Voices

Sustainable September includes series of green events

For the second year in a row Community Minded Enterprises is putting together a series of events as Sustainable September. The kickoff luncheon is on Wednesday at the Masonic Center and features Kevin Danaher, executive director of Global Exchange and the founder of Green Expos.

“Last year we were hitting the ‘why’ and this year it’s the ‘how’ to stay sustainable,” said Shallan Dawson, project coordinator.

“Sustainable September is designed to promote already existing events like the river cleanup. Sustainable means creating a way of living that will last a long time.”

For some, Dawson added, that may mean creating a business that is local and sells locally produced products.

“That way the money stays in the community and we become dependent on each other, and not so dependent on outside sources,” Dawson said.

This year’s events are divided into eight tracks: Local food, economic sustainability, energy security, active stewardship, eco generations, health and well-being, inclusive communities and building and landscaping.

Every track has several major events and presentations and Dawson said the easiest way to find all the information in one spot is to go to the Sustainable September website at www.sustainableseptemberspokane.org.

“The nice thing about the website is that it’s an actual Google calendar you can subscribe to and track events on,” said Dawson.

Some highlights include the River Cleanup on Sept. 23, lunch with beavers on Sept. 26 and a street party for eco generations (younger people) on Main Avenue by the Community Building on Sept. 11 from 8 p.m. to midnight.

Among the many sponsors and supporters is the Sierra Club, which has donated a commuter bicycle as the main prize in a writing contest about shifting the energy habits of Spokane.

“Energy security is our main event at the end of September and it’s about shifting energy habits,” said Dawson. “There’s a contest of words where people can write a one-page essay, a poem, a haiku, or whatever moved someone to talk about shifting Spokane to clean energy and submit it online.”

Avista is underwriting Sustainable September again this year.

Company spokeswoman Mary Tyrie said Avista currently provides more than 300 incentives and rebates to encourage its customers to conserve energy.

“Why does Avista help customers use less of its product? Because it is less costly to provide energy efficiency programs than it is to purchase additional power or build new generating facilities to produce more energy,” Tyrie wrote in an e-mail. “Plus, it’s better for our environment.” Avista also offers numerous interactive tools such as the online Home Energy Analyzer, bill analyzer and carbon calculator.

“We’re continuously working on new ways to meet the energy needs of customers, including offering renewable generation incentives for Washington customers who install their own renewable energy systems, like solar panel, wind turbine or anaerobic digesters,” Tyrie wrote, adding that information about energy saving incentives are available at www.avistautilities.com.

Dawson said she’s excited for this year’s Sustainable September lineup.

“Last year we had more than 300 people at the luncheon and I hope we get more this year,” she said. “We had more than 100 events and thousands of participants last year – we hope to repeat that.”



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