Friday, February 20, 2009
Three short weeks after my son’s birthday, and it is time to celebrate my daughter’s anniversary of arrival. No, it was not the shortest pregnancy on record. Their births are three years PLUS three weeks apart. And even though they are siblings they are very different people.
There is the obvious: one is male, the other female. But they are different in many other ways. He takes after my side of the family in appearance while she favors her dad’s family. She is the indoors type, he’s the outdoors type. He is married with three kids, she is a career woman. Like all siblings, they are first and foremost, individuals.
Just like Sustainable Norcross Inc. and Sustainable Norcross Commission. Both are branches of the same family tree. The Triple Bottom Line tenets of Sustainability are in the DNA of each. Both are grassroots organizations made up of volunteers just like you. They are both new with less than a year in their timelines, yet each has some noteworthy milestones. Their lives intertwine and intersect just like in any family. But first and foremost, they are individuals.
Sustainable Norcross Inc. is the first born. We kicked around other names. “Imagine Norcross Going Green” to coincide with the city’s new marketing campaign, “Norcross a Place to Imagine”. Or “Norcross Green Guild” with a nod to the Green Guild at Vickery, the EarthCraft Homes development by Hedgewood Properties in Cumming.
But somehow the other names just did not fit for us. Heather Royston suggested a substitute for green which has turned out to be the word on everyone’s lips. Sustainable. Sustainable Norcross. Imagine Norcross a Sustainable City. By George, I think we’ve got something!
Well what in the Sam Hill is “Sustainable”? Quick, tell me in 25 words or less. This Native American Proverb sums it up pretty well: “We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors; we borrow it from our Children.” Huh? That didn’t help? Sustain-ability: meeting the needs of the present without depleting or harming resources for future generations. Being able to maintain indefinitely, for example, by regenerating more than we consume.
Our volunteers brainstormed what “sustainability” means to them. Words like future, smart, living, preservation, conservation, replacement, consumption, independence, reuse were listed. And voila, we had our mission statement and tag line: “preserving our future by living smarter today”.
So how did all of this spawn two offspring? We believe strongly that we need to lead by example. We, the people, as individuals and collectively. But how? I have these rain barrels, but how exactly do I connect them to my downspouts to capture life sustaining water for my vegetables and landscape? Want to come over and see my backyard wildlife habitat? Well maybe we can exchange information and expertise. Share. Learn. Inspire. Do.
Well, that is what Sustainable Norcross Inc. is all about. The volunteers, regular meetings, informative programs, traditional civic organization stuff. And everyone is invited. See the calendar for upcoming opportunities. www.sustainablenorcross.org
What about the city? Shouldn’t it lead by example? Surely it is in a unique position to show us how it is done. Make it possible to recycle when we are away from home as naturally as we do at home, whether we are employees of the city or attendees at city sponsored events. Install low flow toilets when new or replacement fixtures are called for in city buildings. After all, we taxpayers pay for the fixtures and the water consumed by them.
How do we help that happen, communicate what you are telling us, get answers to your questions, share information we have learned but might not be top of mind of city leaders and staff? Enter the five member Sustainable Norcross Commission appointed by the Mayor and City Council in November 2008. Their purpose is to advise the City regarding sustainability and environmental matters through development of a measured sustainable city plan and regular communication. http://www.norcrossga.net/boards-profile.php?ID=15
Siblings: offspring with the same origins, but each unique and distinctly individual and equally treasured.
Happy Birthday, Wendy!