Welcome to Viva-city and Downtown San Diego
Sandra Simmons

Life in the City

-by Sandra Simmons

The 21st Century’s 3-R’s: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.

Once upon a time in a land far, far away, young people from socially privileged California universities grew tired of their counter-cultural, drug-induced state and fled to a place filled with lush old-growth forests, water aplenty, and crisp, fresh air.

In this pure and wondrous land, the flower children began a new life. Long before the buzz words “green”, “eco-friendly,” and “sustainable living” floated freely off corporate tongues, they lived a life of environmental conservation.

All was well, or so it seemed. Then one day, the big, bad tax collector appeared on their commune doorstep. The earth muffins and tree huggers soon discovered their granola life wasn’t so “sustainable” after all.

They quickly gathered up their organic produce, fresh herbs, jars of clover honey, and finely crafted blackberry wines and ventured to urban centers, where they began establishing farmer’s markets.

Before long, these markets led to health food stores, coffee houses, and bookstores, and the free-spirits morphed into respected business and civic leaders.

These erstwhile bohemians focused on growing their businesses, raising children, buying new cars, and for the most part, stayed busy consuming.

In a blink of an eye, nearly forty years passed. Though Californians are touted as being leaders of social change in America, we are also infamously known for our excess consumption.

Do you know that San Diegans throw out enough recyclables to completely fill Petco Park five times over each year? That our city landfill will most likely be full and closed in 2012? And, if we don’t recycle at least 50% of our waste products, the state could fine our city $10,000 a day?

I wonder... Is there a happily ever after ending?

It seems most of my neighbors began a recycling program long before the city ordinance required.

Horizons was the first ever multi-family complex to be honored with Recycler of the Year in 2005. The following year, once again the award winner, they increased their recycling by 50% and saved thousand in disposal costs. Mike Weinberg is proud of his community’s accomplishments.

Blue recycling bins are placed next to each garage elevator lobby to make it not only handy to recycle, but a constant reminder to do so. The program has been quite successful according to Dennis Payne at Market Street Village.

Matthew Nelson (1045 E St) is excited that a new market for green industries is emerging. To ensure the sustainability of our species and environment, he believes we need to cut our consumption and give our natural resources time to regenerate.

The year 2008 begins a long overdue recycling strategy. On February 11, apartment and condominium buildings with 100 units or more are required to recycle plastic and glass bottles and jars, paper, newspaper, cardboard, and metal containers. By February 11, 2010, everyone will be required to recycle.

Now it’s time for all of us to become stewards of our precious planet and we will live happily ever after. -February 2008

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