Billed as an invitation and opportunity to help the 3-year-old volunteer organization’s leadership define its program agenda for 2011, GreenTown Los Altos held its first community meeting of 2011 on Jan. 18 at Hillview Community Center. Several dozen residents and neighbors turned out to participate in the lively discussion.
Joe Eyre, Chair of GreenTown’s newly-created Water Stewardship program, presented an overview of water usage today and its ramifications for future generations. The Water Stewardship Programs will focus on Water Conservation: ensuring a continued high quality of living in our communities, and Pollution Reduction: protecting our local streams and the bay which are essential to the local environment. Program goals include:
GreenTown Programs Chair, Margie Suozzo, shared highlights from 2010, which included establishing partnerships with local schools to encourage biking and walking to school, with restaurants to shift from Styrofoam to compostable take-out containers, and with the City of Los Altos to help bring about the new waste contract with Mission Trail Waste Systems.
The evening’s main topic was a lively group discussion of how GreenTown can encourage more people to walk and bike, thus reducing car trips. GreenTown Education Chair, Karen “KJ” Janowski, described an exciting and bold vision for evolving our towns into much more bicycle and pedestrian friendly locales. KJ then led the participants in a brainstorming session that generated dozens of ideas that could engage and benefit citizens of all ages as well as local merchants. Ideas included everything from fun, participatory bicycling events to awareness-building incentive programs.
Encouraging biking and walking in town addresses one of the major work areas of GreenTown – reducing vehicle miles travelled. “What that looks like in practice is evolving and will be limited only by the participation and imagination of community volunteers and participants,” she said.
GTLA envisions working with schools, cycling organizations, businesses, community groups and city staff and elected officials in Los Altos and Los Altos Hills to frame activities and invite support.
Bottom line, GreenTown is marking 2011 as a year to focus efforts and to grow membership. We’re working to make a sustainable community for today and tomorrow. If you’re interested in the same, join us! Become a member and/or volunteer.
The next public meeting is scheduled for March 15, 7pm, at the Hillview Community Center. I look forward to seeing you there.