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Votes

Energetic ‘Sustainable Reston’

Independent Progressive

Sustainable Reston is one of our youngest and most active community organizations. Founded as part of the Reston Citizens Association, SR defines its mission as preparing Reston for the impacts of climate change, resource depletion as we pass peak oil, and economic problems beyond local control. It encourages local alternatives for food and commerce while minimizing fossil fuel use.

In 2010, Sustainable Reston spun off from RCA to join the Fairfax Coalition for Smarter Growth. The coalition was led by the late Paul Hughes, an environmentalist and visionary who early on grasped the connections between climate change and economic problems brought on by globalization. Now, Sustainable Reston is the engine driving the coalition.

A principal focus under the leadership of President Diane Blust and VP Hank Blakely is local food alternatives to our modern corporate agriculture’s extraordinarily negative environmental and health impacts. In conjunction with Reston Association, Reston Interfaith and the Friends of Reston, SR organized and energized a new community garden worked by residents of Cedar Ridge Apartments who now produce healthy veggies for family and community meals. SR recognizes Reston’s good fortune to have not one, but two farmers markets and stresses their importance as sources of locally grown nutritious foods.

The “Green Living Series” educational programs at the Reston Community Center and Reston Association, in collaboration with SR, won the statewide best new program award from the Virginia Parks and Rec Association in 2012. The series includes practical training for Restonians such as: How to Build a Solar Oven, Eco-Friendly Cleaning, Home Food Preservation, Home Energy Efficiency Workshop with the Local Energy Alliance Program, Organic Gardening and more.

Networking is an SR trademark. SR has found willing and able Reston collaborators enabling this small outfit to greatly expand its reach. RCC, RA, Reston Interfaith, Friends of Reston and the supervisor’s office have contributed space, intellectual capital and, yes, financial support. In addition to seminars and community gardens, Sustainable Reston, with support from its partners, showed nearly 20 documentary films in the last few years, including: “Energy Crossroads,” “Blind Spot,” “Earth: The Operators Manual,” “A Community of Gardeners,” “Green Fire,” and “The Two Lane Search for Mom and Pop.” Proceeds from showings at Nature House are split 50-50 between Friends of Reston and SR. Audiences have grown, signaling growing awareness, we hope.

SR has also taken time to recognize sustainability leaders in the community, those showing us how to live in manner that preserves resources for coming generations. Reston Sustainability Awards were presented in 2009, 2010 and 2011 in ceremonies featuring renowned speakers Gar Alperovitz and Michael Shuman.

If you’d like to find out more or offer your skills, passion and expertise to help Reston make the transition to climate change and decreased fossil fuels, send an email to info@sustainablereston.org or check out SR on the web (www.sustainablereston.org and http://www.meetup.com/Sustainable-Reston/).