In the last year and a half, the Green Network for the White Lake Area has been working quietly, but steadily to move the White Lake area in a positive new direction – toward sustainability. Sustainability is not a commonly known term, but it is one that is being increasingly used in many places to explain how economic, environmental, and social goals are all connected and need to be focused on, so the way we live today does not compromise the quality of life for future generations.
The group is bringing the term and its approach to the White Lake area, as a new program of the Chamber. “Sustainability is what we need to be thinking about for our local area,” said Amy VanLoon, Chamber director. “It captures the flavor of the Chamber quite succinctly – we realize how economic, environmental and social issues are all tied together right here.” The initiative was prompted by local environmentalist Tanya Cabala who was interested in establishing a vehicle for moving beyond recovery of White Lake. According to Cabala, “We’ve put many local resources toward cleaning up White Lake. With the lake nearly off the Great Lakes Area of Concern list, it’s time to make sure decisions today and in the future take into account sustainability – the big picture.”
The group is focused on three goals:
Montague resident Mike Mack, former chief operating officer of MasterTag and an organizational development consultant is a key member of the team. As co-coordinator of the effort with Cabala, he believes it’s about making community connections. “We are truly a network,” he said. “A primary tenet of sustainability is encouraging people to contribute their unique individual talents toward common goals that improve the community. We are finding many who are interested to contribute their time and skills to this effort.”
Members of the Green Network, a small but diverse group of motivated individuals, meet monthly. To date, the group is working with the White Lake Area Solid Waste Authority to assist in improving the transfer station site to aid recycling. It is helping two of its members implement sustainability projects of their own – at the Montague Methodist Church and the White Lake Community Library, which recently won an award for its project. The group is helping to make local events “green” by providing portable recycling bins. On August 4, they will be hosting the state’s environmental executive responsible for implementing the Governor’s new recycling initiative. On August 16, the group will be helping the county with a tire collection event at Whitehall High School. “You would not expect that this group is all-volunteer,” said VanLoon, “They have accomplished a great deal in just the short time they have been up and running. We are pleased to sponsor this new effort!” For more information on the Green Network, contact Cabala at firstname.lastname@example.org or (231) 981-0016.
The Green Network for the White Lake Area promotes broad-based public action on sustainability initiatives and practices through community-based organizational, educational, and motivational support. “Sustainability creates and maintains the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony that permits fulfilling the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations.” (U.S. EPA)