'People care about these topics and want to take some kind of action themselves, but oftentimes aren't sure where they can start.'

Adopting a more sustainable lifestyle can be overwhelming if you don't know where to start.

You want to recycle, but you aren't sure which items are permitted in your curbside bin. You know you're using too much heat in your home during the winter, but you don't know the first thing about insulation. Someone mentioned "naturescaping" the other day and your look of befuddlement said it all.

Beginning early next year, the West Linn Sustainability Advisory Board (SAB) hopes to cater to neophytes and experts alike with a series of lectures covering different topics related to sustainability. The SAB was created by the City Council in 2008 and played a lead role in updating the Sustainable West Linn Strategic Plan in 2015.

"This is actually something the Sustainability Advisory Board has done in the past, and the reaction was positive," SAB Chair Sara Harding Mihm said. "People care about these topics and want to take some kind of action themselves, but oftentimes aren't sure where they can start.

"We hashed out topics as a group and have already lined up most of the volunteer speakers, although a lot of the logistics still need to be cemented."

Mihm said the lectures will run around 90 minutes, with time for question and answer sessions. Tentatively, the first lecture is set to take place in the beginning of the new year and focus on recycling and reuse practices. Topics to cover would include guidelines for recycling at home and at work, reducing purchases of new items while reusing or repairing old ones, options for harder-to-recycle items and regional opportunities for education or volunteer work.

"Really, just by holding the lecture series, we're going to get people talking about these issues and realizing that, yes, folks in West Linn are making a difference, and can and should continue to voice their interest in living in a city that takes these issues seriously," Harding Mihm said. "They can connect with their fellow community members on these topics and be introduced to new ways to get involved."

The second lecture will most likely cover how to weatherize a home. Following that, the SAB hopes to cover toxics reduction in the yard, while a fourth lecture would address climate change and potential mitigation actions.

The SAB is also planning a volunteer open house that would likely take place in April 2019.

"This would be an opportunity for residents to connect with various community organizations volunteering for sustainability issues in West Linn," Harding Mihm said. "Aside from helping residents to find opportunities to volunteer in their own community, it would also be an opportunity for the various volunteer groups to connect with one another and find opportunities to work together better."

Mihm added that the hope is to continue with more lectures after this initial series.

"We don't see this as a one-off," she said. "If this lecture series goes well, I'm sure we'll talk about doing another, and so on. Ideally, there will always be opportunities for the community to learn about the many facets that fall under the word 'sustainability.'"

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