These are unprecedented times. We are coping with being separated from experiences that bring us joy. We are looking for answers and experts and leaders to help us move forward. We are taking each day, moment by moment, discovering what is truly essential and what is worth the risk.
Yet, now is not a time to give in to confusion or complacency, when so many are poised to exploit the pandemic. The Trump administration is moving forward with rolling back environmental protections, weakening fuel emission standards on new cars, and further cutting public health protections. Other longtime bad actors from the plastics industry have begun promoting single-use plastic as a “more sanitary” alternative to reusables, in addition to trying to roll back bans on single-use plastic bags. Now is a time to act to preserve hard-won advancements.
Since the start of the pandemic, the Ecology Center has done just that. Our Berkeley Farmers’ Markets expanded their health protocols to ensure customers are as safe as possible, while they continue to enjoy fresh, nutrient-rich, locally-sourced produce. We’ve compiled our guidelines and best practices into a handbook for the California Alliance of Farmers’ Markets, an Ecology Center Food and Farming program, to share with farmers’ markets statewide. Farmers markets are a key source of fresh fruits and vegetable, support small farms that are integral to our food system and health, and increase healthy food access for EBT/CalFresh shoppers and some of the most at-risk individuals in our communities. Your contribution at this crucial time can help keep fresh produce readily available.
The volume of Curbside Recycling in Berkeley has increased along with the health risks to our drivers. Yet, our recycling drivers have pushed to maintain the same high level of service, while implementing new sanitizing protocols, social distancing requirements, and safety guidelines. Berkeley curbside recycling continues to reduce waste and landfill, conserve natural resources, and save energy.
Our Ecology Center Store is taking online orders for pickup, as a way to continue to provide products that protect your health and our planet. Our Help Desk continues to field hundreds of your questions online, while settling into remote operations.
Our workshops have moved to a virtual format, so that you can safely continue to expand your green practices, and join interactive Talks and Webinars on pressing ecological imperatives that include plastic pollution and climate change. Our Youth Development program has introduced new ways to work with young environmentalists, while flattening the curve.
The Ecology Center provides essential services year-round, a fact which has become more visible in this crisis. We are proud and grateful to be able to continue supporting our community’s health, safety, and resilience during this critical period. Over the last fifty years, Ecology Center has survived many tough economic and societal challenges, because of our community support–people like you who value the essential work that we do.
As we maneuver through these COVID-19 times and beyond, we are committed to continuing to provide critical essential services, community support resources, and leadership for lasting change. But we cannot do it without you.
Your dedication to the multifaceted work that we do is more important now than ever. Please consider making a contribution that will enable us to move our work forward with the goal of emerging from this crisis stronger and even more focused.
Wishing you and your loved ones health, strength, and unity during this time,
Executive Director, Ecology Center