By: Nestor Resendiz
2018 AT&T Byron Nelson Junior Reporter
Imagine a golf tournament that had no trash cans. What if you came up to a green and there were bottles and trash everywhere? That would be awful.
That will not happen at the AT&T Byron Nelson because Blue Strike Environmental is on duty. They have a team of 40-60 people who empty trash cans from 6:00 AM – 8:00 PM every day, and then actually empty each bag of trash. They rip it open and remove every piece of trash, separating out recyclables, compost and trash. Their goal is to recycle 50% of the garbage, and divert another 20%. Divert means to repurpose things like carpet and wood. The carpet, for example, is going to be donated to people who need it. Yay!
I got all this fascinating information from Rico Tesio, CEO of Blue Strike Environmental. He estimated that each PGA Tour event produces an amount of 100-150 tons of trash. Can you believe that?!
Tessio’s team has enormous help from the company Champion. They help by picking up the garbage and compost. A lot of the compost is hot dogs, banana peels and watermelon. It smelled awful! It honestly made me feel a bit nauseous.
The awesome people helping sort the trash are volunteers from local schools or organizations such as Spruce High School Alumni Association and the Pemberton Trinity Forest Neighborhood Association. They do this work to raise money for their groups.
Final thing before I go – today was so hot we were smacking sweat off our head. But the Blue Strike Environmental team felt even hotter. I think they have one of the hardest – and most important – jobs that you can have at a PGA Tour event.
By Brooke Holland
The city of Santa Barbara has vowed to transition entirely to clean and renewable energy, following a City Council vote on Tuesday establishing 100-percent sustainable energy goals by 2030.
The resolution adopted sets both a community-wide and municipal facilities objective to reduce fossil fuel use through increased conservation and efficiency, and by developing renewable energy sources.
The motion also committed to a 50-percent renewable energy goal by 2020 and 100-percent renewable energy for the city’s community electricity supply by 2030, but no specific plan is yet in place.
Santa Barbara represents the first city on the Central Coast to make the pledge, and the resolution comes less than a week after President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from a global agreement aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
“President Trump may be withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord, but cities are stepping up and re-committing to adopt, honor and uphold the Paris Climate (Accord) goals,” Mayor Helene Schneider said.
“I'm proud that Santa Barbara has adopted a 100-percent renewable energy goal and is joining other cities across the nation leading the way on clean energy at the local level.”
Schneider became one of first United States mayors to endorse a vision of moving away from fossil fuels to 100 percent renewable energy.
This spring, she joined the Mayors for 100% Clean Energy initiative of the Sierra Club's “Ready for 100” campaign — a coalition intending to uphold renewable energy and healthy communities.
The specific steps the city would take to achieve a 100 percent renewable goal are unknown, according to a staff report.
City staff members are expected to develop a work plan, including financial resources and setting a timeline to achieve the goals by Dec. 31, 2018.
Santa Barbara’s future sustainability efforts and projects include water conservation, energy management, wastewater resource recovery, habitat restoration, urban forest enhancement and solid waste management.
Reducing citywide transportation congestion by implementing bicycle and pedestrian master plans, pursuing solar opportunities at city buildings, and restoring riparian vegetation and habitat were noted as the city’s sustainability projects.
Renewable energy tends to be more expensive compared to non-renewable sources, according to a staff report.
City facilities using natural gas instead of, or in addition to, electricity involve significant challenges in relation to the renewable energy goal.
Converting existing facilities — such as the Los Baños Del Mar Pool — from natural gas to electrical energy would be “difficult and extremely costly to achieve,” according to a staff report.
The staff report noted the cost of natural gas is lower than alternative fuels.
Approximately 30 percent of the electricity currently used by Santa Barbara is deemed renewable, according to a staff report.
City staff noted that the remainder is comprised of non-renewable electricity supplied by Southern California Edison and natural gas provided by Southern California Gas, which is used to heat city buildings and other facilities.
Santa Barbara could establish its own renewable sources, purchase renewable energy credits, or voluntarily pay for renewable energy through Edison to achieve the 100 percent renewable goal.
Santa Barbara is joining 29 cities nationwide that have devoted to achieving 100 percent renewable energy targets. San Diego, San Francisco, South Lake Tahoe, Del Mar and Palo Alto are some California cities that have made the commitment.
“This will take a local action that will have a global implication,” Councilwoman Cathy Murillo said. “Local energy generation is good for business and our environment.”
The vote comes after the Santa Barbara Chapter of the Sierra Club and the Community Environmental Council endorsed the transition and requested the council adopt renewable energy goals during a Sustainability Committee meeting in April.
City staff worked with the Sustainability Committee since 2006 to implement a handful of long-term sustainability projects often directed by state regulation.
Katie Davis, chairwoman of the Santa Barbara Chapter of the Sierra Club, said the organization’s members salute Santa Barbara for their leadership on 100 percent clean energy.
“To meet our international climate goals, we must transition away from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy,” Davis said.
“Moving to 100 percent renewable energy isn’t just the right thing to do for our climate, it’s the smart thing to do for our local economy. Renewable energy costs have decreased dramatically and are now cost competitive with fossil fuels, and Santa Barbara County already has eight times more jobs in clean energy and energy efficiency than in the oil industry.
"The transition to 100 percent clean energy represents a better and more prosperous path forward for our community.”
Sustainable hospitality has a major influence on engaging businesses with our local community.
People want to be involved with the community they are visiting. They want to feel like they contributed or experienced something that is unique. In turn, businesses are realizing that having a positive social impact on the communities where they work, helps their bottom line. What can you do as a business or organization to be better stewards of the earth? How can you support the local community and the planet while still achieving good financial health? Considering all these factors allows businesses to build a brand that will attract more customers.
Protecting and supporting the natural environment is the first step in achieving true sustainable hospitality. Businesses can offer their customers a connection to local environmental issues and education. For example, utilization of the Seafood Watch card is one of the leading programs that combine tourism with local environmental issues. This program allows member restaurants to highlight local conservation efforts on their menus. Beyond the popular whale watching tours, Big Sur Land Trust offers scheduled hikes to learn about coastal land conservation and The Offset Project offers volunteer opportunities to engage with environmental certification efforts at local special events such as the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am or the Big Sur Marathon.
A second step for businesses is to develop programs that can interact, impact and improve their communities. If a business can make the community a better place, than they will have a story to tell that is unique and separates them from other businesses. Legacies projects can include the protection and conservation of socio-cultural heritage and environmental resources, the sustainable development of local communities and local infrastructure, as well as job creation for locals. For example, Peter B’s Brewery partners with local at risk youth to grow hops for their hand crafted beer. Incoming conferences can participate in “gleaning” programs where visitors visit local fields to pick leftover vegetables for the homeless. In some cases, profits are reinvested into a local project. In Monterey County, the California Roots Festival is donating $1.00 for each ticket sold and investing the funds into an electric vehicle charging station at the event grounds. This allows festival attendees better access to the event and contributes to public awareness around electric vehicles.
If you are visiting and want to get involved in Monterey County’s local sustainable hospitality projects, please contact Kristin Cushman at Kristin@theoffsetproject.org.
COUNCIL FOR RESPONSIBLE SPORT RECOGNIZES EVENT WITH ‘GOLD CERTIFICATION’
For the third consecutive year, the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am has received the prestigious Gold Certification from the Council for Responsible Sport. Hosted by the Monterey Peninsula Foundation, the tournament has become a model for other PGA TOUR events by establishing itself as a reliable leader in environmental protection.
In conjunction with key partners including Pebble Beach Company and The Offset Project, the AT&T Pro-Am introduced key composting and re-use strategies three years ago in an effort to achieve high standards of waste diversion. The “green” commitment has since been expanded and enhanced, and resulted in the Council’s gold certification honor in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
“Monterey Peninsula Foundation remains committed to improving the health and sustainability of our community,” said Steve John, Monterey Peninsula Foundation CEO and tournament director. “It is imperative we continue to focus on conservation and resource management.”
According to Shelley Villalobos, Certification Director for the Council for Responsible Sport, the 2016 Gold Certification required a huge amount of sustained effort from the entire event management team.
“With this gold level recertification, the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am team has shown a strong commitment to both rigor and transparency—qualities that have helped them advance their performance in many aspects of hosting a more sustainable event, from waste management and diversion to procurement and creating a lasting legacy in the community. This is a tournament to be embraced and celebrated,” Villalobos said.
The environmental accomplishments achieved during the 2016 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am included:
Just two other tournaments on the PGA TOUR – the Shell Houston Open and Waste Management Phoenix Open – have earned certification status from Council for Responsible Sport.