SCOCO is a nonprofit organization founded in 2007 by a group of community members passionate about changing the consciousness of Contra Costa residents, and encouraging the use of sustainable practices in homes, businesses and cities. According to SCOCO President Tina King Neuhausel, “Bob Joe and I decided to start Sustainable Contra Costa so that we can help people understand that our choices and actions today will determine what kind of world our children will live in.”
Award nominees were evaluated by a team of 16 judges on how well their actions reflect the following areas of sustainability: environmental health, social health and well-being and economic prosperity. They were also evaluated on their scope of involvement and impact in the community, level of organization-wide involvement, uniqueness, being a model for others, and partnerships and collaboration with others.
“My spirit is renewed by the tremendous appreciation and unity that was generated by our event last night,” said Neuhausel. “It’s a wonderful thing to see so many people come together as a community.”
The 2011 Leadership in Sustainability Winners include:
Small Business: Food Service Technology Center (FSTC)
FSTC is a sustainability program focused on energy efficiency and water conservation. The FSTC’s mission is to provide practical, actionable, research-based guidance to the entire commercial food service industry.
Community: RYSE Center and Sustainable Lafayette
The RYSE Center contributes to the Richmond/West Contra Costa County community by supporting the healthy development of youth through holistic approaches, engaging participants in programs grounded in youth leadership and social justice.
Sustainable Lafayette is a nonprofit organization that provides the community of Lafayette with the information, inspiration, tools and assistance needed to facilitate the adoption of sustainable practices.
Individual: Cindy Egan
The community champion encourages students to work in partnership with the Town of Danville on clean water, e-waste and other environmental projects.
Large Business: Allied Waste Services (AWS)
AWS became a Certified Green Business in November of 2009, the first solid waste company in the county to earn such certification. AWS sustainability initiatives include powering all its route trucks with clean natural gas, the use of methane from the Keller Canyon Landfill to generate power, annually hosting fourth-grade students from the Pittsburg Unified School District at the wetlands project at Keller Canyon Landfill, and partnering with the Contra Costa Solid Waste Authority and East Bay Municipal Utility District’s (EBMUD) Commercial Food Waste-to-Energy Project, which collects approximately 30 tons of restaurant food waste for anaerobic digestion at EBMUD’s Oakland facility.
Government: Eastern Contra Costa Transit Authority (ECCTA)
ECCTA was certified by Contra Costa County as a Green Business in April of 2005 and has been recertified until April of 2012. ECCTA forbids engine idling, which reduces emissions and saves fuel.
School: The Meher Schools, Lafayette
The Meher Schools community garden program encourages experiential learning by offering classes in the garden during the regular school year and summer sessions, providing students the opportunity to grow and prepare high-quality, locally grown produce.
Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient: Mary Lou Laubscher
A retired teacher, Laubscher has demonstrated a lifelong passion for advocating social justice, health and food security in the low-income, densely populated, largely immigrant Monument Corridor in Concord. She has been a resident of the Monument Corridor for 55 years, and is a leader for engaging residents to create sustainable programs in the community.
Laubscher founded and became executive director of the Cambridge Community Center to provide resources to the surrounding community, and collaborated with the Contra Costa/Solano Food Bank to start food distribution for hungry people in the Monument Corridor. This program first distributed food to 80 people per week, later becoming the Monument Crisis Center, which now distributes food to 7,000 people per month. Laubscher successfully lobbied the City of Concord to add a community garden to the Markham Nature Area, which is still in existence after 30 years. She created the Monument Community Partnership (MCP) Community Gardens Action Team, and worked with Cambridge Elementary School, UC Cooperative Extension’s Master Gardeners’ Program and residents to install and run a raised-bed, bio-intensive garden behind Cambridge Elementary.
Diablo Magazine recently recognized Mary Lou as a Threads of Hope award recipient for the hope she instills in her community, and her ability to bring people together to achieve a dream. She is a visionary who doesn’t ask whether a solution is possible, but brings people together to create one.
Contra Costa Leadership in Sustainability Award nominations are accepted throughout the year. Winner profiles and nomination information are available at www.sustainablecoco.org.