Orange Coast College is addressing water conservation through student awareness, as well as environmentally influenced decision making as drought in California worsens at an alarming rate.
According to Cal Matters, 40% of Orange County water suppliers used more water in July 2021 than in July 2020, and the past two years were the second driest in history for the major part of Northern California.
The OCC operates in accordance with Order 19 and Order 21 of the Mesa Consolidated Water District which include watering restrictions, elimination of leaks or ruptures, and a ban on water fountains that do not produce water. recirculated water, to name a few. This mitigation applies to all Coast Community Colleges, and similar requirements are mandatory at all facilities in California.
âPlant communities here are adapted to frequent years of lack of water supply, but that’s not true for humans,â said Kelly Elliot, professor of environmental science at OCC.
The OCC Horticultural Service highlighted an extra effort in water conservation by planting a succulent garden in front of the chemistry building.
âThere is the Baja Desert Garden next to that. Interestingly, our soil would need to be significantly amended on campus to truly have a native plant garden, âElliot said. “It’s not as easy as it might sound due to all the historic construction and soil compaction that occurred when the native plants were initially removed.”
The front of the OCC recycling center also includes a native plant garden that uses reclaimed water and keeps water safe. OCC’s recycling center is the first facility in the world to achieve LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification for its responsible use of water, energy and land.
âOur need for water is great and we live in this amazing Southern California environment that a lot of people want to live in. Elliot said. âSo the population here is just beyond what the natural environment can handle, and we have to bring our water from other resources. ”
In addition to incorporating water conservation through native plants and water collected from campus, the OCC annually celebrates Green Coast Day on April 17. The central aim of the event is to educate students about the environment by evaluating the benefits of a greener lifestyle.
Green Coast Day allows students to learn more about energy efficient materials, such as electric cars and bike lane demonstrations conducted in previous years. Visits to the Mesa Water District and “Water: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power, and Civilization” author Steve Solomon were some of the water conservation advocates who spoke about the importance of subject in the past.
Green Coast Day was co-founded by John Fawcett, OCC’s Computing Center Coordinator, and came to fruition after Fawcett’s long history of observing dangerous and environmentally damaging actions during the Cold War.
âI was very anti-nuclear about it. So it all comes together to help understand my thoughts and my positioning on the environment,â Fawcett said. I was concerned about climate change very, very early on. .
With a similar passion for extracurricular activities, Fawcett partnered with Lee Gordon, professor of commerce at OCC.
âI found that we had a lot of common concerns and wanted to have an impact on our students that they weren’t just getting from their standard classroom,â said Fawcett.
Green Coast Day takes place on the OCC campus in the Main Quad, and a dedicated Instagram account for the day posts updates on special activities.
For more information about the OCC Recycling Center, please visit the OCC Recycling Center webpage.