Every year, we take one day out of our hectic lives to come together and celebrate the wonderful world we live in. Celebrating Earth Day is all about giving back to our soils, our waters, our air, and the beautiful wildlife that surrounds us every day. It gives us the opportunity to reevaluate the sustainability of our lifestyles and improve our daily choices. This month, we’re exploring the Sustainable Living Association and how they celebrate Earth Day unlike any other!
I had the pleasure of speaking with Kellie Fablo, the founder and director of the Sustainable Living Association, about what they do and how they contribute to saving the planet. This organization has helped put Fort Collins on the map as a sustainable city, working to meet goals by engaging its citizens.
Starting back in 2000 when sustainability wasn’t a household buzzword, the Sustainable Living Association is on a mission to “educate people and communities to make healthy and sustainable choices.” They put on many events for friends and families to enjoy such as sustainable living fairs every fall with over 10,000 attendees over the two-day period, a year-round workshop series that teaches a wide variety of sustainability tactics, and of course, their beloved Earth Day event!
“Earth Day is a part of our Impact Series on climate change,” Fablo says. Stating that the organization provides, “a series of events throughout the year to educate people on what causes climate change, how they can shift their behavior to reduce their impact, and how to communicate around climate change. So, Earth Day is our big kick-off for the Impact Series every year!”
This series is the Sustainable Living Association’s way of bringing everyday citizens together to battle climate change. They include businesses all over the Fort Collins area and help them to work on zero-waste policy. “We believe that we have touched a large segment of this community in terms of what it takes to live more sustainably and why it matters through our various programs and outreach events,” says Fablo.
This Earth Day will be the organization's 12th annual event and like every year, is very family-focused, with food, activities for kids, live music, exhibitors, and more. It’s enjoyable events like these that truly educate and bring people together all at once. “Earth day is a global celebration to help inspire people to honor the earth every day,” Fablo states. “Sometimes we take it for granted and today to honor that tradition and to bring people together to remember that there is a balance that we need to strike with nature.”
So, why is sustainability so vital today?
“Well,” Fablo laughs, “have you heard the news? We started this 20 years ago when people didn’t even know what sustainability meant but today it is a buzzword. Businesses are talking about it, you know, how can I be more sustainable within my operations in how I source my goods, in how I treat my people, right, because when we think about sustainability it’s that triple bottom line. A social and environmental and economic responsibility and those three legs have to work together.”
With sustainability buzzing in our ears every day, more and more consumers are looking to buy products from businesses that do the right thing and The Sustainable Living Association makes efforts to help companies reach their consumers and let them know that they care about the planet. The Fort Collins community is full of people and businesses that love the earth. Many of them come to the Earth Day event to educate themselves on tools, resources, and information to create a more sustainable community. It is through these efforts that we have come so far, but the fight isn’t over yet.
“We’ve come a long way,” says Fablo, “but there’s a lot more work to do. But I’m very proud of the foundation and the groundwork that our organization has been able to lay.” Fablo further states that the work ahead of the organization is in regards to providing people the resources, the information, and the support that they need to make the necessary sustainability changes.
What can you do to help? Fablo suggests it’s easiest to start by reducing your carbon footprint. Consider using your car one less day a month, reducing energy consumption by turning off lights, using LED bulbs, hang-drying your clothes, or getting your hands dirty in your very own garden! You can also attend the annual Earth Day event to learn about all things sustainability, climate change, and more! Say thank you to the wonderful world we live in and join the 12th annual celebration on April 23rd at Civic Center Park to learn more about how we can make a difference in our community and our planet!