January 18, 2023
Written By David Goldstein
George Doran was the first to say goals should be “SMART.” His mnemonic acronym for goals, in the November 1981 issue of Management Review, said goals should be specific, measurable, assignable, realistic and time-related.
While various adjustments have slightly changed the acronym since then — the last three words now are more commonly “attainable, relevant and timely” — the application of Doran’s wisdom has broadened from business management to a variety of other areas. This clear thinking about achievement of goals was one of the factors making an environmental outreach campaign stand out from other grant applications when Camarillo Library Director Mandy Nasr proposed the “Cam I Am Sustainable” initiative.
For the initiative, which features a series of workshop-oriented programs to be presented at the library through partnerships with important people and organizations, the city of Camarillo was awarded a $17,325 grant by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under a program administered in California by the State Librarian.
The workshops are all practical, interesting, and oriented toward building environmental awareness through encouraging small changes in people’s lives. “Asking people to go vegan or to literally get to zero waste just turns them off,” Nasr told me. “Instead, we are starting with fun and engaging small activities meant to spur more actions.”
Last Saturday, Jan. 15, the presenter was Anne-Marie Bonneau, author of The Zero-Waste Chef Cookbook, who shared cooking and kitchen management tips for a successful and sustainable home and planet. In congruence with Nasr’s statement, Bonneau emphasized the promotional pitch she also included on the online order page for her cookbook, explaining, “Zero waste is, above all, an intention, not . . . a rule . . . While one person eliminating all their waste is great, if thousands of people do 20 percent better it will have a much bigger impact on the planet.”
Many of Bonneau’s tips are simple and save money. For example, she recommends eliminating plastic wrap by simply inverting a plate over leftovers. She has recipes for items others might discard, such as
making Mexican hot chocolate bread pudding out of a loaf of bread no longer fresh enough to be delicious by itself. She no longer buys bread, instead using the same sourdough starter she has used for nine years.
On Saturday, Bonneau also focused on fermenting foods and using up all ingredients. She gave away symbiotic cultures of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY), instructing attendees how use to the microbial mat to turn sugars into alcohol, carbon dioxide and acids. This is used to produce kombucha drinks, loaded with probiotics.
For those unable to attend Bonneau’s presentation, additional environmental education and information about her ongoing work, including her online blog, can be found at www.zerowastechef.com.
Last month, a guest post on Bonneau’s blog by similar activist/chef Brigitte Gemme referred to cooking as an “act of love.” Particularly addressing those who hate to cook, her essay makes a clever case against the packaged, prepared foods steadily gaining popularity due to convenience and (sweet or salty) taste. As she notes, these foods sometimes sacrifice more important considerations, such as health and opportunities for family-building collaboration. Starting with a message like Gemme’s would probably turn off many people who could be better reached after being drawn in by a cooking workshop at a public library.
Each month, from January to June 2023, the “Cam I Am Sustainable” series will focus on select topics such as composting, upcycling, food waste prevention, water conservation and solar energy. Additional dates and times, not yet listed on the library’s website (www.camarillolibrary.org), and open to non-Camarillo residents as well, include:
Jan. 22, 1 p.m., Community Room: Upcycling with kidSTREAM (Ages 5-12)
Teach your kids about sustainability through hands-on activities like upcycling. Bring an empty cereal box to be decorated and upcycled into a mask. kidSTREAM will demonstrate how taking care of our planet builds creative thinking skills, relationship skills, and leadership qualities.
Feb. 8, 4 p.m., Community Room: Composting 101
“Queen of Compost” Camila Guzman will discuss the benefits of composting and how you can get started from home, including a demonstration with real materials.
Feb. 12, 1 p.m.: Plant-Based Cooking at kidSTREAM (Ages 7-12)
Local chefs will present a plant-based cooking demonstration at kidSTREAM. Find out why it’s important for the planet to eat more plant-based foods. kidSTREAM is located at 3100 Ponderosa Drive, Camarillo.
March 9, 4 p.m., Community Room: Why is Sustainability Important?
In this panel, local leaders will give a talk about who they are, what they do, and why sustainability is important in our community.
April 17, 3 p.m., Teen Center: Upcycling with Recyle2Riches
Recycle2Riches founder Ashleigh Dawson will demonstrate how teens can turn old t-shirts into market bags.
David Goldstein, an Environmental Resource Analyst with the Ventura County Public Works Agency, can be reached at 805-658-4312 or firstname.lastname@example.org.