A Greener San Clemente


A Greener San Clemente

02/06/08 ?Print

Vol. 3, Issue 6, February 7-13, 2008

By Nathan Wright
San Clemente Times

Gary and Laurie Headrick aren?t exactly environmentalists, but
their cries for sustainability in San Clemente are already making waves

Gary Headrick addressed City Council garbed in green, an appropriate
color for a man asking his elected leaders to adopt environmentally
friendly building practices. Just a year prior, the longtime San
Clemente resident wouldn?t have dreamed of making a speech at the
televised meeting, yet there he was January 21, speaking on behalf of
439 residents looking to make changes now to provide a brighter future
for their grandchildren.

But don?t call Headrick, or his wife Laurie, an environmentalist. The
couple shop at the weekly Farmers Market, are looking into converting a
1985 diesel Mercedes to run on biofuel and lead a group called San
Clemente Green, yet they are interested more in change than politics.
At the most recent City Council meeting they did not speak about the
upcoming Measure C election or the Foothill-South (241) Toll Road
extension?both being environmentally charged topics that can divide a
community. Instead, the Headricks are working on a unifying effort in
San Clemente to aid in a global cause.

?A little group here and a little group there can really add up to a
huge global movement,? said Headrick, 54. ?In our little way we?re part
of something much bigger.?

San Clemente Green began innocently last year when the Headricks
chanced upon an advertisement for a tour of environmentally friendly
Pasadena, a city that prides itself in green practices. The Headricks
missed the tour, but did contact their own city to learn about local
green efforts. Principal planner Jim Pechous took the call and
suggested they may want to approach the council. ?He told us what it?s
going to take is someone in the community to step up and take the
lead,? said Headrick. And so he and his wife got to work.

The couple set up a small table on Avenida Del Mar at the Farmers
Market, chatting with anyone interested in building green and lifestyle
choices that promote resource sustainability. They spoke on energy
conversation and solar panels, and how green technology can save home
owners money in just two or three years. They spoke about buying
heirloom seeds from online retailers that will produce vegetables and
fruits year after year instead of buying seeds from box stores that
will often yield only a single harvest. They spoke about building with
environmentally friendly materials, opting for fast-growing wood and
bamboo and for paints without toxic and harmful chemicals.

They were thrilled by the results. ?Eighty percent of the people we
spoke to were very supportive of what we were doing,? said Headrick.
?They gave us so much more than just their signatures and their
support. They showed us that we aren?t the only ones who think this is
important.?

Of those they spoke to, 439 signed a statement asking the City Council
to adopt a Sustainability Action Plan in 2008. The council paid
attention, designating such a plan as one of its top priorities at its
annual Vital Few Priorities meeting on January 29. This plan is
designed to identify and implement sustainable practices and educate
the community on these practices.

The council?s passage of the action plan was met by a standing ovation
from San Clemente Green. Councilmember Wayne Eggleston congratulated
the group privately after the meeting. ?He came up afterward and said
he?s never seen something come up and make it to the top of the list
within only a matter of months,? said Headrick. ?Usually, it?s a much
longer process.?

With the plan under way San Clemente Green?s focus will shift to
generating even more interest in the community. ?We think that?s where
our strength is?in gaining bigger numbers,? said Headrick. ?We?re just
going to try to reach as many people as we can. We feel that if people
knew what choices were the right choices, they?d do the best thing for
the environment.? So if you see a man garbed in green manning a table
on Del Mar and asking for your ear, chances are his name is Gary and
he?ll have plenty to share about a greener San Clemente.