The second annual EcoHero awards were awarded to the City of Santa Monica’s Solar Santa Monica and to SMC’s Academic Senate President, Richard Tahvildaran-Jesswein, at a ceremony on Earth Day at Santa Monica College’s (SMC) Center for Environmental and Urban Studies.Genevieve Bertone, SMC’s Sustainability Project Manager, told the Mirror the awards help “celebrate the partnership between SMC and the City of Santa Monica” which began in 2000. They each help fund the Center for Environmental and Urban Studies and Sustainable Works. The award presenters were last year’s winners. SMC Professor of Philosophy Amber Katherine stated in her remarks about Tahvildaran-Jesswein that “we are living through what some have called the ‘tipping point’ in the sustainability movement. On one side is the shortsighted business-as-usual model, on the other, a world of green alternatives designed to insure that the needs of the present can be met without jeopardizing the ability of those in the future to meet their needs. This is the sustainability model. And it is taking the world of higher education by storm!” Tahvildaran-Jesswein’s leadership in the Academic Senate has helped place SMC way out in front in the work of “greening the curriculum” and “institutionalizing sustainability.” Katherine also mentioned Tahvildaran-Jesswein’s work as a leader on SMC Strategic Planning Task Force that helped make sustainability a SMC Strategic Planning Initiative, and his efforts along with other campus leaders to make ecological literacy a part of SMC Global Citizenship Graduation Degree requirement. Shannon Perry, a Senior Environmental Analyst with the City of Santa Monica’s Office of Sustainability and the Environment, made the presentation to Solar Santa Monica. She stated the organization “has exhibited great leadership, created vision for energy independence and put a lot of sweat equity in our homes and on our roofs.” Solar Santa Monica wants to make Santa Monica a net zero energy community and once the City achieves this goal it will be able to generate all the power the City needs from our residential, commercial and industrial rooftops.In their first year, 2007, Solar Santa Monica doubled the City’s solar capacity and their second year more than 230KW of solar was installed. They have an additional 2.3MW of solar capacity in the pipeline to be installed.Perry also pointed out that, “Traditional energy production creates smog forming emissions, accelerates global climate change, contributes to public health epidemics such asthma and is rooted in an antiquated technology. Alternative energy sources, such as solar, are created from clean, renewable resources, reduce public health risks, and create new green jobs in our local economy.”
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