SMC continues to work toward sustainability

Joan Walsh, Staff Writer

Environmental Studies students, as well as interested members of the community, crowded into a Bundy campus classroom this past Tuesday night for a talk on ideas for getting involved in improving the environment.

Sustainable Works, a non-profit environmental education organization located in Santa Monica, started off with a presentation by Genevieve Bertone, Coordination Project Manager.

Sustainable Works focuses on sustainability, resource efficiency, and community development.  They have specialized programs designed for the community, students, home residents, as well as businesses to educate and introduce greening programs to help instigate change amidst the public’s bad environmental habits and to adopt new strategies. Bertonepointed out that Santa Monica College was successful in implementing solar panels and was more environmentally friendly than many other college campuses.

Not only did she discuss statistics, but she also asked students their opinions and what their ideas were for changing the environment to be more sustainable for the future.  Many of the students had similar answers such as biking to school and taking the bus, but some recommended starting a meat free day to alleviate carbons, using kindles instead of books, and having more online classes offered to mitigate the traffic jams and pollution students cause commuting to school.

Justine Rembac, the Associated Students Director of Sustainability, encouraged involvement via student government. Rembac serves as a liaison between the A.S., Inter Club Council,, and the grounds department to facilitate compliance with Zero-waste policy as stated in the A.S. fiscal policy. The policy requires all club events at SMC to be Zero-waste, which means diverting 90 percent or more of the waste produced away from the landfill.

Two students who were involved in Environmental Campus groups in the Environmental Studies class gave suggestions on how to make SMC more ecologically sufficient. The Eco-action club,  organizes Earth Week and helps build community gardens. Marjonny Torres-Nativi, who runs Club Grow, does the community garden where students can grow their own food.

Their plan is to harvest a community garden on SMC’s campus which would be located near the art complex.  With an unsteady economy and the less fortunate events going on in the world, he feels that if you can still grow your own food, you’ll be all right.

A large discussion surrounded a potential suggestion box in which students at SMC can give and get information on how to better conserve.

Starting this week, Sustainable Works will begin their student programs, which have peer group meetings once a week for nine weeks.  The group is for individuals to learn better sustainable living through field trips, discussions, and community service.

Mr. Selby, an environmental studies professor, ended his presentation by stating that, “Americans really learned how to complain.  It’s tough to get anything done.  If you want to make a difference you have to become that difference.”

Selby explained how students aren’t that informed but given the right resources, could do something every day to be more environmentally conscious.

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