Sustainability Workshop Shows Locals How to Live Green(er)

The Green Living Workshop for the 11th Council District residents came about thanks to a grant secured by Councilman Bill Rosendahl from the LADWP.

As the song says, it's not easy being green. But a free six-week workshop currently being held for residents who live in LA's11th Council District is helping them make the transition.

"Start with what you can do," workshop presenter Gina Garcia told attendees at the first session of at the in Pacific Palisades on Tuesday night.

Sustainable Works is an environmental educational organization that grew out of a Santa Monica city project designed to educate its residents about green living options. However, as Garcia noted in her introduction, the organization is a private nonprofit, not connected to the city of Santa Monica.

"Or else we couldn't come here," she told the attendees.

The Mar Vista Community Council Green Committee secured a grant in 2009 to host one of Sustainable's workshops in Mar Vista in January 2010. After the success of that workshop, Councilman Bill Rosendahl and Mar Vista Community Council Green Committee Co-Chair Sherri Akers collaborated with Sustainable Works to secure a $45,000 grant from the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power to host this latest series for district residents.

Tuesday's presentation focused on water. Upcoming workshops will cover energy, waste, chemicals, transportation, shopping and food. However, Garcia noted that all of these areas are interconnected.

The workshop presentations all follow a basic outline, first looking at problems on a global, then national, then local level. For example, Garcia talked about how young girls in Africa must walk three miles each way to a water hole twice a day to get the family's water, bringing back five gallons per trip. She then pointed out that that's the same amount of water we use each time we flush a toilet. 

Palisadian Teddi Tindall enjoyed the workshop Tuesday, but thought that perhaps the program was preaching to people who were already interested in living greener.

"Most of us are probably in the choir," she said, adding that the residents who really needed to be there probably weren't.

However, Tindall said the workshop inspired her to be more involved in cleaning up the oceans. She also said she would try to talk her husband into getting rid of their lawn, which is a major source of water usage.

Awareness, Garcia said, is an important first step to living a greener life. The hardest step, she said, is changing behavior, and she encouraged participants to go slowly so they don't get discouraged and give up. Many of Garcia's tips included relatively easy changes such as installing low-flow shower heads and taking shorter showers.

Another solution offered to conserve water was to not drink bottled water because bottles not only take a great deal of plastic to produce, but huge numbers of them get washed into the ocean where they pollute the water and the beaches.

Residents can still join the workshop series by clicking here. The classes meet every Tuesday through October 11, except Sept. 27 at the Aldersgate Retreat Center, 925 Haverford Ave. Pacific Palisades, CA  90272.

Another series of workshops will be held at the Santa Monica College Bundy Campus beginning Oct. 5. Sign up for that series here.

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