Joy to the World

2014-Environmental-Leader-of-Marin-Awardees.jpg

News of climate change, species extinction, another fracking operation–– not exactly my idea of a Santa Wish List. So how do we find joy when there's so much bad news, well, in the news?

Last week, Bruce and I attended an award ceremony organized by Catriona MacGregor to honor local environmental leaders in Marin County. Listening to the amazing work people are doing in our communities, and the profound impact their work is having, has kept me buoyed up ever since.

Case in point, the gold medal award winner, Megan Isadore, for her work with the River Otter Ecology Project. Absent for decades, river otters, a charismatic apex predator in our local watersheds, are coming back. To date, thanks to Megan and her team of volunteers, the ROEP has documented nearly 900 river otter sightings throughout the Bay Area. Our local watershed restoration and conservation policies are working. That's joyful news.

And what about the SolEd Benefit Corporation, honored with a Silver Medal, for its work developing low-cost solar energy solutions for schools, universities, municipalities, and large non-profits. After the finances are paid off, the fuel is free. SolEd isn't in business to raise their stock prices, but to serve the community. That's joyful news.

Jennie Lynn Pardi, a teacher, was also awarded a silver medal for her work in reducing--with an aim to eliminating--waste. According to her husband, whom I talked with before the award ceremony, Jennie has been passionate about reducing, reusing, and, as she puts it, "refusing," since she was a young girl in high school. Thanks to her passion, some schools have eliminated 80% of their waste, more organic gardens are being planted, and big local events, like the Marin County Fair, are almost waste free. That's joyful news.

So what's happening in your community that brings joy to your world? Please share your thoughts here, and let's make this a season worth celebrating!