It was a full house Thursday at the for the second annual Sustainability Forum.
Presentations were full of information about air quality, recycling and other important issues that could help Aliso Viejo residents create a sustainable future. It was informative and eye-opening.
Many local agencies and city services were in attendance, including South Coast Air Quality Management District, Orange County Council of Governments, CR&R and Fluor Corp.—a local business that presented information about its sustainability practices. Sage Hill School and Savannah's Organic Ranch were also at the forum spreading information about their projects.
Fluor Corp. presented detailed information on its savings of tens of thousands of dollars through such methods as lighting design and shifting cleaning times in its office buildings from nighttime hours to daytime hours.
CR&R's presenter, Craig Dibley, is an Aliso Viejo resident and the company's community relations/environmental compliance coordinator. He provided information about what can and cannot be recycled and included information regarding Orange County's first City's Universal Waste Collection Program.
Note: I plan to write more about this important and innovative program.
The last part of the forum was dedicated to the Aliso Viejo's Green City Initiative workshop, which focused on waste management and recycling. If you have been unable to attend past workshops, you can go to the green initiative website to view the past presentations. This latest presentation will soon be available online as well.
It is important for residents to attend these forums. This is your chance to give ideas as the city implements the program.
Many of the ideas that were most interesting came from residents in attendance—ideas such as the development of a green business park and a program where the city provides recycling audits for local businesses. Most important, the City Council needs to know that you support this initiative. Please take time to attend a City Council meeting and let the council know you support the initiative in the open-comments portion of the agenda.
I spoke to Ross Chun, Aliso Viejo Community Association president and CEO of Eco-Stride, the co-sponsor of this year's forum.
Chun said he has "already received many e-mails from attendees expressing their appreciation for the event and asking for a follow-up forum in the fall."
Chun said the input from attendees "included some important suggestions on how to engage a broader public audience and bring a strong educational component to the city's initiative."
The city needs to hear from you, from everyone—not just businesses and agencies. Eight more workshops are scheduled before a final Green City Initiative plan is created in November. The green initiative will be designed to reduce our greenhouse emissions, reduce our footprint as a city and target reductions in waste and use of resources. The plan will include voluntary actions by residents, businesses and the city.
As Albert Armijo, director of planning services, stated at the beginning of the forum, we want to be "proactive rather than reactive."
Take advantage of the following events in Aliso Viejo: