Laguna Beach environmentalists share Earth-loving tips, community additions

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By Barbara McMurray, Special to the Independent

Laguna Beach is a green and blue city, home to scores of ecology-minded residents passionate about ocean and land conservation and thoughtful consumption. We asked four thought leaders how residents can contribute to healing the earth and slowing climate change.

Robin Rounaghi and Wendy Campbell, One Green Street. Courtesy photo

• One Green Street is a collaboration by Laguna Beach residents Wendy Campbell and Robin Rounaghi to share sustainable solutions.

“It’s natural to become overwhelmed and to disconnect about the state of our planet,” Rounaghi said. “We’ve discovered that taking an imperfect, one-step-at-a-time approach and sharing ideas with a friend really helped. Everyone can do something, and not only do the little changes add up, but increased awareness will help advance urgently needed corporate and policy changes.”

Campbell observed, “Switching from single-use plastic products to reusable, earth-friendly products is a good place to start. In addition to reusable grocery bags, water bottles, and to-go cups, there are many other easy switches: detergent strips or concentrated powder instead of big plastic laundry jugs, cloth instead of paper towels and napkins, reusable resealing bags and food wrap, metal instead of disposable plastic razors, deodorant in a compostable container, shampoo bars.

“When ordering takeout, remind the restaurant you don’t need plastic forks or napkins, and request containers that aren’t plastic. At the store, choose glass or aluminum over plastic and where possible, avoid products with unnecessary packaging.”

Composting packs a one-two punch, because it reduces landfill methane gases and promotes healthy, living soil and carbon sequestration, which can reduce global warming, Rounaghi said.

“Almost everyone can compost—rotating tumblers, worm bins, compost piles, or dropping your food scraps to a friend who composts. Any food scrap diverted from our landfill is a win,” Rounaghi said.

Campbell and Rounaghi learned about incorporating indigenous, regenerative practices into their yards through Los Angeles-based educator Farmer Rishi’s Kiss the Ground gardening workshop.

Rounaghi is experimenting with raising chickens, as grazing animals are an aspect of regenerative agriculture. Both women are growing more food and using cover crop in the off-season, even on the smallest areas of their yards.

“Buying produce from The Ecology Center farmstand in San Juan Capistrano is an excellent way to support regenerative agriculture and to reduce plastic packaging,” Rounaghi added.

Follow One Greet Street’s journey on Instagram @onegrnstreet or email at [email protected].

Hallie Jones is executive director of the Laguna Canyon Foundation. File photo

• Laguna Canyon Foundation executive director Hallie Jones suggested, “The most important thing for each of us to do is to treat our trails and open space with love and respect. Stay on authorized trails and keep your dog on a leash. Pick up any trash you see while you’re out hiking. Share your love for this land with the people you meet in the wilderness.”

The foundation advocates for open space and focuses on education, public outreach, habitat restoration and trailwork in the canyons. It is dedicated to protecting the South Coast Wilderness, a 22,000-acre network of open space surrounding Laguna Beach. For more details visit lagunacanyon.org.

 

Mayor Pro Tem Sue Kempf. Courtesy photo

• Laguna Beach Mayor Pro Tem Sue Kempf: “I’m excited that 35 water stations designed to refill drinking bottles will be installed throughout town, as budget allows, during the next five years. The project starts July 21 with new stations replacing existing drinking fountains.

On May 21, Laguna Beach will increase weekend afternoon collection at public bins to three pickups per day throughout the city for 25 weeks. City officials have also partnered with Laguna Canyon Foundation for a trail ambassador program that will educate and encourage responsible trail use.

Rich German is founder of Project O. Photo by Barbara McMurray

• Project O founder Rich German, local paddleboarder, author, ocean photographer, and creator of the Blue City Network, which certifies and celebrates cities that have proven to be stewards of oceans and waterways, offered, “The main thing we can do to heal the planet is just leave it alone. Laguna’s marine protected no-take zone is an inspiring example of what happens when we leave nature alone and allow it to restore itself.”

German believes in a less-is-more approach focused on reducing or eliminating use of single-use items, eat less meat, buy less stuff, use less water, and lowering households’ carbon footprint. 

 “Ultimately, I feel it is about love,” he said. “There is a direct correlation between how much we love ourselves, our family, our community, each other, the animals, our ocean, our planet, and the choices we make that will lead to our ability to live in harmony and balance with nature.”

For more details, visit project-o.org.

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