After last week’s Green Seminar, led by Megan Hargroder of Conversations, LifeCity and several community members had the exciting chance to learn about a potential program that may play a big role in the future of New Orleans’ Impact Economy.
LifeCity invited Kristin Pierre of the EPA to hold an E3 Opportunity Meeting in the hopes of implementing an E3 program in New Orleans. E3, which is defined on its website as ”a technical assistance framework helping communities, manufacturers, and manufacturing supply chains adapt and thrive in today’s green economy,” is a collaboration of six government departments working together to provide communities with the necessary resources to improve every aspect of its social and economic impact.
As Liz Shephard of LifeCity emphasized, New Orleans is the ideal candidate for the E3 Program. The social and political impact of our city is not limited to its borders. New Orleans is an important ecological habitat for marine life, as well as a top exporter of water, seafood, energy, grain, and coal. New Orleans is the top domestic producer of oil and gas, and the top tonnage port in the nation. We have the highest total combined truck flows of any major city. However, New Orleans is also the US city most vulnerable to climate change. We have the 6th highest level of inequity in the United States. As Shephard stated, “the challenges we face have shown us that our environment and communities are highly interconnected, and we can leverage the E3 framework to position our economy as a leader.”
E3 is a model of collaboration. Although aided by government resources, consultants, and organizations, it is the community that determines the goals and key players of E3. E3 has active programs in 22 states, the implementation of which has resulted in a wealth of experience and knowledge of what works and what doesn’t. However, as anyone can tell, New Orleans is a unique city, from its infrastructure to its people. Because of this, active participation from local community players is necessary to implement sustainable changes.
Some of the common goals E3 has achieved in US cities include job creation, climate change mitigation, poverty alleviation, and sustainable development. Through the collaboration of several government departments, E3 provides support for communities by supporting manufacturers through coordinated technical assessments, post assessment recommendations, implementation support, training and continuous improvement support, and long-term engagement.
Several community leaders at the E3 Opportunity meeting intend to encourage involvement with E3 in New Orleans, including City Council members, NGO leaders, and manufacturers considering expansion in New Orleans.
Next month, LifeCity will host a follow-up discussion in order to assess the needs of our communities and start articulating various visions and perspectives.