It was a rainy day here in Southern California last Friday, but the mood at the Environmental Sustainability Conference held at Newport Mesa Church on the Vanguard University campus was bright and hopeful. About what? That businesses will start embracing an environmental-friendly philosophy.
Enactus, a student environmental advocacy group, welcomed business leaders, community residents, and students who gathered to listen to experts address the increasing global concerns over the harmful impact businesses have had on the planet. Keynote speaker Martin Diedrich, of Kéan Coffee, and other guest speakers discussed ways to implement sustainable business practices while not adversely impacting their bottom line.
Vanguard junior Elizabeth Vasquez, who served as coordinator for the conference said, “I feel the event overall was a success and that everyone wanted to be there and they walked away with a greater knowledge about sustainability.”
Guest speaker and sponsor Becky Rosaler, with Plant with Purpose, said “Last year I attended and it inspired me to get a degree in sustainability. Now I am back as a speaker for Plant with Purpose.
Feedback from students and attendees were also extremely positive. One attendee said, “I was not going to stay for the entire conference, but it was so good I stayed till the end!”
“I learned a lot of new information such as composting and food waste, that we can actually do ourselves!” said another attendee.
Vasquez added, ” All of our speakers had a fully engaged audience, and so did our exhibitors. It was obvious to our guest that our speakers and exhibitors were doing something they loved. The speakers were thrilled to speak about what they are doing to help the environment and to educate about current environmental issues. The success of this conference is motivating me to be the project coordinator for next year’s conference and make it even better!”
When asked what he found particularly memorable about the event, Michael Newton, co-founder of one of the sponsors, Guayaki, said, “the invaluable perspective offered up from Martin Diedrich, revealing the passion he has for his coffee, along with the respect he has for his growers, and the struggles he encountered when bringing the family business public. He confirmed for me the simple rewards in having a more locally-focussed business with Kéan Coffee and maintaining a close watch on their offerings and impact on the planet. Additionally, I quite enjoyed the variety of positive organizations that tabled at the event which brought a range of great programs, products, and initiatives to create a more harmonious society.”
- Sponsors included:
- Kéan Coffee, a purveyor of fresh-roasted artisan coffee the way it is meant to be, in a beautiful, eclectic coffeehouse environment.
- Fit for Green, which partners with companies that retrofit gym equipment so that energy created by users can be captured
- Costa Mesa Sanitary District, which provides curbside trash collection and sewer services to residents in the city of Costa Mesa, portions of Newport Beach and unincorporated sections of Orange County
- Pasadena Heritage, which strives to identify, preserve and protect the historic, architectural, and cultural resources of the City of Pasadena through advocacy, education, and oral histories
- Gray Designs, a company environmentalist Patricia Gray founded to showcase her art which includes: Mixed Media, Oil, Watercolor, Ceramic Tile and Upcycle Art including glass slumping
- Plant with Purpose, a Christian, environmental non-profit organization that transforms lives in rural areas worldwide where poverty is caused by deforestation
- OC Green Drinks, which organizes a casual, monthly get together for anyone and everyone interested in chatting about and advocating all things “green”.
- Center for Living Peace, a non-profit peace education center dedicated to empowering people to make Good Happen and be part of the solution in their local community
- Guayake Yerba Mate, a stimulant from the South American Atlantic Rainforest that encompasses the strong energizing effects of coffee, more antioxidants than green tea and the euphoric qualities of dark chocolate
Featured Speakers included:
- Jesse Baker, founder, Ecofficiency
- Becky Rosaler, marketing and events coordinator, Plant With Purpose
- John Spirko, founder and chief executive officer, Fit For Green
- Dr. Francene Caplin, professor and certified master composter
- Claire Cummings, west coast fellow, Bon Appétit Management Company Foundation