WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Going Green in Western Illinois

Macomb, IL – The keynote speaker for the Seventh Annual Environmental Summit at Western Illinois University says sustainability applies to every industry imaginable.

Ron Sherga is CEO and owner of Sher-Results LLC, which helps companies and organizations with recycling and sustainability issues.

"I sometimes do a session called 'Stump the Speaker.' Throw me any industry, any job that you think sustainability doesn't apply to and I'll show you how it does," says Sherga. "So I think it really has to do with the innovative thinking of companies. You're going to see massive job growth, especially overseas, and it's coming back here to our shores."

Sherga says green economies are being driven by the global economy.

Sherga is a WIU biology and geology graduate. He's designed or managed 12 recycling facilities. He says sustainability begins at the grassroots level and should be promoted with positive messages.

"I think too many environmental causes are supported by fear," says Sherga. "Let's talk (instead) about success."

Organizers of the Environmental Summit say it is held to promote environmentally sustainable values, lifestyles, and educational activities. It featured exhibits from numerous organizations and businesses, including Prairie Land Conservancy, the Food Initiatives Group, and Peace of Earth Lodge.

There was also a booth from a group trying to determine whether there is enough support for a local foods co-op in Macomb.

Panel discussions explored topics such as "What Should Ordinary Citizens Know About Sustainability?" and "Creating A Green Economy: What is the Role of Government?"

Tours of the new Multi-Cultural Center at WIU were provided during the day. The center is considered a "green" building.