Environmental group “I Love A Clean San Diego” works to locally beautify
The discussion of environmental issues is often too focused on large-scale solutions. Whether that scale is national or international, it may make some feel as though there is little that they can do to make their community better at a more local level. However, there are many groups within your community working every day to better your city that may be getting overshadowed by the grander discussion on climate change. For example, I Love a Clean San Diego, or ILACSD, has been around to serve the community since 1954 when it was founded as the San Diego War Against Litter Committee. “I Love a Clean San Diego” became the organization’s slogan during the 1970s, and in 1980 it adopted that name. According to their mission statement, ILACSD “leads and inspires our community to actively conserve and enhance the environment through example, outreach, and local involvement.” In doing so, they hope to achieve their vision of a “zero waste, litter-free, and environmentally engaged San Diego region.” The nonprofit seems dedicated to doing all they can in an effort to attain its goal, which includes involving the community in its efforts. Nikolas Kennedy, the community events coordinator for ILACSD, schedules, staffs and coordinates the community events that the organization regularly holds. “We have always maintained a really strong core mission to beautify San Diego and beautify the whole region,” Kennedy said. “We work on educational campaigns and work on different aspects like that.” Kennedy is well versed in the different functions of ILACSD because if the organization holds an event, it certainly has passed through his desk at some point. “ We have always had community litter clean-ups, and we have always focused things on the coast to try to trap things before they enter the Pacific Ocean,” Kennedy said. “Our large focus over the past decade has been cleaning up the beaches, beautifying our coastline and making sure everyone understands that when they are at the beach there's a strong nexus between the land and the water.” According to Kennedy, this awareness is important because liter can often travel from the east to the west through different communities as it snowballs towards the ocean. So, trapping litter near the coast is important because it is the last chance before it's swallowed into the ocean. However, ILACSD does not only focus on the frontlines. “The last few years we have really become more of an organization that focuses on the entire region, which includes inland areas and, specifically, our watershed spaces,” Kennedy said. Events that bring the community out to areas that appear to need some help is one of the primary functions that ILACSD serves. To name a few, the group often hosts cleanups at beaches, communities, and canyons. However, this nonprofit organization also holds events to better educate the community on the current condition of the region, and they have recently started to increase educational efforts of practical ways to better the community at the individual level. “We do not just do educational presentations in classrooms around the county for all different age groups, but we have also increased our level of workshops,” Kennedy said. “We have been moving towards a focus of teaching sustainability, zero waste, composting and proper sorting of materials.” Kennedy acknowledges that the practices that many already do, like recycling, are ways to lessen the damage that excess waste can cause to the environment. However, he said that they have their limitations, and it is important that more is done to further the goal of a cleaner San Diego. “We are lucky to have recycling as an option, but it is not the 100 percent solution, as it can only go so far,” Kennedy said. “Eventually the quality of things being recycled and the materials being recycled has a limit.” With this focus in mind, ILACSD’s workshops often focus on how to best limit the waste that an individual contributes to the world in the first place, which can be done through many ways, such as reducing packaging, buying in bulk, and buying things already produced instead of items that are produced once your order them. “I think that everything starts small,” Kennedy said. “Even at a young age, anyone can make a choice to purchase something with less packaging, purchase something locally produced, and volunteering within the community.” ILACSD aims to help people understand the environmental issues that may be facing their community, and it provides avenues for people to help solve those problems on a local level.
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