Thursday, October 13, 2011

Be EcoPositive - Meeting Change Head-On with the Environment in Mind

Change is constant and sometimes overwhelming, but if you focus on little things, occasionally you can have a positive impact.

An international corporation has purchased two of our local shopping malls and for the past 5 years, or more, they have been working on a project to create a shopping "Village" with a network of walkways and mixed use areas that would connect the two remodeled malls. Many long-time residents of our suburb were up-in-arms. The increase of traffic and people was not welcome. 

I went to the planning meetings that were open to the public and I must give credit to the local city counsel office and the multi-national corporation for giving the local residents an opportunity to speak.

From the very first meeting I realized this change was coming. Whether I liked it or not, a shopping "Village" was going to be built. What could I do to make this change more ecopositive? I've seen similar projects by this owner in other areas of the city and the world. They usually are well laid out with beautiful landscaping. But one thing stood out to me, the landscaping was sterile; there were no native plants.

At that first meeting comment boards were put up around the auditorium with ideas pre-printed on them. We were all given stickers to express our priorities for the items that were important to us, green for positive, red for negative. We were encouraged to add ideas as well. I walked up to the comment board with the heading "Landscaping" and I wrote "Native plants that will be drought tolerant and provide habitat."

As I wrote, someone beside me said, "Yeah, why not?" If there was going to be new landscaping, why not restore habitat for birds and butterflies with native plants. I watched the green stickers of support multiply. This was an ecopositive suggestion with no downside.

I stayed on the mailing list and any time opinions were solicited I continued my mantra, "Native plants in landscaping."

The project has been through many transformations and slowed with the economic situation, but yesterday I saw a full page add in a local paper titled "Sustainability at the The Village, Coming Soon!" Change is moving forward. There were three bullet points on the page. The third one started "Native landscaping..."

There are little victories in making a positive difference. When it is an ecopositive difference all living things benefit.

1 comment:

Cindy said...

This is very cool, that they went with your suggestion!