Sustainable living course offered to Williston residents (9/17/09)

Sept. 17, 2009

By Tim Simard

Observer staff

A six-week seminar meant to help Williston residents pursue more environmentally-friendly lifestyles begins next week at Dorothy Alling Memorial Library.

Called “Choices for Sustainable Living,” the course is free and open to Williston residents. It starts at 6 p.m. on Sept. 23 and is due to wrap up on Oct. 28. WING Green Initiatives, the Vermont Earth Institute and the library are sponsoring the seminar.

The course is limited to 12 people and six have already signed up, according to Library Director Marti Fiske.

Each week, the class will discuss a different sustainability topic, ranging from understanding sustainability to putting green living into practice.

“Our main goal is to create awareness of sustainability for residents of Williston,” said Mariana Lamaison Sears, a member of WING Green Initiatives.

Those taking the class will be given a free course book. The book is a compilation of readings focusing on sustainability topics. Fiske said the Northwest Earth Institute, a sister organization to the Vermont Earth Institute, supplied the books through a library loan.

Sears said the course will follow the format of a community discussion, rather than a structured class. Attendees will need to prepare for each discussion by reading an assigned chapter of the book. Everyone should also be prepared to discuss ideas from the book and their own life experiences, Sears added.

The course idea came from discussions held by members of WING Green Initiatives, Sears said. The group formed last year immediately following the town-wide gathering for WING, which stands for Williston Into the Next Generation. Recently, the group has met twice each month. Sears said the Green Initiatives group has a steady attendance of eight to 10 residents at each meeting.

The sustainable living course is just one of the activities WING Green Initiatives has planned for this fall. On Oct. 11, the Williston-based company Building Energy will conduct an energy audit of the library. Fiske said it was always in the works to be audited, but the WING committee helped spur the project along at a faster rate.

Last year, Building Energy did an energy audit of Town Hall and discovered Williston could save thousands of dollars a year with better insulation and improved lighting systems. Fiske said the library is a newer building than Town Hall, but that doesn’t mean it won’t need any efficiency improvements.

“I expect we’ll be making some changes,” Fiske said.

WING Green Initiatives will also hold a sustainability fair on Oct. 24 at Town Hall. Sears said the fair will be a mix of workshops and displays, with booths from organizations such as Efficiency Vermont and the Chittenden Solid Waste District on hand. It’s being held in conjunction with the International Day of Climate Action, organized by Vermont author Bill McKibben’s global organization.

“We’re trying to create the idea that we’re all part of something bigger,” Sears said.

For more information about the “Choices For Sustainable Living” course, call Dorothy Alling Memorial Library at 878-4918.