Sustainable Works Lecture Kicks Off Environmental Series

Turn this off. Recycle that. Compost this. Energy efficiency all-the-way. Although it has become undoubtedly clear how important it is to get cracking on saving our planet's resources, many believe that the strategy for approaching the problem has become daunting and seemingly impossible.

Sustainable Works at Santa Monica College's Center for Environmental and Urban Studies has found ways to make environmentally conscious lifestyles more palatable and even fun.

At the SMC Bundy Campus in Room 123 on Feb. 23, the Center for Environmental and Urban Studies Sustainable Works hosted a lecture for Professor William Selby's Environmental Studies class and the public.

As a part of an ongoing lecture series, Gina Garcia, student program coordinator for Sustainable Works, and Cara Finken, residential program coordinator, presented "Making the Connection: A Special Presentation from Sustainable Works Environmental Education and Action," an overview of their program.

The lecture included information about their "Business Greening," "Student Greening" and "Residential Greening" programs. These programs all involve interactive workshops and seminars throughout the Santa Monica area that cater to those who want to learn how to embrace an eco-friendly lifestyle without all the hassle.

The "Business Greening" and "Residential Greening" part of the lecture informed business and home owners how to become green members of the Santa Monica community. Monitoring stock to include earth-friendly products and locally grown fruits and veggies were among the suggested solutions.

Garcia and Finken also discussed the "Student Greening" program with the students. They touched on many different points about how students can stay "green" with regards to their school supplies, transportation and even lunch choices. The program gives students the opportunity to be involved with a Sustainable Crew workshop team. These crews consist of ten to fifteen people who meet for an hour and a half each week to discuss sustainability.

"It was good because it's an introduction for people, especially those who aren't in the class like the business owner that came," said Bud Dillard, a student from Selby's class. "It opened doors for how they can make a difference in Santa Monica."

Sustainable Works recommends small ways young people in school can get involved with staying green, including buying recycled school supplies, bringing a zero-waste lunch and taking the Big Blue Bus to school.

One of Garcia's main points was that it is okay for people to reform their lifestyles one step at a time.

"I like to encourage people," said Garcia. "Do what you can today and plan for what you can do next month."

Sustainable Works provides answers to many of the questions facing people who do not know where to start. They are helping people take the necessary steps to slowly implement change.

"If it's not going to work, you're not going to do it. We encourage you to try things because we know it's hard and not everything works," said Garcia.

"We've been very lucky to bring in some very smart and professional experts on environmental and urban studies," said Selby, whose gratitude and enthusiasm toward Garcia and Finken after the program inspired students.

"He's very passionate about what he does so it makes you want to get into it. And because of him I'm joining Sustainable Crews," said Hebe Torres, a student from Selby's class.

Students interested in being involved with a Sustainable Crew this spring should get a spot on a team before the March 19 registration deadline. Registration can be completed online at