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Green Briefs
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New MPC website boosts ridesharing

As part of its Connecting Savannah Master Plan, the Metropolitan Planning Commission is partnering with two of the city’s largest employers, Memorial Health and St. Joseph’s/Candler, to start a web-based ridesharing program to ease traffic, pollution, and fuel costs.

The “Coastal Commuters” program at — still under construction as we go to press — will enable people to post trip descriptions and get others with similar transportation needs to carpool.

“While work trips are not the majority of trips, they are the most regularly occurring and most predictable,” says the MPC’s Jane Love. “It’s more feasible for carpooling.”

The site will have a “commute calendar” feature, whereby carpoolers as well as bikers and public transport users can see how much money they’re saving and how many emissions are being reduced by their choices.

“There are a lot of benefits to promoting public transportation,” says Love. “There are environmental benefits, benefits to those who can’t afford a car, and there’s a benefit to mobility in general if congestion can be reduced by reducing the number of single-occupany vehicles on the road.”

While Memorial and St. Joe’s/Candler are the anchor participants, Love emphasizes that the MPC will be reaching out to other employers in the city as well, and that everyone is welcome to participate.

“If we’re going to set up ridematching we’ll make it available to anyone,” she says. “There’s no reason not to reach out to other employers.”

GreenDrinks unveils networking site

Using a typically Savannahian formula of high-mindedness and a good party, GreenDrinks seeks to bring sustainability-minded locals together to build ritical mass in the community. Since the group’s debut last October, the monthly meetings of GreenDrinks Savannah have grown to about 150 people per event.

Now the face-to-face group moves to the world of social networking with a new website. The Firefox-optimized operates much like MySpace or Facebook, with member profiles, forums, and blogging capabilities.

GreenDrinker Todd Luger, along with design partner Aaron Pompei, developed the site and believe it can take the group to the next level.

“People seem really excited about it,” Luger says. “When they sign up, I often get a message telling me what a great idea this is and the potential they think it has. It’s been really gratifying. You never really know how some wild idea that sounds great inside your own head is really going to resonate with others.”

McDonald leaves HSF

Longtime Historic Savannah Foundation Executive Director Mark C. McDonald will become new president of the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation effective June 1.

“While I’ll miss living and working on a daily basis with dear friends in Savannah, due to the nature of the Trust’s work I’ll continue to be active in Savannah and the other historic Georgia cities and towns,” said McDonald.

W. John Mitchell, president and chairman of Historic Savannah Foundation said, “Mark has set a high standard as our executive director and we will miss him greatly. At the same time, we are glad for him and wish him all the best. Our executive committee has already met to strategize about filling his shoes, as big as they are, and we will do so as soon as possible – but selectively.”

McDonald has been executive director of Historic Savannah Foundation since 1998. At the Georgia Trust, he succeeds Interim President Ray Christman, who took on the leadership role after Greg Paxton stepped down in January after 26 years of service.

New issue of Drain keys on sustainability

The locally-based Drain: Journal of Contemporary Art and Culture at has devoted its new edition to green issues.

Edited by Adrian Parr and Michael Zaretsky, Drain this month features what a spokesperson calls “the mounting protest against environmental exploitation and social injustices.

This issue features the work of environmental artist Janet Laurence and a feature essay by Julia Cole, chair of Interdisciplinary Arts at the Kansas City Institute, and Jim Sheppard, assistant professor of Philosophy and Public Policy at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.