By A.J. Herrington
Neighborhood group South Park Climate Solutions will be hosting a vegetarian potluck as its monthly meeting at a private home on Thursday, Nov. 9. Local residents are invited, and encouraged to visit the group’s Facebook page to RSVP or get more information.
The group was formed in January by South Park resident Paul Hormick. He has a master’s degree in environmental science and policy, and works as a native plant horticulturist at the Living Coast Discovery Center in Chula Vista.
“What we’re trying to do is work together to encourage ourselves to take upon practices that reduce our carbon footprint,” Hormick said, when asked about the goals of the grass-roots organization.
Noting that South Park has a community-oriented feeling, Hormick said he believes that it’s the perfect place to bring neighbors together to discuss how individuals can address climate change in their own homes.
South Park resident Jennifer Hart is a member of the group, and has adopted many “green” practices for her household, including composting and growing a vegetable garden. She’ll be attending the potluck, and is planning to cook a vegan chick pea curry, with peppers and tomatoes grown at home. Hart prepares several vegetarian meals a week, and curries are a favorite because they are versatile, flavorful and easy to make.
“You can add whatever produce is in season and easily change up the flavor profile to match your cravings. Now that fall has arrived, I have pumpkin curry on my mind,” she said.
Group leader Hormick noted that reducing meat consumption is a great way for many households to reduce their carbon footprint. About 16 percent of the greenhouse gases produced in the United States are from agricultural activities, and beef is one of the largest contributors.
“One pound of beef throws the equivalent of 30 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere,” Hormick said. Going meatless one day a week can have as much impact on climate change as switching from a traditional gasoline-powered car to a hybrid.
At last month’s meeting, held at wine bar The Rose in South Park, Hormick shared many other ways individuals can be a part of the climate change solution. Switching incandescent light bulbs to LEDs, and drying laundry on a clothesline or a rack are easy and cost-efficient ways to make a difference. Reducing water use can also help, because 20 percent of California’s carbon emissions come from transporting water throughout the state. Installing rooftop solar, although requiring a substantial initial investment, reduces the need for electricity produced by fossil fuels.
Opportunities for the residents of South Park to come together and act as a community were also discussed. Members of South Park Climate Solutions have encouraged the local restaurants to offer vegan or vegetarian options on their menus, to help people reduce their consumption of meat. The adequacy of public transportation options for the neighborhood was discussed. A plan to pool resources and purchase LEDs in bulk to save money was also suggested.
— A.J. Harrington is a local writer.