The Institute for Sustainable Communities ( organized the Gulf Coast Sustainable Economies Leadership Academy to revitalize the economies of smaller, predominantly low-income Gulf communities.

20 community teams focused on economic development in the areas of energy efficiency, renewable energy, and ecological restoration.

Native Louisianan Jerome Ringo—former Chairman of the National Wildlife Federation and President of the Apollo Alliance, who now heads GreenPort—keynoted the workshop, inspiring participants to think big when it comes to rebuilding their communities.

“We have an opportunity to change ground zero. When it comes to impacts, the south is ground zero—we face the impacts and are the most resilient people in America,” said Ringo. “But how do we get up and create new opportunity?

“I believe that our greatest opportunity toward energy independence, toward a cleaner environment, and toward economic stability, is in sustainability. It’s in education. It’s in training. It’s in conservation. But it’s going to require each and every one of us to have a willingness to engage everyone, and help America be America once again.”

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