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[GreenYes] Spring offensive

Driving home from the 2006 California Resource Recovery Association (CRRA)
Conference in San Jose last summer, my daughter Laura and my son Brian and I
worked out a plan for initiating some zero waste activities in San Diego.
Most of the stakeholders in San Diego who manage or regulate discards concur
with the San Diego County AB939 Integrated Waste Management Citizens Advisory
Committee?s (CAC) recommendations to:
1. Get compostable organics out of the landfill 2. Require multi-family
and commercial recycling in the city of San Diego commercial discard stream
3. Initiate the City of San Diego?s C & D ordinance
4. Develop a regional social marketing strategy to maximize blue bin program
participation rates
5. Convert the Miramar landfill into a resource recovery park
But City of San Diego recycling staff is reluctant to push the CAC agenda
due to a lack of council direction. This dynamic exists despite the fact San
Diego recycling plans already call for both upstream and downstream actions.
We asked the local chapter of CRRA for support and created an ad hoc
committee called Zero Waste San Diego (_www.zerowasteSanDiego.org_
( ). Our group decided it was time to take the message to the
people, and have citizens convince elected officials they need to lead on
these issues. A public zero waste presentation and free showing of Al Gore?s "An
Inconvenient Truth" were used to educate and get people involved.
A zero waste resolution - modeled from Santa Cruz?s initiative and reworked
to our own liking - was taken to the CAC and then to its member agencies.
Once enlightened about the potential for zero waste programs to improve the
environment and stimulate our economy, we received endorsements from the CAC,
San Diego chapters of the CRRA, League of Women Voters and Sierra Club,
Earthworks, Solana Center for Environmental Innovation, and most recently the City
of El Cajon. Mayor of El Cajon Mark Lewis is asking for other San Diego
County city councils to step up and recognize the multitude of regional
benefits zero waste has to offer.
Meanwhile, our first public meeting had a standing room only crowd, and many
of the attendees stayed after to talk about what can be done locally. One
of the suggestions was to combat global warming by bringing ?cooling down the
planet? initiatives to local town councils and planning boards. Another idea
was to have more meetings and a workshop.
To date, we have shown ?An Inconvenient Truth? twice and ?The Synthetic Sea?
once to large, concerned crowds of citizens. We?ve presented to the Ocean
Beach Town Council and Ocean Beach Planning Board, and both have adopted zero
waste resolutions and agreed to encourage other local councils and boards to
do the same. We have also spoken to the Ocean Beach People?s Organic Foods
Co-op and have received their support. A zero waste workshop for the
neighborhood is being planned, with OB People?s as a primary sponsor.
One of the interesting reactions to our work has been that we are considered
by some media folk as the ?go to? group for global warming and zero waste
issues. This has resulted in Zero Waste San Diego being featured in articles
in the local press, and on pubic radio and TV as well. Our work has also
received the attention of San Diego?s mayor and city attorney, and we've sat down
with both Jerry Sanders and Michael Aguirre in separate meetings to
attentive, interested inquiries about what zero waste programs could do for the city.

We don't know what this all means yet, but we haven't met with any San Diego
City mayor in the past 20 years, so something must be up. And our spring
offensive has just begun. Like the bumper sticker, we are thinking globally
and acting locally, and our momentum has been tremendous.
Challenges associated with living on a planet with diminishing resources and
increasing population require addressing the need to cool down the planet
and rebuild our soils for food production. Zero waste principles consider these
issues and offer viable solutions.
I ask you to join us in confronting producers of products and packages about
sustainable redesign, demand that local authorities ban compostable organics
from the landfill, and initiate plans to return these materials to our
soils. We all stand to gain from these changes. Thanks in advance for your
Richard Anthony
Zero Waste San Diego
Spring 2007

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