By Reid Aldrich, Online Managing Editor
// On Oct. 1, the Lafayette Community Center hosted Sustainability Sunday in the Jennifer Russell Building to raise awareness on environmentally conscious practices with guest speakers and student-run booths.
Sustainable Lafayette hosts this event every two years to revisit important environmental issues with the community. However due to COVID-19, they have not hosted this event since 2019.
“The last time we had this event was in 2019…Back in 2019 when we had the event, it was very similar. We had a lot of local vendors and sponsors, such as Metro and Diablo Foods and Tutu’s who have always donated a lot of great food for us,” Choksi-Chugh said.
The event started off with music from the Acalanes Jazz Combo, and food from the local restaurants and markets such as Metro Lafayette, Local Kitchens, Pho Benny, The Rising Loafer, Diablo Foods, and Organic Coup. After the musicians finished, the event highlighted guest speakers who shared how they practice sustainability.
“Sustainable Lafayette is a nonprofit organization that works to inspire local residents to act and advocate for environmental health and justice. We are mostly creating events and opportunities for people to learn about how to be more sustainable in their everyday lives and how to help the city of Lafayette be more sustainable,” President of the Board of Sustainable Lafayette Sejal Choksi-Chugh said.
Along the walls of the building, the event also highlighted various students who were making a difference to make their communities more eco-friendly.
“Sustainable Sunday is an event that is held by Sustainable Lafayette as a fundraiser and as a way to have people who are like minded, and who care about sustainability come together so they can incorporate sustainable practices into their own lives,” City of Lafayette Environmental Task Force Chair and guest speaker Nancy Hu said.
After four years off, much of the community returned to listen to speakers and engage in discussion on updated ideas to increase sustainability. The four different speakers shared different ways that they exhibit sustainable practices in their lives.
“I was asked to talk about sustainable practices, so things that I will be focusing on are ways that my family has transitioned to a more zero waste lifestyle. I will also be focusing on how I have translated that into my advocacy work,” Hu said.
Each of the speakers also broadened their presentation to include ways that the attendees can work towards building a more environmentally-friendly community.
“I am going to be focusing on building electrification.The main point is that getting fossil fuels out of our homes is going to be better for the climate, better for our health, and more affordable. Getting your home ready now is [also] going to be easier than waiting and right now there is a lot of money available to help,” Volunteer for the Environmental Task Force for the City of Lafayette and guest speaker Brenna Shafizadeh said.
Although many people attempt to focus on larger changes, the presenters gave examples of ways that community members can make small differences in their own lives.
“We kind of get really busy during our day-to-day lives and we get distracted from those kinds of goals, but really we have one planet and we are here to try to make it a better place. If we can get people together to celebrate the wins and celebrate the things we are accomplishing, it is really great momentum to get people to keep thinking about how to live sustainably and how to make Lafayette a more earth-friendly city,” Choksi-Chugh said.
Sustainable Lafayette also uses events such as Sustainable Sunday to fundraise for future events and projects.
“We are raising money for our four main projects. One [project] is the Leaf Award which is given out to youth who are doing green projects in the area, another is for the Earth Day Festival. It’s also for the film series and then anything else that comes up,” Sustainable Lafayette Fundraiser Chair Anna Reid said.