Milwaukee Office of Environmental Sustainability

Erick Shambarger

The 13th annual Sustainability Summit begins Wednesday in Milwaukee.  It's taking place, for the first time, at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino in the Menomonee Valley.

This year’s theme is engaging community, business & academia in sustainable action.

The summit, which brings local, regional and national leaders to address a variety of sustainability-related topics, has a new director, Mark Felsheim.

Signs of sustainability are peppered across the City of Milwaukee landscape – from the exponential growth of the Bublr bike share business, to the wind turbine dominating the south shore skyline and an increase in solar panels blanketing rooftops in neighborhoods around town.

The City's director of environmental sustainability, Erick Shambarger, believes 2016 marks an important milestone.

City of Milwaukee Office of Environmental Sustainability

Milwaukee wants to be known as a city that embraces sustainability.

For five years, as head of Milwaukee's Office of Environmental Sustainability, Matt Howard was the face of those efforts. 

S Bence

As an orchard comes to life on 1st and Locust Street in Milwaukee, community and city partners focus on jobs for adults.

Planners want to funnel storm water into basements of razed houses. The spaces would be filled in, yet hold water, when the sewer system is overrun.

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Milwaukee residents can already raise hens and honey. Now a proposed zoning ordinance lays out how community gardeners can use empty lots to grow fruits and vegetables.

Todd Weiler, City of Milwaukee

The U.S. Department of Energy applauded Milwaukee recently for its energy-saving initiatives.

The City of Milwaukee released its sustainability plan - called ReFresh MKE - in July; now it is looking for ways to bring it to life. The online networking site Yelp is partnering with the City to get the word out through a series of events this week, running Monday, October 7 - Friday, October 11.

A crowd gathered Tuesday in a small plaza where the Milwaukee and Menomonee Rivers meet to celebrate the city's first sustainability plan.