Enthusiasm and citizen involvement have been hallmarks of the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition since its founding, and those attributes were in ample supply Thursday at the organization’s annual meeting.
Nearly 100 people packed the main meeting room of the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library for the gathering, which provided an update on projects by the coalition’s 12 action teams, which cover community initiatives in food, energy, water, waste prevention, economic vitality, land use, health and more.
“That’s the spirit of this group. There’s a can-do attitude,” said coalition member Karen Kos.
The coalition is a network of organizations and individuals that was formed in 2007 to bring together businesses, nonprofit organizations, faith communities, educational institutions and government entities to accelerate the creation of a sustainable community.
The group has become a model for other Oregon communities that have sought out the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition for advice, and the group was featured at the fall League of Oregon Cities conference in Eugene during a panel on “getting citizens involved.”
Participation is open to anyone in the Corvallis community who supports its mission.
There’s no exact number on membership, but about 1,000 people are signed up to get online updates from the coalition’s action teams. About 185 organizations have joined the coalition as partners, including groups as diverse as the Corvallis-Benton Chamber Coalition, Oregon State University Student Sustainability Initiative, and the League of Women Voters of Corvallis.
Action teams for economic vitality, transportation and community involvement are relaunching and gearing up for projects right now.
At the meeting, coalition leader Annette Mills also rehashed several organizational achievements in the last year, including earning nonprofit status, which will help the group apply for additional grants and allow donations to the group to be claimed as tax-deductible.
At the close of the meeting, Mills reflected on the coalition’s work to date and the work still ahead: “I would like to say “thank you” to all of you for recognizing the importance of building a sustainable community — for understanding that we are in the midst of a great transition. We are starting to see the limits of what the earth can provide. The signs are all around us. We can choose to ignore these signs and wait until we are forced to react. Or we can seize the opportunity to work together to create a sustainable community and a sustainable world. No one knows for sure what a sustainable world will look like. But the promise of low-impact, high-quality lives for our children and grandchildren is too important an opportunity to ignore.”
Next up for the coalition is an annual town hall meeting, scheduled for 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, March 9, at the CH2M Hill Alumni Center. A sustainability fair will start at 5 p.m.
For more information on the coalition, action teams or the March meeting, see www.sustainablecorvallis.org.