adapt to and mitigate climate change.

Learn more about SSDN at www.southeastsdn.org

August 31, 2022

Green Minds Ep. 14: Integrated Resource Plans & Why They’re Important

This episode of Green Minds Podcast features the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) - why they are important and how municipalities can engage. First podcast co-host Laurel Creech speaks with Anne Livingston, SSDN Director of Policy Programs, about her knowledge of IRPs. Then we focus on GA and Georgia Power's IRP process that concluded in July 2022 with guests Alicia Brown, City of Savannah's Clearn Energy Program Manager, and John R. Seydel, City of Atlanta Deputy Chief Sustainability Officer.

August 1, 2022

Green Minds Ep.13 : Food Production and Distribution

The availability of food, fresh and nutritious food in particular, is naturally a primordial preoccupation for communities. Some local governments are taking initiatives to facilitate the production and distribution of food, with a particular focus on the most vulnerable areas.

This episode hosted by Catherine Mercier-Baggett looks at the work conducted in the cities of Atlanta (GA) and Winston-Salem (NC). J. Olu Baiyewu and Moriah Gendy, both municipal employees dedicated to increasing food resilience and security in their respective cities, graciously share their experience. 

Atlanta's AgLanta: https://www.aglanta.org/

Winston-Salem's Think Orange Program: https://www.cityofws.org/3050/Think-Orange-Food-Resilience-Campaign 

June 28, 2022

SSDN Community Collaboration Catalyst MicroGrant Award Winning Cities

On this episode of Green Minds, co-host Laurel Creech talks with two cities who received SSDN's Community Collaboration Catalyst Micro Grants aimed at providing small pots of funding to local governments to overcome barriers to systemic inequities alongside dedicated community partner organizations. Learn how the cities of Richmond, VA & Nashville, TN leveraged collaborative partnerships to work innovatively impact community-led and equitable approaches to sustainability. This SSDN grant was made possible with support from The Kresge Foundation,

May 31, 2022

Green Minds Ep. 11: Highlights from SSDN’s Annual Meeting - Heat Mapping and Mitigation

MaryPat Baldauf (Columbia, SC) nominated the session hosted by Tobin Freid (Durham County, NC) and KatieRose Levin (Cary, NC) as her favorite highlight of SSDN's 2022 annual meeting. The peer learning session was on Addressing Urban Heat Islands and Heat Mitigation Strategies - an appropriate topic with summer unofficially starting with Memorial Day in the Southeast.


Resource mentioned in this episode: 

April 28, 2022

Green Minds Ep. 10: Regional & National Food Waste Awareness & Reduction Efforts

This episode of the Green Minds Podcast is hosted by Laurel Creech (Nashville, TN) and features food waste awareness and mitigation in recognition of April being Earth Month and many states and cities recognizing the month as Food Waste Awareness Month. This episode kicks off with NRDC's Darby Hoover and Nashville's Linda Breggin on a national food waste perspective then we visit the cities of Asheville, NC; Hollywood, NC; and Orlando, FL on how these Southeast cities impactful initiatives are reducing food waste.

April 1, 2022

Green Minds Ep.9: Taking the Non-Traditional Path to Sustainability

Sustainability spans across a multitude of disciplines, and the variety of individual backgrounds of sustainability professionals are a reflection of this reality. 

In this episode, we visit with Casi Callaway (Mobile, AL), Glen Hadwen (Fort Lauderdale, FL), Lennie Massanelli (Little Rock, AR) and George Santucci (Town of Boone, NC) to discuss their unique paths. 

February 28, 2022

Green Minds Ep. 8: Staffing Sustainability

This episode of Green Minds focuses on the sustainability organizational and staffing structures of four different size cities in the SSDN network and both their differences and commonalities: Susannah Troner of Miami-Dade County, FL; Helen Peplowski of the City of Winston-Salem, NC; George Santucci of the Town of Boone, NC; and Rebecca Harvey of Boynton Beach, FL. We discuss their histories, their current staffing, and future growth plans of each of these diverse cities.

January 31, 2022

Green Minds Ep. 7: The Urban Tree Canopy

The first 2022 episode of Green Minds explores the making of the latest canopy study for the City of Sandy Springs (GA) with Bridget Lawlor, GIS Manager. She is followed by Dr. Kendra Abkowitz, Chief Sustainability and Resilience Officer with the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County (TN), who discusses the latest efforts in Metro Nashville to preserve and increase the tree canopy. 


Sandy Springs' urban canopy resources

Root Nashville initiative

Free canopy assessment and planning tools: i-Tree


December 16, 2021

Green Minds Ep.6: SSDN Cities Best of 2021

Tune into this episode as Green Minds Co-hosts Catherine Mercier-Baggett and Laurel Creech as we talk with five SSDN cities to hear about their accomplishments in 2021: Fulton County, GA; Winston-Salem, NC; Orange County, FL; Durham, NC; and Chapel Hill, NC.


For more headlines and stories from SSDN's members in 2021, check out our year-end newsletter (plus our archives!) and latest blog post on our website.

October 28, 2021

Green Minds Ep. 5: The State of Local Climate Planning with City Scale

This episode of Green Minds is focused on City Scale's recent report The State of U.S. Local Climate Action Planning, a collaborative reflection of a group of local climate practitioners. Through a series of conversations in 2019, climate practitioners across the country came to a shared recognition that local climate action planning had reached an inflection point. Guests Michael Armstrong, Katherine Gajewski, and Ariella Maron, of City Scale, bring their local government expertise to this enlightening and much-needed discussion.