Guest speaker from LA inspires women to be environmentally active

GVL / Amanda Greenwood 

Panelist Mary Brown (left) speaks with Elissa Hillary and Lisa Starner (right)emphasizing the importance of environmental sustainability

Amanda Greenwood

GVL / Amanda Greenwood Panelist Mary Brown (left) speaks with Elissa Hillary and Lisa Starner (right)emphasizing the importance of environmental sustainability

Ellie Phillips

Roxana Tynan, executive director of Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE), spoke before 170 people at the Women and the Environment Symposium Friday about her experience moving LA into a more sustainable direction.

LAANE, which aims to give people a better work environment and thus a better future, reached a milestone November when the LA City Council approved its project geared toward transforming the waste and recycling industry.

The project involves what Tynan calls the “blueprint for real economic recovery,” and it starts with public investment, smart regulation and reform. This reform begins in the movement of ports and goods, from there goes to construction careers, then to energy efficiency, then the creation of livable cities, which leads to tourism regeneration, then grocery reinvestment to waste and recycling, and finally to green manufacturing. The sequence Tynan describes becomes a circle, perpetuating itself. The end result of the project is expected to create good jobs, effective government regulation and a greener, healthier future for the people in LA.

“Half the battle to making change is actually implementing it,” Tynan said. “The only way you can really make change is by bringing in as many people as possible.”

Four workshops were available at the symposium, as well. The first was Herbal Medicine, which gave a Great Lakes Bioregional Perspective on practical ways to integrate natural, local herbal medicines into people’s lives, diminishing their carbon footprint and their medical bills. The second workshop centered on “fracking,” the controversial process of creating fractures in rocks and rock formations by injecting fluid into cracks to force them further open.

Another workshop was called “Patching the Cracks” and focused on the topic of a new interactive process created by the Local FIRST Team, which is intended to identify and prioritize gaps in the local economy. The process will also help discover new venues for green and sustainable business and commercial ventures.

The final workshop was “Personal Planning.” Participants in this workshop were guided through a process of naming their values and analyzing the seven core aspects of their lives to help them create positive changes in their lifestyles and their communities.

Several local women were honored at the Symposium for their contributions to the sustainability efforts in West Michigan. These individuals fell under three categories: Vision, Inspiration and Hope.

In the first category, Karen Scarpino, Mary Jane Dockeray, Kathy Evans and Janet Vail were honored for their past works that had positive impacts on the environment.

In the second, Angela Topp, Renae Hesselink, Annoesjka Steinman, Dottie Clune, Suzanne Dixon, Deborah Steketee, Jennifer Evans, Gail Gunst Heffner, Courtney Myers-Keaton, Gayle DeBruyn, Kirsten Bartels, Andrea Marz, Erin Skidmore, Lisa Rose Starner and Gail Greco-Bieri were honored for their current work in protecting the environment.

The final group of women have projects in the works to promote sustainability in the future as environmental activists: Angela Topp, Anna DeBraber, Danielle Ostafinski, Jennifer Holt, Kolene Allen, Rachael Hamilton and Sarah Chartier.

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