"Area governments, higher-education institutions and others have pledged to make the region a better place to live, work and play by signing the Southwest Michigan Regional Sustainability Covenant.
The Kalamazoo-Battle Creek sustainability covenant, similar to one Grand Rapids enacted in 2006, commits governments, businesses, hospitals, colleges and others to work to address the environmental, economic and social issues.
The covenant was unveiled Wednesday at the Kalamazoo Public Schools' Edison Environmental Science Academy at a meeting with the Kalamazoo Gazette and Battle Creek Enquirer editorial boards, and later during a news conference."
There have been rumors of a covenant floating around in Kalamazoo Leadership circles and I'm happy to see that regional collaboration has produced something substantial. However, major questions still remain before the covenant can be seem as effective and productive on a level that achieved in other regions such as Grand Rapids.
The first point of interest whether its broad statement will translate into tangible results. I believe that it will generate progress in a positive direction for the communities involved.
However, my greatest concerns still lie in the regions lack of initiative to hire locally and involve people in poverty into the process. As many are unaware of, there are a great number of impoverished communities in Southwest Michigan that will need to benefit from a community covenant.
We need to make sure these disadvantaged populations are part of the progress, and that when it is the time and place to develop new industry in the region that we do so with local labor and hire in disadvantaged populations. Only then can the true dream of a prosperous Southwest Michigan be realized in the level that our citizens want it to be.