Reporting: Rabbit Zielke
During the recent conference on Local Initiatives in Climate Protection and Renewable Energies in Germany and the US representatives from four cities in Germany met with their counterparts from American Sister Cities. The dialogue brought together urban planners, journalists, and experts in sustainable practices to share successful projects and ideas that promote sustainable practices and help municipalities reduce their carbon footprint.
Chattanooga was the host city for the conference and part of the conversation was on innovative programs in Chattanooga’s sister city of Hamm Germany. Tobias Garske presented information on a program that inspires couples to add to the forest by planting a wedding tree. The Wedding Forests of Hamm Germany have been growing since 1995 when the old custom of couples planting trees to obtain a marriage license was revived. Participation in the project is voluntary but hundreds of couples gather twice yearly to plant their wedding tree in the forest to grow along with their love.
Hamm Germany also initiated a program within the city to encourage alternative transportation. A family volunteered to spend one year without the use of their automobile and use public transportation or bicycles every day.
The Transatlantic Sister City and Media Dialogue was sponsored by the German Embassy. The Ecologic Institute facilitated the dialogue with representatives from eight different cities sharing concepts and ideas to promote climate protection and renewable energy.
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