Sustainable Claremont is Striving to Help Save the City of Trees

Claremont is “the city of trees” and Sustainable Claremont is ensuring that it stays that way. Sustainable Claremont is a non-profit organization that cares for, promotes, and educates others about environmental, economic, and social sustainability, aiming to create a community that is environmentally, economically, and socially sound “in Claremont and beyond.” Sustainable Claremont, which started in 2008, has orchestrated many events, such as tree plantings, workshops, and fundraisers.

The city’s General Plan requires that issues regarding the environment, social sustainability and economics be addressed. One of the suggestions in the plan was the formation of a citizen-led group. This group would work independently from the city, but collaborate with it for a more sustainable city. The City Sustainability Plan was put into action on Oct. 28, 2008, and Sustainable Claremont was created two months after. 11 years later, Sustainable Claremont has branched out to CUSD schools and non-profit organizations to further strengthen their cause.

“Personally, my favorite memory was working as a volunteer for Sustainable Claremont at the Earth Day & CicLAvia Celebration of 2018,” Angela Oakley, the Resource Center Coordinator of Sustainable Claremont said. “It was so incredible to see thousands of people of all ages and walks of life enjoying a public space like Arrow Highway in an active and socially connected way rather than just speeding through town in their cars. The things that struck me most were the number of strangers that were talking to each other and smiling and how quiet and pleasant human-powered ‘traffic’ can be compared to vehicle traffic.”

Recently, Sustainable Claremont joined hundreds of Claremont residents and millions around the world in the Global Climate Strike. The organization’s genuine concern for the environment fuels their avid cause.

“The urgent challenge of climate change requires that we all take personal actions and that we organize and work together to achieve collective impact,” Oakley said.

Sustainable Claremont’s partnership with CUSD schools aims to implement improved school meals, a “sustainability” curriculum, and reducing resource use. Their current projects include aiding schools in the formation and maintenance of school gardens and integrating environmental education into the CUSD curriculum.

Sustainable Claremont is not the only way students can get involved. CHS has various clubs that work to protect the environment. The president of the People Interested in Nurturing the Environment (PINE) Club Michael Judson gave some insight on the goal for the club this year. In the past, PINE Club mainly cared for the school garden and, after discovering its current state, Judson decided to revive the club.

“I always assumed that the garden was being maintained, but then I found out recently that it just kinda got overgrown,” Judson said. “My goal is to make it like a community garden where people can kinda go in and out as they please.”

Additionally, Judson has high hopes to be able to grow and sell crops from the garden this year. When asked about his motivation to start the club, Judson was nothing but enthusiastic.

“Last year was one of the most transformative years of my life,” Judson said. “I became more aware about the state of our environment. Mr. Gyorgyovich showed us videos of all these urban farming places across the nation. And so I thought about our garden. I was like, ‘What’s up with our garden?’ So I looked into it and it wasn’t being used at all. That was kind of like my inspiration; realizing that we had a garden and that it wasn’t being utilized properly.”

Caring for the environment is most definitely a weighty task, but Sustainable Claremont is up for the challenge. The organization has been tending to the well-being of the city’s environment and shows no signs of slowing down. The tentative suggestion that was planted 11 years ago has now blossomed into an organization that has made a name for itself, truly working towards a more sustainable Claremont.