In the initial drafting of Claremont’s Sustainable City Plan, how to implement the Plan was an important consideration. A key feature of the plan was the formation of a community organization to work closely with the city government, but independent of it. Sustainable Claremont is that organization.
One of the first tasks for Sustainable Claremont was to create a Mission Statement, and for that we needed to articulate our goals. They are, broadly stated, to promote education and action in sustainability — socially, economically, and environmentally — in Claremont and beyond. That is our mission. Toward that end we proposed creating Action Groups in a number of areas, along with Sustainability Dialogs and these Demystifying Sustainability articles in the Courier.
Some of our more specific goals have now been realized. For example:
- The Water Action Group is working toward water conservation and reclamation. Water reclamation plants at the Colleges, now on the drawing boards, will provide water for campus irrigation that will replace about five percent of the water we now import from the State Water Project.
- Our Schools Action Group worked toward establishing gardens at nearly all Claremont schools, and integrating these with nutritional and educational programs.
- More recently, a Tree Action Group was created after an independent association of local citizens formed “Save Our Trees” to suggest alternatives to the wholesale cutting of the pine trees in the Claremont Club neighborhood. This led to collaboration with Claremont City Staff rewriting the City Tree Policy Manual.
- A Sustainable Claremont Garden Club was created just over a year ago. One of the best ways to save water and energy, reduce pollution, and create beauty is to garden sustainably. The Garden Club helps people do this in both their ornamental and edible gardens.
Several other proposed Action Groups remain future opportunities. And, of course, not all of our possible activities were seen at the start and we take advantage of opportunities as they arise. One of these was creation of the CHERP program which evolved from a seminar on Whole-House Energy Retrofits given by Devon Hartman at Hartman-Baldwin Design Build. We connected, and Devon joined the Sustainable Claremont Board. Our hugely successful Community Home Retrofit Project is now being replicated in other cities, and becoming a model statewide and beyond.
What now? Long-range forecasts predict challenging higher temperatures, water shortages, and a growing population for the Inland Empire in decades to come. Claremont’s Sustainable City Plan recognizes that, and for its implementation roles are assigned across the community. How can that be managed? A brief concept Business Plan has been drafted that proposes creation of a staffed “bricks and mortar center for resources and innovation,” with Sustainable Claremont providing a core planning group to coordinate community involvement. Sustainable Claremont is willing to take a lead role in creating the proposed Center, but we will need help. We invite all who are interested to join with us to make it happen.
Demystifying Sustainability is an initiative of Sustainable Claremont (sustainableclaremont.org).