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Sustainability is focus of Hot Spots lecture

Jennahway Huerta
Staff Writer

“We are a waste culture,” said Christopher Veirs, senior planner and sustainability coordinator for the city of Claremont, during a lecture last week at the University of La Verne.

Veirs’ lecture, “Think Global, Act Local: Claremont’s Response to Sustainability,” part of the Hot Spots lecture series, focused on Claremont’s environmental efforts.

During the lecture on Feb. 24 in the President’s Dining Room, Veirs explained Claremont’s goals to address resource conservation, environmental and public health, transportation and more topics.

“The goal is to get people to change their daily habits and to increase community knowledge,” Veirs said.

Claremont’s definition of sustainability, Veirs said, involves the city and its residents meeting the needs of the present economy, society and the environment, sustaining for future generations.

The first goal he discussed was resource conservation, which he explained deals with water and wastewater. In this area, he set the goal for Claremont to reduce is water use by 20 percent by 2012.

Veirs told the audience that statewide transportation of water accounts for 20 percent of energy use in California.

Claremont imports half of its water, Veirs said. So cutting water use would also substantially decrease greenhouse gas emissions.

Veirs also addressed transportation, explaining the importance of promoting public transit and greener transportation alternatives.

Being more friendly to public and alternative transit includes creating safer crossings, putting bus stops in pleasant locations and creating incentives for employees who walk, ride their bikes or take public transportation to work instead of using their own cars.

Another component of creating a greener community is using environmental building design.

“The goal is to have buildings meet LEED standards,” Veirs said.

New city facilities goals will hope to gain LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, gold certifications.

The plan also includes educating homeowners and assisting in water audits.

Claremont also hopes to maintain and restore its open space and preserve the “urban forests.”

As for housing, Veirs said the goal is to “diversify housing opportunities,” while maintaining neighborhood identities and Claremont’s history and heritage.

The key to the program’s overall success will be education to increase community knowledge and involvement in these important efforts, Veirs said.

“Everyone was very impressed with what they heard,” Al Clark, associate vice president of academic affairs, said.

“I think as we develop our future building (projects) at the University of La Verne, we want to use as many green technologies as possible so to promote sustainability in the area,” Clark added.

Veirs visited the University of La Verne and everyone was welcomed to listen to his informative presentation called, “Hot Spots.”

About 20 people attended this 11:30 a.m. presentation, including faculty, administrators and city officials.

Veirs mentioned Christopher Veirs presentation reached out to ULV and hopefully continues to reach out to more cities to become more eco-friendly.

“It was a really interesting presentation. It is exciting to see cities move into a wave of culture change,” Kristin Howland, secretary for the department of history and political science said.

The 2011 Claremont Earth Day Celebration is Saturday, April 30, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Claremont Village.

Jennahway Huerta can be reached at jennahway.huerta@laverne.edu.

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