Today we are happy to highlight our newest member group, Clean Fairfax, an organization out of Virginia that is changing what 'green' means to the area. We spoke to Sam Raasch, program coordinator, to learn more about this group and what makes them unique. With an active Facebook group to connect with the community, programs in multiple fields, and plenty of volunteer opportunities, this organization has much to share with its neighborhood.
Tell us about your organization and your mission.
The mission of Clean Fairfax is to encourage environmental stewardship and urban sustainability in Fairfax County, Virginia, through education, programming, and community involvement. Clean Fairfax seeks to reduce littering and to encourage recycling, reusing and reducing consumption, promote community action by supporting clean-ups and adopt-a-spots, and serve as a clearinghouse for environmental information in Fairfax County. We also coordinate Springfest, Fairfax County’s official Earth and Arbor Day event.
What is one of your current projects you are the most excited about?
Clean Fairfax’s Clean Streams Initiative is our favorite excuse to get outside. The Initiative, which is a partnership with Fairfax County’s Department of Public Works and Environmental Services, is a program that engages with the local environmental community to quantify litter pollution in local streams. It’s our hope that years of monitoring litter pollution (and cleaning it up) will help the community develop creative and sustainable ways to reduce the amount of litter in Fairfax’s streams through outreach and education to the public.
What issue area do you hope to focus on more of in the future?
In the future, we hope to focus on consumption reduction. Conservation starts at home, in the supermarket, at school and at work. We want to help people make daily decisions within the framework of sustainability. Do I need to put these bananas in a plastic bag? Do I need to buy this 48 pack of disposable water bottles when the tap water at home is much cheaper and just as safe? Should I order the steak, the fish or the salad? Should I wash these dishes by hand? This bread has passed its sell-by date…should I automatically throw it out? Can I recycle this wrapper? These are the everyday decisions that quickly add up to a sustainable or unsustainable lifestyle.
What do you hope to gain from being a member of the Coalition?
Clean Fairfax is an advocate for clean water, so being part of a coalition of like-minded organizations is an obvious benefit. We hope to use our time in the Coalition to learn more about the issues that impact our community, as well as how to address said issues.