Local Environmental Groups

 July 2010

by Cynthia Ruzzi

Summer’s in full swing and the barbeque has been well used through the season’s holidays – but I can’t shake my pending ‘empty nest syndrome’.  My last one is off to college in four weeks, 3 day, two hours and counting.  After years of sports and school functions, I’m wondering where a person like me will get my ‘social interaction fix’.  Luckily, a couple of friends and I have found a great solution, and one that helps our community too.

Since I’ve been volunteering in the environmental arena, I figured there may be a way to do some beneficial work and socialize at the same time. I’ve been able to accomplish this by joining several grassroots community groups in Central Contra Costa County. The groups I belong to support sustainable lifestyles and business practices. And what is really cool is that you can join these groups and participate in person, or via their websites.

One of the very first groups in our area to form was Sustainable Moraga http://www.sustainablemoraga.org/ They meet on a regular basis and tackle such issues as making recycling more convenient for problem products, like batteries and plastic bags.

Sustainable Lafayette http://sustainablelafayette.net came along next. This group of committed residents helps their community by educating businesses and residents on a variety of environmental topics.  Environmental practices are showcased through ‘Success Stories’ published on their website. Their involvement in the Lafayette Earth Day Festival and greening the Lafayette Art and Wine Festival are wonderful models for the rest of the County and beyond.

The inspiration that was gained from Sustainable Lafayette helped to motivate some local residents to form an even bigger alliance throughout the entire Contra Costa County. Sustainable Contra Costa (SCOCO)  http://sustainablecoco.ning.com/ formed in 2007, and looks to provide education and inspiration to help create and maintain sustainable communities. Last year they held their first annual Contra Costa Sustainability Awards Gala, which proved to be a huge success. So, this year they are gearing up for an even bigger awards event, which will be held on September 29th.  If you appreciate and admire the wonderful sustainable contributions of a Contra Costa business, friend or an organization, please nominate them for recognition!  You can access the nomination form by visitinghttp://sustainablecoco.org/projects.html.

Now there is a sustainability group in your neighborhood!  We launched Sustainable Danville Area in April and offer a monthly educational forum with topics as broad as ‘Native and Drought Tolerant Plants’, ‘Organic Wine Tasting’ or our August Forum; ‘FOOD: Organic, Local, Free-Range – What does it mean to you, your family and your community’.  You can visit our website www.sustainabledanvillearea.com to find out more about these events and other initiatives.  I hope you’ll join us.

All of these groups together form a wonderful way to exchange information and educate the public about issues that we’re all concerned about: waste reduction, energy conservation, and wellness. Even better, it’s a way to really connect with your community and make a difference, while making new friends.

Reprinted with permission from Danville Today News / Alamo Today News http://www.yourmonthlypaper.com/pdfs/DT/2010/DT.2010.Jul.full.pdf