Sierra Club congratulates city for green efforts
By Erica Schroeder
Solana Beach was awarded the Sierra Club of San Diego's Cool Cities Honorable Mention Award at the June 24 City Council meeting. Members of the Solana Beach Clean and Green Committee were also present.
"It was extraordinary to see how nicely the community and its leaders have come together to work on environmental and political issues," said Cheryl Reiff, Sierra Club San Diego's chapter coordinator.
The Sierra Club's Cool Cities award is given to communities that have shown efforts to reduce their overall global environmental impact. Solana Beach placed behind the city of San Diego and Chula Vista.
"Solana Beach has moved the fastest and moved forward the most of the San Diego cities surveyed for the award," said Richard Miller, the Sierra Club's communications director, adding that he thinks the city will rank higher in the coming year or two.
"Solana Beach is one of the leaders in municipal and communitywide green building practices," Miller said. He added that the city diverts more than 40 percent of its solid waste through recycling or other programs.
The City Council formed the ad-hoc Clean and Green Committee in 2006 to study the implications of Solana Beach signing the Mayors Agreement on Climate Protection. It was signed on March 14, 2007.
Since that time, the committee of about 25 core members has advised the city on reducing its environmental footprint.
"I was honored that our city would be recognized for our work in climate protection," said Steve Goetsch, chair of the Clean and Green Committee.
He noted that Solana Beach's challenge is picking projects that are appropriate in size.
"We don't operate a fleet of buses or a large motor pool, so we had to look for other ways to implement change," he said. "We have a core group of highly educated and motivated people who have discovered a number of innovative ways to implement change that works. Most important, we have the unqualified backing of our City Council and city staff."
The city was also awarded for participation in SANDAG's "Sustainable Regions" program, with its creative plans to recycle plastic bags into construction materials and to promote recycling of construction waste in the near future.
Solana Beach resident Marilee McLean received the Sierra Club's Political Activist of the Year Award for her advocacy of environmental issues and support of candidates who share the same environmental priorities.
"The award was very meaningful to me, but I'm also very honored to be a part of this strongly environmental community," McLean said. "I was of course very honored to receive the award but I'm also extremely appreciative of our supportive City Council members, helpful city staff and all of the community members who are working to create and sustain a 'clean and green' Solana Beach."