By Jim Henkelman-Bahn
Member, Riderwood Sustainability Project
Sustainability has become central in the awareness and thinking of the residents and staff of Riderwood Village. Two years ago, the Riderwood Sustainability Committee (RSC) was created to build on the efforts of residents and management in past years. Half the members of the committee are residents and half are Riderwood staff members. Their purpose is to move forward our shared vision of protecting and enhancing the ecosystems that support life at Riderwood, regionally, and globally, today and in the future.
Five subcommittees work consistently to Reduce/Renew/Recycle/Reuse. The following examples represent different categories of the subcommittees’ accomplishments:
Communication: Including the “Sustainability Corner” and other articles in the monthly Reporter.
Dining: Continually increasing vegetarian and vegan dining options; providing straws at meals only if requested; working toward all food carry-out containers to be recyclable.
Energy: Electric vehicle chargers have been installed; much more efficient LED lights have been installed in parking lots; management has partnered with Era Building Solutions to investigate strategies for solar installation and energy efficiency – cost savings have already been realized; the partnership with Lyft increases mobility without the use of private cars.
Habitat: The Gazebo pond enhancement is underway; a butterfly garden has been reestablished; a proposal for sustainable bird feeding has been implemented.
Recycling: Educating residents about recycling has been re-established. The new publicity helps clarify recycling procedures with an emphasis on composting.
The Riderwood Village Earth Day in April continues to be an important annual event that informs residents and staff about current sustainability happenings. Our partnership with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation is an excellent connection and provides an important source for learning and opportunity for action. The Residents Supporting Sustainability group, co-sponsoring with other organizations, continues to bring documentaries and other learning opportunities to Riderwood.
Mickey Thaxton and I have been the co-chairs of the RSC this past year. Dick Dowd and Mickey will be the co-chairs in 2018-19. The challenge in the coming year is to continue the important work of the subcommittees and take them to a new level of implementation as we move toward reducing our contribution to global warming. It is an exciting and critical journey for all of us.