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Charlotte Makes Sustainability Possible

New South City Embraces Environment

CHARLOTTE, NC -- (Marketwire) -- 08/15/12 -- This year's drought is impacting many communities across the United States. In previous years, the rains skipped Charlotte and dry conditions prevailed. This year has been a reversal, yet conservation efforts started in drier times have laid the path for several sustainability initiatives. Charlotte's tree-lined streets present cathedral-like drives wherever you go, a community treasure that's actively managed. While shrouded by trees, the city's community-based approach to living sustainably is another aspect of environmentalism, of which the new light rail system, expanded greenways and new farmers' markets are part of the evolving history.

With a tree canopy that makes up 46% of total land coverage, Charlotte has one of the highest quality and most extensive tree canopies in the nation. City employees and local volunteers plant about 10,000 trees per year and are aiming to increase that number to 25,000 trees per year. Don McSween, City Arborist for Charlotte, monitors the health of the city's dense tree canopy.

"We have approximately 180,000 street trees along 2,500 miles of streets in Charlotte within the city limits. And of those 180,000 (trees), we've inventoried 150,000 so we know the size, condition, species," said McSween. "So many of the citizens appreciate our tree canopy and realize how important it is to our city. It's the natural resource that we have that makes it attractive, a good environment for people to live in, it helps to shade our environment, trap pollutants. Often times you have people that move in from other parts of the country and one of the first things they say is, 'I can't believe the trees.'"

Shannon Binns founded Sustain Charlotte in 2009 to help make Charlotte the most sustainable city in the country. The effort brings government officials, business leaders and citizens together on sustainable initiatives that advance Charlotte's economic vitality, social equity and environmental quality. Charlotteans point with pride to evidence that the Queen City is becoming a more sustainable place to live every day, including the Lynx Light Rail system, the 7th Street Market where local farmers can bring their harvest to sell year round, and the restoration of Little Sugar Creek Greenway.

"It's incredibly rewarding and gives me a lot of optimism what we can create here in Charlotte by all of the people who have now come to the table. Sustainability is such as good thing for any community, from an economic point-of-view, a social point-of-view, and an environmental point-of-view," said Binns.

About Charlotte
Charlotte is a world-class city that will host the 2012 Democratic National Convention. Yet there is much more to this city. Charlotte is home to a great quality of life and is an amazing place to live, work, play and visit. From sports to the arts, from outdoor adventures to culinary delights, this progressive city is home to an excellent airport, phenomenal weather and a can-do attitude. To learn more about aspects of Charlotte, visit http://charlottein2012.com/charlotte/stories/.

More Information
For more on Charlotte's tree canopy, visit http://charmeck.org/
For more on Sustain Charlotte, visit http://sustaincharlotte.org/home/sustain_charlotte-home.php
For more of the Carolina Stories Series, visit http://charlottein2012.com/

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Winn Maddrey
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