Monday, April 18, 2011

Japanese Garden green generation mixer focused on “Redesigning CSULB, the renaissance of Long Beach and Southern California”

The beautiful Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden on the Long Beach CSU campus was the perfect setting for the third in a series of Student Sustainability Task Force (SSTF) green mixers designed to foster dialogue and collaboration to unite the campus and local community on issues of environmental sustainability that affect us all.

Held April 13, this prelude to Earth Week 2011 featured guest speakers spotlighting green efforts on and off campus and representing the city, the university, and other community groups. Jeanette Schelin, Director of the EBM Japanese Garden, and Tracy Gorden, Program Assistant at the Garden, presided over the event and introduced the speakers.

Whole Foods sustains local & ethical healthy food choices!

Adrienne Peters, the marketing supervisor at the Long Beach Whole Foods Market that sponsored this event, spoke about Whole Foods’ green mission and commitment to local healthy food and environmental sustainability. She introduced Whole Foods’ Health Starts Here program to help people make healthier food choices, and the store’s participation in Global Animal Partnership (GAP) which she described as “beyond organic.” GAP is a 5-Step animal welfare rating standard used to rate and certify meat producers based on their animal welfare practices.

Donnie Bessom, the SSTF Project Coordinator, asked Ms. Peters to consider bringing Whole Foods to campus because as he said,
 “right now food on campus is pretty bad.”
The snacks Whole Foods shared at the event were pretty good,
“Especially the cheese,” says the cheese lady*.
Green Long Beach! shines a spotlight on the green community!

Tiffany Chen, recent CSULB alumna, current sustainability assistant in the city’s Office of Sustainability, and co-Catalyst of Green Long Beach!, highlighted the evolution of the Green Long Beach! festival. First held in 2009, the festival attracted >1,000 attendees and 100 participants. The theme of this year’s festival is Ignite Change! and is expected to draw > 5,000 attendees and 400 participants. It will take place Saturday June 11, 2011 from 10 AM - 8 PM at The Promenade between Broadway and 3rd Streets.

City of Long Beach sees a greener future!

Larry Rich, who has worked for the city in various positions for 20 years, became one of the city’s sustainability commissioners in 2008 the year the Office of Sustainability was formed to develop and implement green initiatives throughout Long Beach. He describes himself as the most sustainable of the sustainability commissioners, since he is the only one of three remaining.  His office currently oversees 10 part time interns (8 who are paid) and 17 youth workers from the Workforce Development Bureau’s green jobs program.

In what Larry describes as a soft sell (of green awareness) some of the interns act as one-on-one field supervisors of the youth workers, working on projects such as planting native drought tolerant plants at city installations, and delivering mulch to vacant city lots as part of Project Mulch-A-Lot and to residential applicants as part of a new Mulch Delivery Program. In collaboration with West Coast Arborists, the Office of Sustainability diverts ~6,000 tons of green waste per year from the waste stream.

Larry explained that the city’s solid waste reduction program does not include green bins (such as are offered in neighboring San Pedro) because Long Beach has the largest of the only three California Southeast Resource Recovery Facilities (SERRF) where solid waste is burned for energy. This is considered diversion, not incineration.

CSULB facilities are green behind the scenes!

Jon Root, the campus manager of integrated waste management and waste services, spoke about the university’s recycling efforts that mostly go unseen. The mulching mowers used on 60 acres of campus turf divert ~400 tons a year of grass from the waste stream, The tree trimmings from the 7,200 trees on campus are saved and re-used in the landscape. The university’s recycling efforts include not only paper and plastic recycling (see these images from last year’s CSULB Earth Week fair) but also a scrap metal program and an Associated Students Recycling Center that is operated by student employees.

Long Beach Grows plans for local food security! Grow Beach!

Long Beach Grows promotes food security through urban agriculture. Donna Marykwas, the Executive Director of Long Beach Grows, spoke about her plans and vision for a Long Beach with at least one community farm co-operative per city wide district, where people can grow and harvest real food together while building community. Donna has gardened at various community gardens throughout the country since 1985, first at Cornell in upstate NY, then in Cambridge, MA, Lincoln, MA, and Long Beach, CA. Describing the major differences between typical community gardens versus community farm co-ops, she envisions truly cooperative sites where people share in the work, share the rewards of their efforts, and share the bounty with the community. There are over 100 families on a waiting list to grow food with Long Beach Grows. Donna expressed serious interest in growing food security through urban agriculture on the CSULB campus, preferably at the site where there once was a community garden in the past. She thinks that growing food for the present on the Native American Indian ancestors of the past is a way to honor, respect and preserve their connection to the land.

CSULB faculty designs green phones!

Department of Design Professor Wesley Woelfel spoke about design methods to divert cell phones from the e-waste stream, citing statistics that with 1.2 billion cell phones sold globally per year, only 10% of obsolete cell phones are e-cycled. This is the motivation for his life cycle analysis of ways to design sustainable cell phones. Some ideas that he and his students have come up with are to encourage the design of new phones that are modular, easier to repair, upgradable, and did I hear him say biodegradable? We’ll see.

Industrial designer dreams green transportation!

Max Beach, a founding partner of Impact Design Associates in Culver City, teaches part time at CSULB. He wowed the audience with a futuristic animated video that brought to life his dream of an alternative transportation system based on inductively charged solar-powered CSULB streetcars.

Go green!

Connect with the green community at the next mixer to be held Wednesday, May 4th, 4:30- 6:30 PM, also at the Japanese Garden.

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You might also be interested in Donna’s other work as  Long Beach Urban Agriculture Examiner, National Science News Examiner and founder and executive director of Long Beach Grows.

Copyright © 2011 Donna Marykwas*; All rights reserved.

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