You did it! We are inspired and awed by our community for rising to the Community Resilience Challenge East Bay this May with 9,415 actions to save water and energy, reduce waste and pollution, and build community! This year’s challenge has resulted in a tremendous amount of waste reduction. I’m particularly thrilled that 175 people took on the challenge of going completely reusable for 30 days and 175 people committed to getting off junk mail and going with paperless statements!
Pauline and Andy from Concord have transformed their lawn to drought tolerant landscaping, installed drip irrigation and water-saving fixtures, and gone renewable! They have also pledged to properly dispose of and eliminate toxic chemicals, unplug electronics when not using them, and leave their car at home at least once a week!
Joan and The Gardens at Heather Farm team have started a new community garden to provide community access to space for growing edible gardens. They will teach organic and sustainable gardening practices and are especially excited about inviting novice gardeners to their first gardening experience. They will have a large area for composting and worm bins in collaboration with Recycle Smart, and are inviting community participation in the building of the project.
Some of our most enthusiastic Challenge participants this year were the kids. Students from a total of 51 schools participated in the Challenge committing to a total of 4763 sustainable actions. Our top pledging school was Rancho Medanos Junior High in Pittsburg - whose student body was responsible for over half of the total student pledges - followed by Windemere Ranch in San Ramon and MLK Jr. Junior High in Pittsburg.
919 students agreed to use the minimum amount of lights they required in a room, and more importantly, to remember to turn those lights off when they left, making this the most popular student pledge. Kids voiced that the most challenging pledge this year was agreeing to keep their showers to five minutes or less. Many said they just couldn’t do it, but there were still 494 students who agreed to try. Some students, like third-grader Kalen we profiled last month, found creative ways to challenge himself to shower under the five-minute mark. Kalen instituted the hourglass challenge at his house, using a five-minute hourglass from the Contra Costa Water District and constantly striving to improve his time. Several students from Windemere Ranch took initiative and used the “optional write-in” space on the pledge sheet to commit to blow-drying their hair on low or not at all. Other popular student pledges included turning off the faucet while soaping hands and brushing teeth and agreeing to bring reusable containers in their lunches.
We are grateful to everyone who participated, to Daily Acts for their vision and support, and for the generous sponsors who supported this year’s Challenge: EcoMulch. Bill’s Ace Hardware, Mt. Diablo Nursery, Mt. Diablo Recycling, Contra Costa Water District, Sloat Garden Centers, City of Martinez, City of Pleasant Hill, City of Antioch, City of Pittsburg, City of Walnut Creek, Central Contra Costa Sanitary District, The Ecology Center, EBMUD, and North Atlantic Books.