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Clean Air Partnership recognizes local organizations for sustainable practices

The Transportation Management Association Group’s Clean Air Partnership of Williamson and Rutherford Counties recognized its partners at a luncheon Jan. 31.

“This is an opportunity to put a spotlight on the importance of sustainable steps that have a positive impact on our environment and our health,” said Julian Bibb, board chairman of the TMA Group, who emceed the event.

Established in 1988, TMA is a non-profit public-private partnership of business, governmental and community leaders who support a regional transportation system that provides a variety of transportation choices that are both healthy for the environment and for people.

“Our goal is for everyone, in every community, in every stage of life to have affordable and convenient travel options available to them,” according to TMA’s website.

“We feel strongly that each of our partners make an impact on the environment each day,” said Debbie Henry, TMA Group executive director, who announced the four winners of Outstanding Partner Awards: Brentwood High School, Embassy Suites, Franklin Tomorrow and the Lou Thompson Agency.

Brentwood High School, she said, created a program for students “to impact their community and the world.” Participants in the school’s environmental program created a field project in the Brentwood Arboretum.

Embassy Suites was recognized for sustainable practices and for incorporating a zero-emission Nissan Leaf limousine into the transportation fleet at its Cool Springs location.

Franklin Tomorrow was recognized for, among other initiatives, its Get Fit Franklin program with Blue Cross/Blue Shield program that encourages fitness through walking and running.

The Clean Air Partnership recognized the Lou Thompson Agency for “being a champion of all efforts to improve the environment,” Henry said.

Keynote speaker Thomas Flagel, historian and author, underscored the importance of the group’s mission of championing clean air.

“You can live for weeks without food and for days without water,” Flagel said. “But you can’t live four minutes without air.”

Flagel also said that today’s society in the United States is one that dubiously celebrates excess – a stark contrast to the culture that viewed rationing resources as a patriotic responsibility in the 1930s and ’40s. Flagel, who wrote a book titled “The History Buff’s Guide to World War II,” said silk stockings were the subject of recycling drives, as were aluminum, paper, rubber, iron, steel, and other resources needed to support American troops.

The government, he said, would build effigies of Adolph Hitler in town squares to encourage participation in metal drives.

“The made signs that said ‘Come throw your metal at Adolph,’” Flagel said.

Another government-sponsored initiative designed to save fuel included billboards and hand bills that featured the führer riding in the passenger seat of a convertible: “If you’re driving alone, you’re driving with Adolph.”

Flagel said the most successful component of conservation and rationing were the “victory gardens” that, by 1945, grew in the backyards of 18.5 million American homes.

By contrast, the average American home has 30 electric devices, he said. He also pointed to modern-day federal spending as an example of excess.

“In 1945, federal spending was $92 billion,” he said. “Now it’s $92 billion every nine days.”

Southern Exposure Magazine and the Williamson Herald were among the sponsors of the luncheon.

Posted on: 2/6/2013


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