Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Green Coalition Volunteers Show Up In Force

Meeting draws crowd of 125 to make Ojai model community for sustainability

By Sondra Murphy
Organizers of the Ojai Valley Green Coalition’s action meeting last Thursday were rewarded for their labors when about 125 people showed up at Chaparral Auditorium to sign up for committees. “I am so pleased to see everyone here,” Tim Baird, coalition president, told the crowd. “Our goal tonight is to begin to take action to help make our valley a model green community.”
The coalition currently boasts 300 members who want to take part in creating more earth-friendly practices from a local perspective. The coalition board showed a brief presentation, which recommended the organizational methods to be used for the evening and included its mission statement of the coalition in bringing together community organizations, government, schools, businesses and citizen of all ages to make the valley a model green community. “We are local, working on things in this valley, city and county,” said Baird.
The goals of the coalition are to improve the Ojai Valley by reducing carbon pollution, lowering landfill waste output, reducing gas, oil and electrical consumption and expanding the use of alternative energy options.
The action committees created as important in achieving those goals were food and agriculture; alternative energy; building and construction; environmental health; waste management; transportation; and water and land use. Attendees were encouraged to join the committee of greatest interest or expertise, then work within that group to form guiding questions, establish what kind of research was needed, and determine goals which included education, policy changes and direct action.
After each committee formed, volunteers became acquainted and were responsible for scheduling meetings at which members would eventually identify action steps needed to meet goals and implement a team plan.
In addition to those committees, the coalition has the need for community members to serve on four organizational committees: communication; coordination and evaluation; event planning; and fund raising. “These aren’t the committees that are changing the world, but without help in these committees, all the work you do out there won’t go anywhere,” said Baird. Participants are also welcome to submit other committee ideas.
To become a member of any Ojai Valley Green Coalition committee, sign up on its web site: ojaigreencoalition.org or call Vivian Browne at 798-7196. Committees are scheduled to meet as follows.
Building and Construction Committee will meet tonight at 7 p.m. in the Ojai Unified School District boardroom at 414 E. Ojai Ave.
Water and Land Use Committee will meet tomorrow at 7 p.m. in the OUSD board room.
Waste Management Committee will meet tomorrow at 7 p.m. at Oak Grove School, located at 220 W. Lomita Ave. There will be someone giving directions at the bottom of the entrance to the school.
Transportation committee meets tomorrow at 7 p.m. in Room 17 of Matilija Junior High. Directions will be available upon arrival.
Food and Agriculture Committee will meet Sept. 20 at 7 p.m. at the old Honor Farm, a.k.a. new Help of Ojai West Campus on Baldwin Road.
Energy Conservation Committee will meet Sept. 27 at 7:30 p.m. at a location to be announced.

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