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Published March 30th, 2022
Orinda grants student's wish: adopts Sustainable Orinda challenge

The Orinda City Council happily agreed to a request from a Miramonte student on March 15 to join Sustainable Contra Costa with a Sustainable Orinda Challenge. The cost to the city will be $1,500. The matter came before the council after an appearance at an earlier city council meeting by Kaitlyn Roach, president of the Miramonte Climate Action Club. Roach, as well as Laura Wehrley of Sustainable Contra Costa, were on hand to answer questions.
Former Mayor Victoria Smith, unable to attend the meeting owing to a conflicting engagement, wrote the city council a letter, supporting the proposal. "While our neighbors in Lamorinda have long had Sustainable Moraga and Sustainable Lafayette," she wrote, "we have not, until now, had a grassroots organization in Orinda to focus on sustainability. As a member of the Contra Costa County Sustainability Commission, I have received inquiries from many Orinda residents about ways in which they could be involved in sustainability issues; I think Orinda's participation in this program would be a good way for residents to get involved."
The council was clearly delighted to have students involved in this issue and participating in local government. Mayor Dennis Fay commented that it was "so admirable on the part of our high school students. I hope that this will continue. I completely understand," he said, "why this is so important to young people: this is their planet."
Orinda resident Nick Waranoff, however, opposed the proposed project, suggesting instead that Orinda should partner with Caltrans for "Adopt a Highway," and enlist Miramonte students to actually pick up trash, and use the money for supplies.
According to the staff report, the $1,500 fee will be put toward creating a Landing Page on the Cleaner Contra Costa Challenge (after the city provides a picture of the city and a tagline like "Let's get sustainable together"). In addition, the fee will allow Sustainable Contra Costa to help with outreach to different groups to educate on the platform like schools, youth commissions, eco clubs, churches and Rotary clubs. Sustainable Contra Costa gives reporting back to the city regarding results of carbon/gas/water/money savings and gives messaging that the city can post to social media or e-newsletters regarding sustainability actions. In addition, Sustainable Contra Costa can post messaging that the city wants them to announce to their audience.

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