The city looks toward a sustainable future
Green living isn’t a new concept for residents of Sebastopol, in fact the city continues to set the bar in efforts towards a sustainable future.
“Sebastopol while a very small city, is at the forefront of nationwide efforts to implement new technology and address critical environmental policy issues,” said Patrick Slayter, local architect and mayor of Sebastopol.
In conjunction with the Sebastopol Center for the Arts’ current exhibition, Slayter presented “Being Green” a talk about the city’s commitment to decreasing its global footprint, on Aug. 29.
Slayter said the United States is the highest consuming nation in the world and individual choices can make a big difference.
From monitoring energy usage in city buildings to voluntarily reducing water usage, the city has made major contributions in environmental efficiency. Slayter said by doing this the city has set a precedent in sustainable living efforts and often state regulation follows suit.
“Even with constrained resources, the city has remained proactive,” he said.
The city voluntarily made changes to be a “toxic free” zone by prohibiting herbicides and pesticides. The landscaping of city hall is a “edible forest.”
Currently, Sebastopol maintains 30 acres of public park land. Slayter said under the city’s guidance the Laguna de Santa Rosa was transformed from a former waste-water treatment plant and city dump to 75 acres of open spaces.
Public transportation is also an area where Sebastopol has strived to make big changes. In less than two years the city created a complete and comprehensive bicycle system throughout its entirety. Slayter said soon the city will have the first electric-powered bus in the county, Local Bus #24. Thanks to the “Free Fare Program,” bus rides on route 24 are now free until June 30, 2019.
Lu Frasier sat in the front row listening intently to Slayter’s presentation. She said west county has been her home since 1976. She moved to Sebastopol in 2011 in part because of the green living efforts.
“It’s one of the reasons I live here,” she said. “We all just want to live clean and green.”
City councilmembers are inviting the public as well as local businesses to a “zero waste” study session on Sept. 18 at the Youth Annex, 425 Morris St. The study will be followed by the regular city council meeting.
SCA’s current exhibition is showing interpretations of “Green.” The gallery features 75 variations and nuances of the color through abstract concepts of green, but also in expressions of environmental concern and ecological awareness.
"Green" runs through September 9. Admission is free.
SCA, located at 282 S. High St., is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4pm. For more information visit, https://sebarts.org/.
This article was originally published on Aug. 31.