Group helps Tri-Citians go green

A new local network has a “can-do” attitude toward helping Tri-Citians reduce their energy use, recycle and develop partnerships that promote sustainability.

“We want to be able to be the hub for local, regional issues and education so people don’t have to wander around to find what they want,” said Ginger Wireman, president of the Confluence Community Action Network, or CCAN.

Wireman also is the regional chair of e3, a statewide initiative focused on environment, education and economy as elements of sustainability. It was designed to optimize people’s access to environmental education and resources.

CCAN grew out of the local e3 summit in February 2008.

“We’d like to develop as a starting point for supporting sustainable behavior, both independently and through business and government,” Wireman said.

She defined sustainability as using resources — such as air, water, land, raw material and human capital — in a way that ensures they are “healthy and functional for future generations.”

For businesses, sustainability means staying profitable as well as taking into consideration how business is done, she said.

Cal Spinney, CCAN’s vice president, has a background in resource economics. He and Wireman didn’t know each other until recently, when a quick hello in line at a coffee shop turned into a chat about supporting small businesses and environmental sustainability.

The Tri-Cities area is teeming with intelligent, motivated people working on a variety of sustainability issues, Spinney said.

“The thing that’s missing in my view is the linkage between these intelligent, active engaged people to make them more effective,” he said.

CCAN’s website includes a survey for people to tell the network what they’re already doing — such as turning off lights and conserving water — and areas they’d like to kearn more about, like biking to work, gardening and composting.

The network is in the process of registering as a nonprofit and is working to set up a membership system, Wireman said.

People are encouraged to visit the website at

Along with the survey, the site contains more details about the group, as well as links to information about water-wise gardening and landscaping, tips for businesses and more.

As the network helps foster relationships between businesses, schools and individuals, Wireman and Spinney are hoping groups with common goals and interests will be able to increase their presence and effectiveness.

“I think the strength in this group is we tend to be generalists,” Wireman said. “We’re looking more broadly so we can see those opportunities to partner.”

Source: Tri-City Herald

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