They're practically invisible to the general public, but hundreds of Mar Vistans contribute anywhere from 10 hours per day to 10 hours per year to help reduce our community’s carbon footprint. These committed volunteers keep the Green Tent at the running smoothly, recruit homeowners to participate in the annual and organize events such as the Wise Power Use and Wise Water Use Expos.
A new crop of green volunteers has recently joined forces with the and the Mar Vista Community Council to turn this year’s Mar Vista Community Fall Festival on October 15 at the Mar Vista Rec Center into a zero-waste event.
When our volunteers help the community they also help themselves. The health benefits of volunteering are well-documented, and if these benefits could be put into pill form, most people would demand a prescription immediately. Volunteers live longer, suffer less from depression and have a lower incidence of heart disease. Current research even suggests that altruism is a sign of evolution.
More difficult to quantify but equally significant are the benefits expressed by these local, long-term environmental volunteers:
Susan Weissman - volunteers at the Mar Vista Farmers' Market Green Tent: "I'm actually quite shy but as a volunteer I find I can approach people with ease and discuss environmental issues. In the process, I've learned to live in a more environmentally responsible way."
Joe Treves - sets up the Green Tent and assists with Expos:
"It got me out of my regular life pattern opened me up to a larger sense of community. It's almost like having an extended family. "
Susan Feinstein-Black - participates in Green Committee meetings and acts as an advisor for the Green Garden Showcase:
"When you're retired like I am, volunteering gives structure, much like a job/career does, with the advantage that it doesn't consume anywhere near 40 to 50 hours per week."
Paula Waxman - an "honorary" Mar Vistan and co-chair of the South Robertson Green team, partners with the Mar Vista Green Committee to share ideas and donate materials:
“Volunteering is what I do to reduce my anxiety. Working with smart, caring, proactive people keeps my demons away and gives me hope.”
There are many benefits to volunteering in the green community. Stop by the Green Tent on Sundays at the Mar Vista Farmers' Market between 8:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. or email me to learn about green volunteering opportunities suited to your skills and temperment.
Jeanne Kuntz combines sustainable living with health and wellness. Learn more about successful behavior change on her website, TeachingWellness.com