Sustainability Corner: One Year on the Journey

By Jim Henkelman-Bahn
Co-Chair, Riderwood Sustainability Committee

The Riderwood Sustainability Committee has completed its first year on the journey toward sustainability at Riderwood Village and beyond. We are a group of six residents and six staff members, chaired by Gary Hibbs and myself throughout the past year. We hold the vision of protecting and enhancing the ecosystems that support life at Riderwood, regionally and globally. That’s a daunting challenge.

We organized ourselves into subcommittees to look at sustainability issues in Dining, Solar Energy, Communications, Recycling, and Habitat. At our September meeting, we reviewed our accomplishments for the year.

We agreed that our most important accomplishment was raising the awareness of sustainability issues in all of our consciousness, so that all decisions are made with the future of Riderwood Village and Planet Earth in mind. Our influence is spreading upward to the corporate level and we have enhanced the education of the residents here at Riderwood. Although we have not yet implemented our top priority to incorporate solar energy into our community, we have laid the groundwork for that to happen. Here are some other highlights:

– Completion and premiere of the 20-minute video “Riderwood: A Socially Responsible Community” in conjunction with Riderwood TV
– Beginning a partnership with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation
– Achieving the Gold Achievement Award from Montgomery County for recycling 18 million pounds of recyclable material
– A successful 2017 Riderwood Village Earth Day in April
– Revitalization of the Weed Warriors, who remove invasive plants from our habitat
– Developed a proposal for reintroducing environmentally appropriate bird feeders on campus
– Shifting to more energy efficient LED lights
– Reduction of food wastes and water usage
– Expanding vegetarian and vegan offerings on our menus
– Regular communications with the community through the Sustainability Corner of The Reporter
– Many educational programs for residents sponsored by the residents
– Supporting Sustainability and other campus groups

These are the highlights; There are additional ongoing and new initiatives taking place. There is much to do as we continue our journey toward sustainability.

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