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Sustainability: Supporting long-term ecological balance.

— Dictionary.com

What does sustainability mean to you?

In this issue of Plants, Life, Riverside we talk about achieving sustainability in an urban setting with Taher Bhaijee, a recent graduate of UC Riverside and co-founder of SustainRiverside.org, a new resource that will show residents how to adopt new approaches to living.

SustainRiverside.org is well on its way of becoming an informative resource for the residents of Riverside, CA. The soft launch for the site occurred earlier this month during Earth Week. Currently the site features a long list of sustainability events happening in the city. Soon new posts and videos will be added every other Monday.

Visit SustainRiverside online and you will see that the organization has laid out its objectives clearly. Taher is actively working with community groups to achieve the following goals:

    Community Goal
    To develop Green Teams in every neighborhood in Riverside.

    Energy Goal

    To reduce peak load demand by 10%.

    Food Goal

    Create 5% increase participation in community gardens.

    Water Goal

    To reduce Riverside’s water consumption by 20%.

    Waste Goal

    To reduce Riverside’s waste by 20%.

    Health Goal

    To reduce obesity rates by 20%.

    Transportation Goal

    To increase ridership on public transportation by 50%.

I spoke with Taher about some of these goals. I asked him to explain what a Green Team is and what such a team should strive to accomplish in their respective neighborhoods. Taher explained that his idea of a Green Team is modeled after the Wood Streets Green Team, an established team of residents actively involved in helping other residents achieve a sustainable lifestyle. They conduct workshops, involve themselves in city issues and support related groups in the city. Taher hopes to establish a Green Team in each of Riverside’s 26 neighborhoods.

Another objective of SustainRiverside is to increase participation in community gardens by five percent. What does this 5% look like?

Taher explained that by “five percent”, he means 5% of Riverside’s population. The city has a population of 300,000 residents, so he hopes to get at least 15,000 residents involved with existing and future gardens. Taher hopes the involvement with community gardens will encourage residents to lead healthier lives. He says that his work at the UCR Community Garden cleaning, watering and growing vegetables taught him how to live more sustainably and taught him how to live more healthfully. 

Recruiting 15,000 residents may sound like a bold goal, but it really isn’t that outrageous. Especially given the success of the recent Grow Riverside conference, a conference about urban agriculture and the development of a sustainable food system in the city. Taher says he hopes SustainRiverside can play a role in communicating the efforts of all parties involved in the Grow Riverside movement and to communicate these efforts through one platform.

SustainRiverside is making great strides reaching out to the public and showing people how they can live more sustainably. The next lesson in sustainability is scheduled for May 17, 2014. On this day SustainRiverside and the Wood Streets Green Team will embark on a progressive bus tour to promote community, public transportation, local businesses and recycled art. Bus tour participants will meet at a local bus stop, board the bus together and then visit the Riverside Farmer’s Market in downtown. They will then go to Tio’s Tacos to eat lunch and to view the gallery of recycled art.

Would you like to join the progressive bus tour and learn more about SustainRiverside.org? Contact Taher Bhaijee or visit SustainRiverside on Facebook.



About Taher Bhaijee

Taher has a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Bachelor of Arts in History and has been actively involved with sustainability efforts around UC Riverside. As President of Sustainable UCR, he worked on projects such as the UCR Community Garden, the Power Rangers Program, the Recycling Proposal, the Composting Initiative, and the Grid Alternative Solarton. He is now working on Riverside-wide sustainability projects as an intern at the Mayor’s office. He hopes to build a healthier and greener Riverside.

Who else is working on creating a greener Riverside? Take a look.






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