It was a very special evening on September 20th when Sustainable Contra Costa celebrated its 10th anniversary with a festive awards gala at the Pleasant Hill Community Center. Marking a decade of grassroots, intergenerational and cross-cultural initiatives and accomplishments aimed at creating healthy, clean, beautiful and resilient communities, SCOCO President and co-founder Tina King Neuhausel welcomed 200 guests, sponsors, participating members and partners. Pleasant Hill Mayor Tim Flaherty and Walnut Creek City Councilwoman Cindy Silva presented the awards.

The theme for this year’s event was “Together We Thrive: Building A Sustainable World Across Generations”. A variety of groups showcased the inter-generational work they are doing around the county.

The opening reception featured live music, delicious food and beverages from such local, sustainable partners such as Sunrise Bistro, DVC Culinary Arts, Mt. Diablo HS Hospitality Academy, Jack’s Restaurant & Bar, Heritage Eats, Captain and Viano Vineyards, Calicraft Brewing, Sutherland Distilling.

Six county organizations and two local individuals received recognition for their groundbreaking roles in community leadership, food system innovation, resource management, economic sustainability and lifetime achievement. Winners are listed here.

SCOCO recognizes that data based on facts are important to demonstrate effectiveness in their work in mitigating climate change and other issues addressed by the sustainability movement. SCOCO's impressive numbers include the results from their "Community Resilience Challenge・ Since 2011, over 8,000 people have committed to nearly 50,000 actions including growing food locally, saving energy and water, reducing waste, and more. In addition, they have brought the message of sustainability to the younger generation, in 2018 alone teaching 3,000 high school and elementary school students about the systems that provide clean, fresh water to their communities and safely deliver processed wastewater back into the environment.

But at the heart of SCOCO for ten years has always been the people, organizations and collaborative partners who provide the committed energy to build and maintain a sustainable future. “We began as a group of five passionate, local citizens who recognized the need to maintain and leave for our children a beautiful, safe, and healthy world,” said Neuhausel in brief comments about the organization’s history. “A decade later, 845 people and organizations connect with each other to learn and share through the Sustainable Contra Costa Network. We’re a community of young people and adults. We are educators, businesses, and organizations joined in our purpose to inspire healthy, connected and regenerative communities for all.”

Inviting people to join in vital collaborations and initiatives being planned as Sustainable Contra Costa moves into another decade, Neuhausel announced a county-wide educational program to be launched this fall in partnership with Contra Costa County and the cities of Walnut Creek, Antioch and San Pablo, supported by a $200,000 grant from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. Urging everyone age 18 and older to vote in November to protect water, soil and air in the Bay Area, she said, “The choices we all make in our own lives, our local communities, and businesses are critical to survival.”

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