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Results tagged “Sustainable Ventura” from VC Style

2013 Water: Take 1 Short Film Contest Awards: Standing Room Only

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More than 150 attendees packed a soundstage at Brooks Institute as Ventura Water and partners Pagatonia and iThentic presented the 2013 Water: Take 1 Short Film Contest Awards on Thursday, November 14 from 6 to 8 pm.

Grand Jury Award
A jury-awarded Grand Prize of $1,500 sponsored by Patagonia, was presented to "Water Collaborations," directed by Crelis Rammelt (Netherlands).

"We all recognize how valuable our water resources are," said City of Ventura Mayor Mike Tracy. "This contest is one way to encourage the public to think about water and to evaluate where we are going. The films are thought provoking and just terrific."

Best Student Film Award
The Best Student Short Film Award, sponsored by Carollo Engineers and Kennedy/Jenks Consultants, went to "Bottle vs. Tap," directed by Danica Brown, Denise Torres, Jai Litman and Jason Schwien (USA), who received a Go Pro Camera for their win.

Ventura Vision Award
Also awarded by the jury, the NEW Ventura Vision Award sponsored by the Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach went to "The Big Ventura River Bottom Clean Up," directed by Community Access Partners of San Buenaventura (USA). In this category, the winner will receive spotlight profile on a Local TV Show.

"This year we added the Ventura Vision Award," said Ventura Water General Manager Shana Epstein. "We have a great response from filmmakers internationally, and the Vision Award is another great way to connect with our local community."

Audience Choice Award
The recipient of the Audience Choice Award, sponsored by EJ Harrison & Sons, was "Water ... The Lifeline of Life," directed by Aniruddha Dhanaji Mane (India). This film received the most votes by the October 3 deadline at watertake1.com, the online website for the program.

In order to elevate water awareness through imagination, education and entertainment, filmmakers from around the globe were invited to submit their short films with a water focus from March 19 -- September 3, 2013 at watertake1.com. Submitted films, in a format of 5 minutes or less, could be in any genre -- documentary, drama, comedy, animation, sci-fi or experimental.

"Water is a resource that impacts everyone," added Water: Take 1 Project Coordinator Rachael Shapiro. "The City can lead by example encouraging residents and businesses to conserve and preserve, but the bottom line is that it's up to every individual to make a difference and makes some changes -- whether it be in their home or in their business or at their schools. At its core, this is what the contest is really about."

A distinguished jury comprised of leaders in water and environmental issues, entertainment professionals and influential members of the community judged over 40 entries. In September, 10 finalist films were named.

The Water: Take 1 online short film contest and program was recently named a finalist for the 2013 Huell Howser Best in Blue Award. This award recognizes excellence in communications and the recipient will be announced in Los Angeles by the Association of California Water Agencies in December.

If you know a filmmaker who would like to submit a film for next year's contest, and/or a entity or business that would like to be a contest sponsor, visit: watertake1.com or contact Rachael Shapiro, Project Coordinator, at watertake1@venturawater.net.


Sustainable Ventura's May 2013 Show - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

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SustainableVentura.TV's May 2013 show (hosted by Maryann Ridini Spencer), features a trip to the Earth Day Eco-Fest in Promenade Park and visits with the Refill Shoppe (363 E. Main in downtown Ventura) and the Ventura County Medical Center (VCMC) to find out about their reduce and reuse policies.  City of Ventura Environmental Specialist Courtney Lindberg also shares some great tips on preventing stormwater pollution.  WATCH THE SHOW: http://bit.ly/12bK2Cp

Clean It Green & Safe with Less Toxic Products

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Did you know that many household cleaning products, while even used "as directed" could be hazardous to your health as well as the environment?

Many household products are toxic and can be hazardous to your health, they can also pose a threat to the environment if they end up getting into our drains and waterways.

On product labels, have you ever read words like flammable, corrosive, reactive or toxic?  If so, in the future, why not consider safer and more "eco-friendly" alternatives.

Looking for less toxic alternatives isn't always easy, either. Even when a product is listed as "safe" or "green," it can be masking as environmentally friendly. This is called greenwashing and can be very confusing to consumers who are trying to make more eco-conscious cleaning product choices.

The best mode of operation is to look for statements that read:  non-toxic, non-petroleum based or free of ammonia, phosphates, dye and perfume, and that read "biodegradable."

Stay away from products using words such as: DANGER and POISON.  Products labeled CAUTION or WARNING contain the least toxic, but can still cause harm.

Green Cleaning Recipes from Care2.com

How to Make a Non-Toxic Cleaning Kit

Shopping List

  • Baking Soda
  • Washing Soda
  • White Distilled Vinegar
  • Natural Liquid Soap or Detergent
  • Tea Tree Oil
  • 6 Clean Spray Bottles
  • 2 Glass Jars

Creamy Soft Scrubber

Pour ½ c. of baking soda into a bowl, and add enough liquid detergent to make a texture-like frosting.  Scoop the mixture onto a sponge, and wash the surface.  This is the perfect recipe for cleaning the bathtub because it rinses easily and doesn't leave grit.  Note:  Add 1 tsp. of vegetable glycerin to the mixture and store in a sealed glass jar to keep the product moist.  Otherwise, just make as much as you need at a time.

Window Cleaner

  • ¼-1/2 tsp. liquid detergent
  • 3 T. vinegar
  • 2 c. water
  • Spray bottle

Put all the ingredients into a spray bottle, shake it up a bit, and use as you would a commercial brand.  The soap in this recipe is important.  It cuts the wax residue from the commercial brands you might have used in the past.

Oven Cleaner

  • 1 c. or more baking soda
  • Water
  • A squirt or two of liquid detergent

Sprinkle water generously over the bottom of the oven, then cover the grime with enough baking soda that the surface is totally white.  Sprinkle some more water over the top.  Let the mixture set overnight.  You can easily wipe up the grease the next morning because the grime will have loosened.  When you have cleaned up the worst of the mess, dab a bit of liquid detergent or soap on a sponge, and wash the remaining residue from the oven.

All-Purpose Spray Cleaner

  • ½ tsp. washing soda
  • A dab of liquid soap
  • 2 c. hot tap water
  • Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle and shake until the washing soda has dissolved.  Apply and wipe off with a sponge or rag.

Furniture Polish

  • ½ tsp. oil, such as olive (or jojoba, a liquid wax)
  • ¼ c. vinegar or fresh lemon juice
  • Mix the ingredients in a glass jar.  Dab a soft rag into the solution and wipe onto wood surfaces.  Cover the glass jar and store indefinitely.

Vinegar Deodorizer

Keep a clean spray bottle filled with straight 5% vinegar in your kitchen near your cutting board and in your bathroom.  Use them for cleaning.  The smell of vinegar dissipates within a few hours.  Straight vinegar is also great for cleaning the toilet rim. Just spray it on and wipe off.


Tea Tree Treasure

Nothing natural works for mold and mildew as well as this spray. Tea tree oil is expensive, but a little goes a very long way.  Note that the smell of tea tree oil is very strong, but it will dissipate in a few days.

  • 2 tsp. tea tree oil
  • 2 c. water

Combine in a spray bottle, shake to blend, and spray on problem areas.  Do not rinse.

Makes two cups.

Vinegar Spray

Straight vinegar reportedly kills 82% of mold.  Pour some white distilled vinegar straight into a spray bottle.  Spray on the moldy area, and let set without rinsing if you can put up with the smell.  Smell will dissipate in a few hours.

Visit:  www.Care2.com

This article by Maryann Ridini Spencer also appears at SustainableVentura.TV

VC STYLE: Water Take 1 Online Short Film Contest Awards Video News Story

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Thumbnail image for watertake1logo.jpg

On Thursday, November 8, 2012, the first Water: Take 1 Online Short Film Contest Awards Presentation and Party was hosted by Brooks Institute of Photography on one of the sound stages at their Ventura Campus. SustainableVentura.TV's Maryann Ridini Spencer covered the event attended by Ventura Mayor Mike Tracy and Ventura City Councilmembers Christy Weir and Neal Andrews. Those present enjoyed refreshments and mixed and mingled before watching a special video presentation of finalist and winning films. Also present were local contest winners and representatives from Patagonia, Limoneira, Ventura Water and iThentic, all contest sponsors.

Over 125 people attended the free ceremony, open the public with an RSVP.

Water Take 1 online short film contest awards video news story


Sustainable Ventura visits the Ventura Chamber of Commerce's "Haunting at the Harbor"

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On Thursday, October 25, 2012 from 4:30-7:30pm, The Ventura Chamber of Commerce presented the "Haunting at the Harbor" Business Expo at the Four Points Sheraton on Schooner Drive in the Ventura Harbor. The event featured over 60 local businesses showcased in tabletop exhibits, food vendors, a silent auction and raffles and prizes. The "Sustainable Ventura" TV Series was on hand to talk to attendees.



"Sustainable Ventura," hosted by Maryann Ridini Spencer and Ray Olson, airs on Caps-TV VTV's Channel 15, Thursdays at 8:30pm.  It rebroadcasts Monday-Thursday and Saturdays at 9:00am, Sundays at 8:30pm and every other Wednesday at 8:30pm.

Thrifty and Reusable Halloween Costumes

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Halloween costumes, depending upon how elaborate you intend to get, can cost at a minimum, $25 dollars on up per costume.  If you've got several children or family members to outfit, the costume bills (along with candy and other fun fare) can really start to mount.

So why not get creative with reusable, eco-friendly Halloween costumes? How do you start? Look in your closet.  What do you have that might (when paired with certain items), make a great costume? Maybe you have all the items you need or perhaps you may have to buy one piece rather than an entire costume.  Another great resource is check with friends and relatives. See what you can mix and match.  Thrift shops, where others trade in their wares, are also a great place to find the little nuances to add to your costume. Below are some great ideas for reusable Halloween costumes to try:

Princess -Pair a long gown with gloves (short or long). Wear a tiara and carry a star wand. Your Halloween subjects will bow in appreciation.

Cowboy or Cowgirl- Flannel shirt with Jeans, cowboy boots and hat. You might even tie a red bandana around your neck.  Don't forget to carry some rope - to lasso in your candy of course.

Halloween Masked Man- Everyone knows the iconic white mask from the John Carpenter Halloween movies.  How to create this look? Black pants, black top and white mask of course.  BOO!

Hippie or 70's person- Think colorful.  For girls and women - pair a long skirt with a flowered top.  Wear several long necklaces and dangly earrings.  A headband around your head or floppy hat also works.  For a man - pull out some ripped jeans and wear a cool t-shirt with a peace sign (or your favorite band logo).  Put on the boots and/or sandals and maybe a funky hat. Now you're lookin' groovy!

Witch - Pair a black skirt and top with pointy hat.  Bring a long a broom  (or for a wand, carry a long glow stick!). Instead of black, you can also opt for being a good witch and wear blue or white.  Whatever it is you choose to do, just remember to say, "Bippity Boppity Boo!"  Now you're ready to caste some spells!

Vampire - I vant to drink your blood!  To transform into a creature of the night that would even give Bram Stoker a scare,  almost any type of dress with creative make-up will do. (If you have a red or black cape, fantastic.  However, the only purchase that might be needed to complete the look - Vampire fangs!  (Even a red lipsticked-mouth with droplets of blood dripping from the corners will  do!).

Maid - Coffee or tea anyone?  A maid's outfit might be anything from a black dress or skirt and top paired with a white apron.  Don't forget to carry your broom,  feather duster or even a silver serving tray!

Hobo -To create the look of an authentic hobo, try wearing some ripped or patched jeans or pants.  An oversized jacket and t-shirt and a funny looking hat add great touches.  Of course, don't forget your hobo stick (a long stick with a red kerchief pouch - which can double as another place to stash your candy!).

Hollywood director - Lights! Cameras! Action!  If you want to get the look of an old time Hollywood director - wear some jeans or black pants, paired with a white or dark top.  Don't forget the beret, dark shades.  You might also want to carry a video camera to document the Halloween fun!

Let your creativity run wild.

Creating your own costume will be almost as much fun as going out Trick-or-Treating!



*Original article by Maryann Ridini Spencer appears in print in the Sustainable Ventura Newsletter & Blog.

Saving the World A Drink At A Time: The GREEN TASK FORCE Hosts GREEN DRINKS

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"Green Drinks" is a term known in the environmental world as a fun,

meet up for like-minded business professionals in relaxing, celebratory

settings where they can network, exchange ideas and forge valuable

working relationships.

Well known in international environmental circles, Green Drinks is a network

of unstructured meet-ups where environmental professionals and concerned

locals get together in a relaxing setting to network, exchange ideas,

and forge valuable relationships.  At last count, Green Drinks events

are hosted in over 600 cities worldwide.   


The mixture of attendees at Green Drinks events usually include professionals

in the areas of: general business, academia, government, non-profit, medicine,

home décor, construction and other fields.  


On Wednesday, August 1, The Ventura Chamber of Commerce's 

Green Task Force (GTF) organized this year's first Ventura-based Green

Drinks event at EcoLogic Life, downtown's designer showroom for

sustainable home decoration products. The event was a smashing success

with over 50 attendees. Tutti's on Main provided the delicious food.

Alquimia Tequila provided the green drinks, made from organic agave, no food

coloring included.

Green Task Force Co-Chairs.jpg

LtoR:  Diane de Mailly and Courtney Lindberg, Green Task Force Co-Chairs

"Green Drinks has been around for a long time," said Diane de Mailly,

President, DDM Metering Systems and GTF Co-Chair. "Recently, the

GTF was asked to step in and organize these events in Ventura.  We know

they'll be a big success moving forward because Ventura is such an

amazing community dedicated to the environment.  We plan to make

Green Drinks a quarterly event."

"What the GTF strives to do," added Courtney Lindberg, Environment

Specialist with the City of Ventura's Environmental Sustainability

Division and GTF Co-Chair, "is to promote green business development. 

We bring local businesses together and educate them about sustainable

practices, covering such topics as waste recycling, energy, water

conservation, pollution prevention and staff education. We highlight successes and

learn from our mistakes so that we can grow as a community with

green business practices part of our every day consciousness."    


Green Task Force LtoR: Courtney Lindberg (Environmental Specialist,
City of Ventura's Environmental Sustainability Division and Green
Task Force Co-Chair), Janis Shinkawa (Veterinarian, Buena Animal
Hospital), Diane de Mailly (President DDM Metering Systems
and Green Task Force Co-Chair), Kirsten Davis (AdvoCare)
and James Davis (Associated Electric)


"If you had to paint Ventura one color, it would probably be blue,

the color of our ocean.  If you added another color, it would be

green," Rick Cole, City Manager, City of Ventura. "This is a

remarkable community and environmentally-oriented to its core.

We all pay attention to the motto 'Think globally, act locally.'

Whether it be on a global scale, or a local scale, waste costs money

and pollutes the planet. It's also something we don't want to pass

onto the next generation."

In addition to Green Drinks, the GTF organizes a series of quarterly

"Best Practices Workshops" where local businesses share their

green ideas and practices with others in the community. To date,

there have been workshops at Red Brick Pizza focusing on sustainable

practices and the YMCA focusing on lighting retrofits.

Room.jpgVIEWVIEW Event Photos on Facebook, CLICK HERE.


In May 2012, The Green Task Force teamed up with the office of

Assemblymember Das Williams's for the Second Annual Green Jobs

Summit held at City Hall.

"The Green Jobs Summit brought a number of businesses together to talk

about ideas and sustainable principles," said James Joyce,

Field Representative, Office of Assemblymember Das Williams.

"Through working together on the Summit, our office developed a

great relationship with The Green Task Force.  There's so much

synergy. It's great to be a part of it."


Stay tuned and read this newsletter for information on future

Ventura-based Green Drinks events.



VIEW Event Photos on Facebook, CLICK HERE!

Healthy Gardens with Natural Pest Management

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A healthy garden is a garden that is filled with a variety of flowering plants that encourages a host of beneficial creatures such as ladybugs, dragonflies, lacewings, tiny non-stinging wasps and other little welcome friends that feed on garden pests.

Pesticides are extremely dangerous to the health of our waterways.  When it rains, these toxic elements are carried by debris and water emanating from our lawns and gardens, and flow, untreated, into the storm drain system. It's a major source of water pollution.

Some helpful tips to keep pesticides out of our rivers, creeks and oceans:

*Reduce or eliminate the use of broad-spectrum pesticides.
*Attract beneficial insects into your garden by providing the right mix of healthy plants and flowers.
*Plant compatible species for your garden vs. altering natural growing conditions.
*Know your soil and the soil requirements for your plants.
*Understand the characteristics of your garden and what your plants require.
*Select pest and disease resistant plants.
*Watering requirements vary from species and soil type.


LISTEN to the Sustainable Ventura Podcast on Healthy Gardens in iTunes, CLICK HERE.

SUBSCRIBE to the Sustainable Ventura Podcast RSS Feed, CLICK HERE

Also visit, SustainableVentura.Wordpress.com

Get Your GREEN on!

Semi-Annual Table Top Business Expo "Olympics By The Ocean" at the Four Points Sheraton Podcast

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On June 7, 2012,  the Ventura Chamber of Commerce, presented the Semi-Annual Tabletop Business Expo "Olympics by the Ocean" at the Four Points Sheraton.  The City of Ventura's Environmental Sustainability Division and Ventura Water were some of the sponsors of the event.

LISTEN TO the Sustainable Ventura podcast (hosted by Maryann Ridini Spencer), from the event and hear interviews with local businesses sharing their green practices!


CLICK HERE: http://bit.ly/LsfoMc

Subscribe to our RSS Podcast Feed

Listen to us in iTunes

$30,000 Grant Opportunity for Businesses - Apply by April 1, 2012

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Business Grant Opportunity

Reusables Funding up to $30,000

Apply by April 1, 2012!


Reusable Grants requests up to $30,000 are available for businesses and other organizations that are planning to incorporate reusable packaging into their transport and distribution.


Eligible Projects should focus on waste prevention and specifically reusable transportation (projects that replace single - or limited - use transport packaging with durable pallets or bins, reusable pallet-wrap, expanded use of intermediate bulk containers, IBCs).


To be eligible, programs need to be implemented within six months of application or have already been implemented in the six months prior to application.

To find out more, Visit the City of Ventura's Environmental Sustainability Blog.


Lawn To Ocean Friendly Garden

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Lawn, as defined in the dictionary, is an "area of aesthetic and recreational land planted with grass and other durable plants."


It's believed that the concept of "the lawn" developed in medieval times for the purpose of communal grazing of livestock.  At this time, lawns were similar to pastures or fields.  To tend to these lawns, laborers used scything and shearing. Sheep and livestock grazing also maintained the lands or lawns.


Later, in Tudor and Elizabethan times, the lawn garden became a place for walkways and social areas. And by the 17th century, the Jacobean epoch of gardening began and the "English" lawn became a symbol of status and gentry.  While at first lawns were primarily made up of meadow plants, by the Victorian era, a wider variety of perennials were available as were elaborate sculptures and water features.  In the 19th century, with the advent of sprinkler technology and the lawn mower, lawns and gardens were also affordable to the masses.


In Ventura, all our water comes from local sources - The Ventura River, Lake Casitas and groundwater wells.  Today, unlike hundreds of years ago, we are armed with the knowledge about the importance of conserving our precious, natural resources - especially our valuable water.  Low maintenance and drought tolerant grass and native plant replacements are the wise sustainable choices.  Some wonderful native plant choices might include:  White Sage, California Fuchsia, California Lilac, California Poppy any variety of succulents, to name only a few.  The variety and beauty of "Ocean Friendly" gardens is on the rise.  So, why not choose beauty and sustainability?  For information on how you can create the Ocean Friendly Garden* of your dreams, talk to your local nursery about suggestions for your garden.  In Ventura, visit Green Thumb Nursery at 1899 Victoria Avenue and Napalito Native Plant Nursery at 4107 E. Main Street.

*Ocean Friendly Gardens Program is a trademark program of the Surfrider Foundation. For some great Ocean Friendly Garden Events Information,  CLICK HERE.

For some great information at Surfrider, CLICK HERE.


Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Composting

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Recycling is essential in preserving and protecting our environment as well as our natural resources.  We recycle things like glass, tin, plastic and paper, to name only a few.  However, composting is also a great way to recycle.  While the green waste in Ventura is collected by E.J. Harrison and taken to Calwood/Agromin where it's ground into small pieces and used as mulch or burned for energy, the "green waste" (or biodegradable waste or organic materials), from our yards and parks such as grass clippings, flowers and hedge trimmings, make a fantastic compost.  When combined appropriately with certain food scraps from our kitchens, they are a nutrient-packed fertilizer and soil amendment.

What goes in a compost bin?

  • yard waste
  • lawn and hedge clippings
  • leaves
  • flowers
  • twigs
  • straw
Kitchen Waste
  • tea bags
  • coffee grounds
  • fruit and vegetable trimmings (including rinds and cores)
  • grains (rice, barley, etc -cooked or uncooked)
  • old spices (not with the bottle!)
  • egg shells (crushed)
  • corn cobs and husks

What doesn't go in the compost bin?

  • No cat and dog excrement
  • No meat and fish scraps or waste (bones, fat, gristle, skin, etc.)
  • No dairy products (cheese, butter, cottage cheese, yogurt)
  • No grease and oils of any kind
  • No diseased plant material
  • No perennial weeds
  • No plastic, tin, glass and other synthetic materials as they do not decompose!

The City of Ventura's Environmental Sustainability Division offers two free compost workshops a year  -- in the spring and fall. Recently, Educator Paul Vaksvik gave a "How To Compost" talk at Green Thumb Nursery.  This month on "Sustainable Ventura," seen locally on Caps-TV's VTV Channel 15, Thursdays, 8:30pm, the series takes a visit to Paul's compost workshop.  Find out more about Paul's great composting tips:

This month on the show, "Sustainable Ventura" also visits Calwood/Agromin and even a trip to the old West!  Watch the entire show:

A FUN "Green" Music Video from the Environmental Sustainability Division!

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"Our Dirty House" Music Video from the "Sustainable Ventura" TV Series

The cast and crew of the "Sustainable Ventura" TV Series had fun this month (October 2011), 
producing a music video using original music and lyrics by Richard Guzman.  The video offers
some great green tips about cleaning up at home and offers information about the City's
 FREE outreach programs for recycling, composting and more!  

"Sustainable Ventura," an Environmental Sustainability Production, is hosted by
Maryann Ridini Spencer and Ray Olson and seen on CAPS-TV, Channel 15 on
 Thursdays at 8:30pm and rebroadcasts weekly.  For more show schedule information, visit:
VC Style
Maryann Ridini-Spencer produces video stories about environmentally friendly and healthy living in Ventura County.

She co-hosts "Sustainable Ventura" with Ray Olson on CAPS-TV's VTV, Channel 15 as well as "Simply Delicious Living with Maryann" on Time Warner Cable ON DEMAND.