ROAR 4 Climate

Clearinghouse for Climate Change Action in Central Ohio
ROAR 4 Climate

ROAR 4 Climate

Clearinghouse for Climate Change Action in Central Ohio


The History of ROAR: An Intricate Evolution ROAR has its roots in an idea that emerged in the summer of 2017. Terry Hermsen, professor of English at Otterbein University, contacted a number of faculty at...

Climate Action Plan

ROAR, together with Sustainable Delaware Ohio has been working on a Climate Action Plan for the City of Delaware, Ohio in response to Delaware’ Comprehensive Plan. ROAR wants to present projects that will have a...

Local Resources

The effect of the presence of non-native plant species along stream ecosystems on the leaf-shredding organism Tipulae (Crane fly), academic paper co-authored by Stefanie Hauck, Marketing Director, ROAR. Final SLP Benthic group paperDownload


The History of ROAR: An Intricate Evolution

ROAR has its roots in an idea that emerged in the summer of 2017. Terry Hermsen, professor of English at Otterbein University, contacted a number of faculty at small colleges around central Ohio: Otterbein, Denison, Ohio Wesleyan (OWU), the Ohio State University-Marion, and the Methodist Theological School of Ohio (MTSO) to look toward ways our colleges might build collective action to address the climate crisis via cooperating with our respect small-size cities. Our model being the Oberlin Plan, we adopted the name of the Central Ohio Communities Project (COCP) and built communication over the coming fall toward a gathering at Stratford Ecological Center, on January 24th, 2018. We reached out to David Orr himself, who founded the Oberlin Project—who agreed to be our keynote speaker for that initial event and thus what has evolved into ROAR began. 

Our gathering that Saturday was so very beautiful. Faculty from both Otterbein and OWU cooperated in planning the activities and speakers. In addition to David Orr, we heard from Jeremy King, the Sustainability Director at Denison; Jim Reding, a high school teacher in Granville, who brought seven of his environmental studies students to present their community garden; Trish Demeter, Director of Energy at the Ohio Environmental Council; and Tim Van Meter, who highlighted the work in local food aggregation being fostered by Seminary Hill Farm at MTSO. We had attendees from many of the crucial environmental efforts in central Ohio: the sustainability coordinator from the Columbus Zoo, the director of Dawes Arboretum, the Environmental Professionals Director from OSU, education director from OEFFA, the head of the Electric Division for the city of Westerville and the Sustainability/Watershed Coordinator for the City of Delaware. We held World Café sessions, formed the beginning of working task forces, and pledged to continue our efforts into the following year. All 110 of the participants, packed into the Stratford Ecological Center, left enthralled as they walked out into the snow at the close of that inspiring day. A picture containing text, map

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It was beautiful… and then, very little happened. The task forces, being just formed that day, proved to be too ad-hoc and temporary. The only one that lasted was the Natural Areas Solutions group, which has continued to meet over the next two years and has shaped a wonderful website presentation that will be very useful for landowners—from schools to churches to individuals—for transforming their properties to create carbon sinks, such as wetlands, prairies, tree canopies, etc. But our hope was that all break-out sessions would result in such on-going efforts. We failed, however, to put in place the structure for such wide-ranging coordination to truly build into a vibrant, cross-area organization.

Second Stage

This meant the efforts of the Central Ohio Communities Project had to shift gears. We spent much of 2018-19 focusing on one community in our midst, the city of Delaware. Taking our cue from the internationally successful Transition Town movement, we held seven events in the city of Delaware, hoping to build a greater set of grassroots volunteers. These events consisted of:

  • A Watershed Walk, in September of 2018, where over 60 people  went creeking in the Delaware Run, a tributary of the Olentangy River,  to call attention to a stream that runs nearly invisibly through the city;
  • In October, we hosted a Climate Change talk by Lonnie Thompson, Distinguished University Professor in the School of Earth Sciences and a Research Scientist at the Ohio State University’s Byrd Polar Center, to a packed house of 85 people at the Andrews House in downtown Delaware. Thompson updated everyone on climate research using data from ice cores gathered from around the world and they learned about the realities of the climate emergency we are facing as an earth; 
  • November’s event was a showing of the Transition Town movement’s “Transition 2.0” film, which was followed by a community discussion of “what can we do to respond?” And which resulted in the beginning of task forces via which we hoped to create a Climate Action Plan for the city.
  • For a Winter Solstice event in December, also held at the Andrews House, where we showed a section of “The Economics of Happiness” and discussed the dreams we all had for creating a more ecologically-sound and community-based world;
  • We followed this in January with a “Dreaming a Greener Delaware” event, where people envisioned what they would like Delaware to look like in 20 years, if we truly addressed the climate crisis before us. A rodent looking at the camera

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  • On Groundhog Day—February 2, 2019—we held our Second Working Summit at Stratford, hearing about efforts similar to ours in Athens, Ohio, and a micro-farm initiative in Mansfield. Here we set up stronger task forces, with the mission that they shape the Climate Action Plan we’d been after all along.
  • From February through May, we worked on that plan, and had it much in place by June of 2019, spending the summer fine-tuning some of its details and presenting it to the City Manager of Delaware on September 4, 2019. 

Third Stage

All those efforts, focused on Delaware, were a microcosm for what we’d like to make happen in the central Ohio as a whole, which is where our original goals lay. We felt that if we could get some success in one community, we’d be in a better state to take our effort regional. And that is where our third stage—if you will—has brought us. For even while our efforts in Delaware were unfolding, in the spring of 2019, we began reaching out to other stakeholders in Columbus, Licking County, Ohio Environmental Council, etc., to develop a what we at first called a “Regional Hub for Climate Change Action, Energy Transformation and Small Town Resurgence”. 

In the beginning, our gatherings we small. A group of 8-10 folks met for an hour after an EPN breakfast in January of 2018, kicking around the idea of Regional Hub of this kind. Chuck Lynd from Simply Living attended, along with Jason Cervenec from the Byrd Polar Center; Cathy Cowan Becker from the Sierra Club’s Ohio Chapter attended, along with David Celebrezze from the Columbus Sustainability Office, along with several others. We followed that up with a similarly small gathering after a Sustainability Summit at OSU in February—and decided at that time that there was enough interest to begin meeting regularly. A group of 6-9 planners began conferring via Zoom bi-weekly for the next two months, resulting in holding a Working Summit at Ohio Wesleyan University on June 26, 2019. We had over 65 attendees, from all over central Ohio, and met in small groups to begin shaping what the Hub might become. 

The notes from our June 26 meeting were then shaped into the beginnings of the vision you now hold in your hands. A vision that began over two years ago—and is now ready to be launched over the next six months. It’s taken much longer than any of us at first imagined, but the idea has blossomed in exciting ways that has drawn in more stakeholders and more secure plans for action. 

See Appendix XX of Event Posters. 

The Need

Our history over the past two- and-a half years leads us to the conclusion that there is a deep need in the central Ohio area for a coordinated action plan uniting the various stakeholders and initiatives already underway. We drew people to the original Working Summit with David Orr because of that “felt need” among so many of the people who attended. And the same can be said for our productive gatherings in Delaware over the next year, as well as our “Envisioning a Regional Hub” gathering at OWU in June of 2019. People came because they supported the idea of uniting our efforts. On the worksheets from the day, they over and over made comments such as the following, in answer to what function such the Hub would serve:

  • A convener to promote collaboration >> Coordination among diverse advocates >> Aligning goals at a regional level
  • An incubator for developing new ideas/initiatives
  • A clearinghouse of expertise. Local leaders lack expertise, but we don’t!
  • Provide an access point to other experts, be willing to help others
  • With a regional hub, we can show that climate change affects different agendas and aspects of life (food, energy, transportation, etc.) expand our thoughts on climate change and communities, too
  • Push plans forward that already exist! 
  • There needs to be an impetus on developing and implementing actionable items.
  • Connecting research to critical community needs 
  • Help with connections and developing multiple benefits/partners for projects
  • Ability to grow programming outside of Columbus 
  • Pick a specific topic for this group >> Climate Action
  • Collective action / experience sharing
  • A place to bring together different discourses & expertise – scientific, data, economic, policy & humanities
  • Groups with different areas of expertise will have easier access to each other, making education of the community easier as well as the advancement of interdisciplinary cooperation. 
  • It can serve as a Clearinghouse for information, resources (speakers, grants, loans, etc.); a Catalyst—growing the scale and effectiveness of our community, efforts to become more sustainable and address climate change & other environmental issues; a Conduit for vetting, coordinating and promoting solutions
  • The Hub could create a calendar for Central Ohio to provide focus for study-initiative-action on key climate action items. Each theme/initiative would be established & added to a dashboard, so each of the 12 key areas would show individual/group action. Help overcome the intention//action gap. Would need marketing to make this work. 
  • Creating a repository/database of information regarding all the different projects, initiatives, plans, organizations, etc. that are working on or addressing issues of sustainability, conservation, and climate change; establish a network of experts and stakeholders that can be utilized to expedite the process of starting new projects or advancing existing ones (i.e. identify resources that can be used to move from conversations to actions); Diversity of organizations/people involved can show that there are benefits of addressing climate change and sustainability that go beyond environmental. Can show that economic, health, and social benefits are possible, and use that to frame these issues differently.
  • Top priorities MUST make significant emissions reductions.
  • It needs to be outside municipal or governmental structures to be able to push for action 
  • It can draw on a range of policy experts that can assist with development of ideas and vet policy recommendations

The authors of these insights include a wide range of experts themselves: Brooke White, Air Quality Specialist for MORPC; Geoff Dipre, one of the key developers of the Byrd Polar Center’s Climate Adaptation Plan for Columbus; Alana Schockey, Sustainability Director for the City of Columbus; Randi Leppla, Energy Attorney for the Ohio Environmental Council; Paul Eisenstein, Academic Dean for Otterbein University; along with others. Their comments—from which this list is a mere sampling–indicate the great need that people in that room—and beyond—have long seen as a weakness amongst all the great efforts happening in our area. In order to be as effective as possible, a region as large and diverse as ours needs a means of linking what needs to happen to build truly sustainable practices. The eight-county area around Cincinnati (which includes northern Kentucky and southeastern Indiana) has Green Umbrella to look toward for such coordination; the counties surrounding Athens in the southeastern part of the state looks toward Rural Action for that same function. Those of us committed to making this Hub work effectively see it as a fulfilling that same deep need in the counties surround Columbus. 

February 2020: LEAP Summit at Stratford Ecological Center

Next World Conversations: The Climate & COVID Convergence

January 7 @ 8 p.m. via ZOOM Registration link:  Meeting ID823 5378 8602  Security Passcode  030025 Read More "Next World Conversations: The Climate & COVID Convergence"

Next World Conversations: The Granville Land Lab

November 19 @ 8 p.m. via ZOOM November 19, 2020 / 8:00 – 9:00, with 9:00 – 9:30 for extended conversation What will the... Read More "Next World Conversations: The Granville Land Lab"

An Economy That Works For All

ROAR's fifth virtual Next World Conversation on Oct. 22 at 8 p.m. is focused on what the next economy will look like. Please join us... Read More "An Economy That Works For All"

Global Warming’s Six Americas in 2020

Today, the Alarmed (26%) outnumber the Dismissive (7%) nearly 4 to 1. More than half (54%) of Americans are either Alarmed or Concerned, while the Doubtful and Dismissive are only 18% of the population. However, because conservative media organizations prominently feature Dismissive politicians, pundits and industry officials, most Americans overestimate the prevalence of Dismissive beliefs among other Americans. Read More "Global Warming’s Six Americas in 2020"

Climate Action Plan

ROAR, together with Sustainable Delaware Ohio has been working on a Climate Action Plan for the City of Delaware, Ohio in response to Delaware’ Comprehensive Plan. ROAR wants to present projects that will have a carbon offset for the region.

We plan to follow models from other cities in Ohio and to incorporate sustainability goals from the United Nations as well as goals from Mid Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC)

More work is ahead, so stay tuned for updates…

The Climate Action Committee, a community-based group created by Oberlin’s City Council, developed the 2013 Climate Action Plan as a roadmap for transitioning to a climate positive community. You can find more information on The Oberlin Project website.

Cleveland has done a wonderful job with their Climate Action Plan. Inspiring and a great example!

In 2015, the city of Athens sustainability commission launched a public process in order to create a sustainability plan for the city. The final draft of the plan was presented to Athens City Council on March 13, 2017. The plan is designed to support local sustainability initiatives and to encourage both residents and the city administration to move towards sustainability. Click here to read the 2018 Sustainability Plan Update. The first edition can be reviewed by clicking here.

Since they are practically neighbors, we are also looking at Dublin, OH Sustainability Framework.

MORPC has been working with municipalities in the region using their Sustainable2050 accredation program.

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) are a critical part of a global reduction in CO2 emissions to keep the cumulative global CO2 levels from rising and more importantly, to limit the global temperature rise to below 1.5 Celsius. The SDGs are a collection of 17 global goals designed to be a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all”. The SDGs, set in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly and intended to be achieved by the year 2030, are part of UN Resolution 70/1, the 2030 Agenda. We’re figuring our way through the maze… >>READ ROADMAP SDG




Ohio EPA

Transition Towns

Global Warming’s Six Americas in 2020

Today, the Alarmed (26%) outnumber the Dismissive (7%) nearly 4 to 1. More than half (54%) of Americans are either Alarmed or Concerned, while the Doubtful and Dismissive are only 18% of the population. However, because conservative media organizations prominently feature Dismissive politicians, pundits and industry officials, most Americans overestimate the prevalence of Dismissive beliefs among other Americans. Read More "Global Warming’s Six Americas in 2020"

Local Resources

The effect of the presence of non-native plant species along stream ecosystems on the leaf-shredding organism Tipulae (Crane fly), academic paper co-authored by Stefanie Hauck, Marketing Director, ROAR.


Next World Conversations: The Next World of Energy

Our third Next World Conversation will be how we can shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy, both here around Ohio and nationally in the post COVID-19 era. This month’s presenters are Jon-Paul d’Aversa, Senior Energy Consultant for Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC), and Randi Leppla, Vice President of Energy Policy for the Ohio Environmental Council (OEC). Please bring your ideas and questions.

After a 20-30 minute conversation between Jon-Paul and Randi, we will open the floor to all of us, seeking ways to take this further. Once again, Anna Willow, Professor of Environmental Anthropology at OSU-Marion, will serve as our moderator.

Please register in advance for this meeting:  

Speaker bios:

Jon-Paul d’Aversa, AICP
Senior Energy Planner
Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission

As the Country’s first dedicated energy planner at the metropolitan planning organization level, Jon-Paul d’Aversa designs and leads energy initiatives for the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission. Through the Franklin County Energy Study, the Local Government Energy Partnership, and the Clean Energy Acceleration Program, his work is focused on the intersection of equity, the economy, and the environment.

Jon-Paul brings nearly a decade of energy planning and sustainability experience to MORPC. Half of this time was spent at the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, where Jon-Paul led the 2015 New York State Energy Plan and crafted the New York State 2030 goals for energy efficiency, renewable energy and emissions. His analyses supported the creation of the Reforming the Energy Vision Proceedings, the New York Green Bank, and the Microgrid Consortium.

With MORPC, Jon-Paul’s work incorporates an additional focus on transportation issues. He led MORPC’s role in the designation of an Alternative Fuel Corridor stretching from Cleveland to Cincinnati, has been assisting Smart Columbus’ electrification initiatives, and has used his macroeconomic and social justice expertise to support the case for cleaner fuels in the transportation sector. In 2021, MORPC will be releasing a suite of new energy programming for members, furthering local government capacity to be good stewards of Central Ohio’s future

Miranda Leppla
Vice President of Energy Policy and Lead Energy Council
Ohio Environmental Council

As the OEC’s Vice President of Energy Policy and Lead Energy Counsel, Miranda works to advance clean energy and energy efficiency policies and projects, works with utilities and businesses to create and implement plans for carbon pollution reductions, and advance forward-thinking, cutting-edge energy policies through advocacy, communications, partnerships, and litigation. She represents the OEC at the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, the Ohio Power Siting Board, and courts throughout the State of Ohio in legal cases pertaining to energy issues.


You are invited to Next World Conversations

You are invited to Next World Conversations

We hope that you are healthy and safe and we are excited to invite you to our first Next World Conversation!

Please join us as we facilitate a series of conversations about the change we wish to see (and be). In the face of interlinked challenges including climate change, pandemics, and systemic racism, a new vision of the future is needed. Our systems are breaking down and we are searching for and re-visioning what our future could look like. This series will address systems such as food, energy, education, democracy, health – major systems that impact our quality of life.

This month, we address our food system. COVID-19 and the associated lockdowns created an unprecedented challenge to our food industry as a whole – from farms to grocery stores to restaurants. The food system broke down at the height of the pandemic and basic necessities were unavailable for weeks, shining a light on how broken our long-distance food supply chain is.

We want to discuss many aspects of our food system and how they impact our climate and culture. You are invited to post questions about regenerative farming, the food supply chain, veganism, homesteading, and other food topics of interest. For example, many people who were quarantined decided to grow their own food on whatever corner of land they had available in a grassroots ‘Victory Garden’ movement. It seems that sourcing food closer to where we live is the way to a more resilient future. Or is it? Come with your concerns and ideas and explore how you can be part of the change.

Local Food and the Future of Agriculture

Join Us on Thursday June 25 @ 7:30 PM via Zoom

Tim Van Meter, Associate Professor in the Alford Chair of Christian Education and Youth Ministry (MTSO),
Coordinator of Ecological Initiatives
Kip Curtis, Assistant Professor Environmental History (OSU Food Innovation Center)
Conversation Facilitator: Anna Willow, Profession Environmental Anthropology (OSU)

Pre-Register HERE to join the ZOOM Meeting (registration only required once)

Please forward this email to someone that should join this conversation.

This conversation will be a facilitated dialogue between two leaders in the field of agriculture and food, followed by a conversation with you, the audience. We will record the event and create a published compilation that helps to track our progress and inspire other regions to host their own Next World Conversations.

We look forward to seeing you on Zoom!

The ROAR Team.

Next World Conversations hosted by Regional Ohio Action for Resilience - June: Local Food and the Future of Agriculture

A few curated article links and organizations on the topic of food.

The Conversation: It’s time to rethink the US disrupted food system from the ground up.
Richland Source: Urban Farm Project a Growing Success in Mansfield
The Guardian: Meat-free future? Corona virus exposes America’s fragile food system
Civil Eats: Struggling Farmers are Selling Midwest Hogs Ad-hoc and online
Food Tank: 21 Individuals and Organizations Building Stronger Black Communities and Food Systems

Black Chuck Food Security Network
Lexicon of Sustainability


The Next World

A Call for Shaping the Next World

So much has happened in the last two months! How can any of us digest it? With so many people deeply suffering, and the loss of so much life and so many livelihoods, it’s hard to know how to conscientiously and productively respond.

Many of us have been asking–individually and collectively: What will the Next World be like? How can we use our full energies to shape that world? How can we do two things at once: First, help those who are most impacted by the COVID-19 crisis restore stability to their lives, while secondly shaping a new world that is more equitable, and more true to the realities of the earth we live on?

As a clearinghouse for such ideas and information, ROAR is providing a list of local activities that address climate change directly and indirectly in our section called Local Resources. In addition, ROAR surveyed an array of key theorists and activists–both local and national–who are striving to answer those fundamental questions. Below is our list of the Top Ten Articles for restructuring the economy, fostering strong climate change action, and addressing inequities as we shape that next world.

Please have a look at these articles and resources and keep your eyes out for the next activity: ROAR will host a series of Next World Conversations in late May and June which will lead to deliberate action for the Central Ohio region.

More to come… In the meantime, stay in touch. You can post comments with YOUR ideas for building the NEXT WORLD on this article on our website or on Facebook.

Terry Hermsen, ROAR


Earth Day at Home – ways to celebrate the 50th anniversary virtually

Wednesday, April 22 is the 50th commemoration of Earth Day. It is a day to reflect on the past 50 years of starts and stops, successes and failures. It is a day to reflect on where we are, where we’ve been and more importantly where we want to go from here. With the emergence of zoonotic diseases such as H1N1, H1N5, SARSv1 and now SARSv2 or COVID-19, the need for reflection, to look inward, to take a breath and meditate amid the storm is sorely needed so we may move forward proactively, thoughtfully, mindfully and with determination as there is no more time to waste. The tipping point has passed and the time to act is now. And a precedent is unveiling itself right now. This pandemic has shown that we can collectively stop polluting our air, water and lands and the results are almost instantaneous. Dolphins are swimming in the empty canals of Venice, dense air pollution has given way to clear blue skies and wildlife is thriving in closed national and regional parks. Here are some virtual events that will inspire us as we take stock in where we are on Earth Day 2020. #EarthDayAtHome

MAD Scientists invasive species removal and prairie planting

MAD Scientist Associates will be planting native woodland wildflowers at Westerville’s Boyer Nature Preserve. Plant material is supplied by a Scioto Gardens as well as being salvaged from a development site. The event will be live-streamed on Instagram and Facebook between 10 am and 2 pm.


Earth Day at the Columbus Zoo

Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of #EarthDay and join us to “Chill out With Polar Bears!” This Wednesday, April 22, the Zoo invites you to tune in to a special celebration through the Tundra Connections® webcast series, presented by our conservation partner, Polar Bears International, and Discovery Education.

Tom Stalf, President and CEO of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, and Devon Sabo, one of our expert polar bear keepers, will also be joining Kyle Schutt from Discovery Education and Dr. Thea Bechshoft from Polar Bears International for special sessions that will include important facts about polar bears and how we can help protect this amazing species.

Join in LIVE at 11 a.m. (eastern) online at for a session tailored for elementary education and 2 p.m. (eastern) for a session geared toward secondary education. The videos will also be available for viewing on Polar Bears International’s website ( after the broadcast.

Plus, be sure to submit a question either by using the chat window on their Tundra Connections page ( or email them to For more information, visit:


OEC is celebrating Earth Day with a virtual contest 

The OEC Emerging Leaders Council challenges you to #QuaranGreen with us, as we virtually celebrate Earth Day 2020! From April 19 through April 25, join us in practicing #SustainableDistancing by playing Earth Day Bingo on Instagram and Facebook. Show your friends and family your love for the Earth by completing actions, checking off your Bingo squares, and posting to your story. If you cover your board, you’ll be entered into a raffle to win your choice of fun and environmentally-friendly prizes.


Ohio Wesleyan is hosting a virtual Earth Week

Activities everyday from April 19-25. Link here:


Virtual global and national Earth Day events

Citizens’ Climate Lobby Uniting From Home with Katharine Hayhoe

Center for Biological Diversity #SavingLifeOnEarth

Earth Institute’s Earth Day 50/50: Looking Back, Moving Forward

Earth Day Live 2020 – 3 Day Livestream 24 Hours of Action

The World After Corona – Globalisation, Risk and the Future

We Don’t Have Time Earth Day Week Conference

Earth Day Virtual Fest on Facebook

A Message From Earth Day’s First Organizer

NASA’s Earth Day Toolkit – Resources and Activities

NASA #EarthDayAtHome

American Museum of Natural History Earthfest

Earth Challenge Citizen Science Initiative

EarthX Virtual Conferences Events and Films

Warming Waters Virtual Earth Day Celebration

Virtual Village of Connection Fire Side

Global Warming’s Six Americas in 2020

Today, the Alarmed (26%) outnumber the Dismissive (7%) nearly 4 to 1. More than half (54%) of Americans are either Alarmed or Concerned, while the Doubtful and Dismissive are only 18% of the population. However, because conservative media organizations prominently feature Dismissive politicians, pundits and industry officials, most Americans overestimate the prevalence of Dismissive beliefs among other Americans.

What We Do

The Regional Ohio Action for Resilience brings together community groups, concerned citizens, religious leaders, social justice leaders, non-profits, businesses, educational institutions and governmental entities to collaboratively create a more resilient region.

We like to get our hands dirty, planting the seeds of change and watching them grow. ‘Seeds’ can be ideas or projects just waiting for the right people to guide them.