Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

For the City and for the Environment

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

For the City and for the Environment

Article excerpt

Byline: HEATHER LOVEJOY

Don't be surprised if Philip Ramsey gets an idea and says, "Let's do it." That seems to be his basic approach to life.

Ramsey, 21, lives in Springfield and works part time as a public policy researcher for the Florida Alliance of Community Development Corps.

He is co-founder of the Jacksonville Carbon Neutral Initiative, a driving force behind the group's Springfield Community Garden on North Main Street, a member of the bicycle co-op also on North Main, and organizer of the annual Tangerine Festival in Riverside.

We talked with Ramsey on Monday:

Would you call yourself an environmental activist, or part of the "green" movement?

I wouldn't use either phrase, but I've been very active on local environmental issues, advocating policy toward more environmental sustainability. Do you not like the word "green?"

There's a lot of "green"-washing going around. That word is becoming pretty generic. I like the color, though. So sustainability better describes your focus?

Yes. I think sustainability goes beyond just environmentalism and goes into economic and community issues. What does the Jacksonville Carbon Neutral Initiative do?

When we started in January 2007, our goal was to get Mayor [John] Peyton to sign on to the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, which calls for a localized commitment to the standards of the Kyoto Protocol.

The mayor ended up signing it in summer 2007.

We then started mobilizing a group to get a greenhouse gas inventory for Northeast Florida, because it's really hard to address a problem if you don't know exactly what the problem is. That's been worked on at the city level, and the wheels are starting to turn. Tell me about the group's community garden.

Last summer we got the OK from the property owner. We've taken a pretty decrepit piece of property that was a huge eye-sore, a waste of land. …

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