Celebrating Local Connections

April 2011

By Cynthia Ruzzi

This year there’s definitely truth in the old phrase, ‘March, in like a lion and out like a lamb’.  This past month started out ferocious and I’m not just talking about the weather.  Beyond local economic woes, Americans have witnessed the unprecedented impact of social networking as the international voices of oppressed masses fight for the liberties that we so often take for granted.

Over the last two months, we watched with sorrow the vivid details of the catastrophic earthquakes in Christchurch, New Zealand, Myanmar and Honshu, Japan.  Some are moved to help, like Laura Valvassori, Shannon Kong and Jen Ramano who are organizing a community garage sale to buy shelter boxes (www.shelterboxes.org) for relief efforts in Japan, while other loving people find themselves paralyzed by the onslaught of these misfortunes.

We struggle to explain to our children the irony of celebrity lifestyles verses the lives of global friends devastated by natural and manmade tragedy.  And we wonder whether we will be prepared for the next ‘big one’ – where ever in the world it may occur.

I don’t know about you, but spring couldn’t come any sooner.  This time of renewal is a perfect opportunity to assess what matters most to us and our families and to decide how to consciously ‘live’ forward.  Maybe you’re wondering where to get started.  While mom always said it was best to start with breakfast, you may be better served by keeping in mind a term my yoga teacher, Leena St. Michael shared – ACE: Act with kindness, make an effort to Connect and lead by Example.

Conscious living is what led me to make ‘every choice count’ and to live more sustainability.  So what is sustainability all about?  Simply stated, sustainability is about meeting present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

I can’t believe it was just a year ago that I was searching for local recommendations for sustainable living for my family.  Talking with friends Darlene Gayler and Tracy Bauer, we were inspired to start Sustainable Danville Area (www.sustainabledanville.com) to encourage sustainable practices by facilitating eco-educational programs in the Danville Area.  We are not the ‘Green Police’; instead we’re a local group interested in exploring and learning how to live and work sustainably in our community. We definitely don’t have all the answers, but along the way we have found great resources, made wonderful connections and learned from our mistakes – hopefully making it easier for our neighbors who want to jump aboard.
We are fulfilled by the community of people (students, teachers, parents, business owners, civil leaders and more) that have demonstrated their interest in supporting our efforts and making Every Choice Count!  As part of our latest program, Sustainable Danville Area is working with the Discover Danville Association and more than twenty Danville Area Sustainable Businesses to host April’s Spring Fling. Come join us for eco-friendly activities every Thursday and Saturday throughout the month of April.  We have activities planned to entice the curiosity of young and younger with bike-to-lunch specials, solar cooking demos, decorating with eco-friendly items, tips on green building (check out the Green Dog House from Gayler Construction), composting and the wonderful world of worms, edible gardening, eco-fashions, recycled art projects, music and much more. You’ll find a full calendar on the Discover Danville website (www.discoverdanvilleca.com).

And to celebrate the journey of our first year, please join Sustainable Danville Area for an organic and sustainable wine tasting at The Vine (www.thevineatbridges.com) on Thursday, April 21 at 6pm. $15.

Visit www.sustainabledanville.com for details on the shelter box garage sale, Spring Fling events and Danville Area Sustainable Businesses.

Reprinted with permission from Danville Today News/Alamo Today News