The local sustainability movement showed its strength despite the weakening economy at the first Sustainable Works (SW) fundraiser, held last Thursday, October 16, at the Bergamot Station Arts Center.
SW is a non-profit environmental education organization based in Santa Monica. Their primary goal is to promote sustainable practices in the urban environment through the education of residents, businesses, and students.
The festivities on October 16 included the presentation of the first Eco Star awards. One of the three recipients was the City’s Environmental Program Division Manager, Dean Kabani. He was recognized for creating the City of Santa Monica’s Sustainable Plan, for helping Santa Monica become a world leader in the sustainability movement, and for his work on the SW Advisory Board.
Also honored was Genevieve Bertone, the former Executive Director of SW, for helping the program grow, launching the SW website and database, and for her work as the Vice Chair of Santa Monica’s Sustainable City Task Force. Bertone is now the Sustainability Project Manager at Santa Monica College (SMC).
Lastly, SMC student Luis Suarez was recognized for his work in 2006 at the Center for Environment and Urban Studies where he helped produce the SMC Environmental Audit. This year he is an Associated Student Board Commissioner and is working on the organic garden project, creating a sustainability campaign and working with the SMC Sustainability Task Force to meet the goals of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment.
According to Bertone, about 150 people attended the fundraiser and at press time donations were still coming in. She noted to the Mirror that more important than raising money is “the non-monetary benefits of raising awareness about the organization and bringing the environmental community together to celebrate its success and future opportunities.”
SW’s Residential Greening Program meets once a week for six weeks at locations around Santa Monica. The program helps residents “become resource efficient, reduce and recycle solid waste, eliminate toxic chemicals, minimize transportation impacts, improve purchasing choices, and learn about Santa Monica’s Sustainable City Plan.”
The Student Greening Program trains students in the same sustainability concepts as the residential programs, but also encourages them to get involved in their community by requiring them to complete three hours of community service at various nonprofit organizations. It also helps them develop their leadership skills.
More information about SW can be found at sustainableworks.org or by calling 310.458.8716.