Feik: Sustainability Commission works to reach the public
"Think Globally, Act Locally."
We, as members of the Forest Grove Sustainability Commission, follow this mantra. Many global actions determine the quality of our local water, air, soil and social conditions. We have to be aware of those actions but act locally.
That is why the Sustainability Commission conducted three community-wide gatherings, called summits, in 2012 and 2013. The intent was to engage community members in creating a sustainability strategic action plan for Forest Grove and the surrounding areas. These facilitated sessions gathered participants' ideas about critical sustainability issues and long-range goals. The emphasis was on stewardship of our economic, social, environmental and cultural resources in a manner that is equitable for present and for future generations.
In 2015, we held another summit — about 45 Latino community members from Forest Grove and Cornelius provided input, in Spanish with language interpretation into English, about how the cities of Forest Grove and Cornelius can best work together with the Latino community. Another Latino summit is being planned very soon.
The Sustainability Commission has sponsored two "Knowledge Pubs."
In the first Knowledge Pub, we learned what Deke Gundersen, Ph.D. and director of environmental studies at Pacific University, told his college-aged daughter about major global environmental problems — that is, climate change, species extinction, pollution, energy, food, water, population growth — and what we can do about it locally.
In the second Knowledge Pub, we learned from Stacy Metzger about how to prepare for natural disasters — again, a global issue, but what we as neighbors and individuals can and should do.
The third Knowledge Pub will be held at the Forest Movie Theater April 25 at 7:30 p.m. Kristin Ohlson titled her talk "Heal the Land, Heal the Climate."
Many people despair that the planet is doomed because our current leaders have consistently failed to take on climate change and other related challenges. But Ohlson (author of "The Soil Will Save Us: How Scientists, Farmers and Foodies are Healing the Soil to Save the Planet") argues that leadership is coming from the grassroots, as farmers and ranchers — working with scientists — discover they can restore healthy landscapes and reverse generations of damage while producing an abundance of healthy food. They're working with nature to heal the carbon cycle from the bottom up — and she says that the rest of us can do it locally too.
These Knowledge Pubs are one way the Sustainability Commission strives to accomplish our mission statement: "The people of Forest Grove are committed to improving the quality of life in our community by providing stewardship of our economic, social, environmental and cultural resources in a manner that is equitable for all present and future generations."
The commission advises and makes recommendations to the City Council on sustainability-related matters. To learn more about the history of the Sustainability Commission and our action and work plans, and to read some very informative papers assessing our water, energy and socio-economic conditions, as well as a local greenhouse Gas Inventory, please Google "Forest Grove City Sustainability Commission," and then scroll down to the topics of your choice.
We would love to see you and your friends April 25, at the Forest Theater, 1911 Pacific Ave., to hear Ohlson's research-based presentation and ask her questions. The doors open at 7 p.m. for snacks, drinks and conversation and the presentation starts at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free!
We would also love to hear from you at any Forest Grove Sustainability Commission meeting. We meet on the last Thursday of each month from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Forest Grove Community Auditorium, 1924 Council St. At the beginning of each meeting, we schedule public comment time — two minutes in which you can talk about anything of your choice.
Dale Feik is chairman of the Forest Grove
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