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‘Green Up’ educates attendees

Hundreds show up for event at COC in Valencia to learn about sustainability

Posted: October 12, 2013 10:52 p.m.
Updated: October 12, 2013 10:52 p.m.

About 300 people turned out Saturday to learn more about sustainability during an event held at College of the Canyons.

The event, called Green Up: Community Action and Education, was held at the COC Valencia campus and put on by college officials and the Santa Clarita Environmental Education Consortium.

Attendees were able to visit a variety of presentations and activities, including a gardening workshop, live shows featuring animals from the Placerita Canyon Nature Center and forums on sustainable products.

Geoffrey Chase, dean of undergraduate studies and the director of the Center for Regional Sustainability at San Diego State University, delivered the keynote speech at the event, speaking on the importance of linking sustainability efforts with higher education.

“I think the challenges we face are significant,” he said. “So we really need to change education to prepare students for those challenges.”

These include potential issues such as global warming, an increasingly constrained water supply and further encroachment on natural habitats.

By teaching students to recognize the impacts of those issues, they may be able to address them, Chase said.

“It’s how we do it,” he said. “It’s not whether we do it.”

The title sponsor of the event was the Santa Clarita Valley Family of Water Suppliers, a group that includes the Castaic Lake Water Agency, Newhall County Water District, Santa Clarita Water Division and Valencia Water Company.

The event provided a way for the group to push a message of water conservation, said Robert McLaughlan, customer service and water efficiency coordinator for the Newhall County Water District.

Large displays showing the amount of water it takes to make cheeseburgers — more than 600 gallons for the meat patty alone — and a large, inflatable water jug detailing the average monthly water usage for a Santa Clarita Valley family — 17,204 gallons — were on hand to outline how much water goes into modern conveniences.

These include the lush, green lawns that are so prevalent in Southern California.

“People don’t realize that, according to estimates, up to 70 percent of your water is used outside,” McLaughlan said.

To promote water conservation, the Santa Clarita Valley Family of Water Suppliers offers rebate programs to encourage people to upgrade to more water and energy-efficient sprinklers and appliances.

Events like Saturday’s also help to get the word out.

“Water conservation’s not just about today,” McLaughlan said. “It’s about tomorrow, it’s about the future.”


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