Sustainable Living is as Easy as #1-7

CHARLOTTE -- Did you know that the Chittenden Solid Waste District now accepts # 1-7 plastics for recycling, that they sell local paint, that they will give you free reusable cloth shopping bags, or that they will give you a compost bin to be easily used in their drop-off composting program? If not, you have clearly missed out on the CSWDs Outreach Programs, the latest of which was the Charlotte Sustainability Fair, held at the Charlotte Senior Center on Tuesday, October 16. But not to worry, this event was just the second in a monthly series of gatherings that will hopefully reach every town in Chittenden County. To organize this event, the Chittenden Solid Waste District partnered with the Charlotte Sustainable Living Network, an organization which, in the words coordinator Ron Miller, provides a forum where people can explore what it means to live sustainably. We aim to be supportive of people who are trying to figure out lifestyle changes that might feel unfamiliar or difficult, said Miller, as well as encouraging people who have not yet given this challenge much thought. The two coordinating organizations also invited representatives from the 10% Challenge, the Winooski Natural Resources Conservation District, the Charlotte Energy Task Force, the Chittenden County Transportation Authority, and the Vermont Earth Institute to present information about their current projects and their vision for the future of Vermont. Kayla Gatos, a member of the CSLN steering committee, said, We wanted people to stop in to get some facts, and hopefully find some motivation or inspiration to make changes in their lifestyles. We hope that people use this event to take thoughts and turn them into actions. The Chittenden Solid Waste District is also encouraging sustainable living by providing real opportunities for people to cut down on waste, increase the quantity of material that they recycle and compost as much as possible. Marge Keough, the Outreach Coordinator for the CSWD said, We want to expand community outreach by partnering with local groups to hold sustainability fairs in every community of Chittenden County. The Charlotte Sustainable Living Network also provided a few local snacks for the attendants, emphasizing their idea that local food consumption is an integral part of a sustainable lifestyle. Most of our food is transported hundreds or thousands of miles to our homes, using tremendous amounts of fossil fuel, while also losing freshness and nutritional value, said Ron Miller. Agriculture and food distribution have become massive, distant corporate enterprises with no sense of stewardship for the land or local communities. Living sustainably requires having an intimate relationship with one's bioregion and local resources, a relationship that our food distribution system inhibits. The CSLN was formed in December 2004 and grew out of a discussion group of the Vermont Earth Institute. Their monthly meetings are always free and open to the public.

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