Architect Sarah Susanka, author of The Not So Big Life

Anyone who’s ever traveled the Moroccan desert, where sirocco winds blow plastic bags out of landfills to hang in scraggly shards from bushes and trees like some eerie doomed forest, never forgets it. However, living in Santa Barbara where there aren’t such vivid reminders of pollution, it’s easy to slip into living “green” when convenient. We mean well when we toss just about anything in the recycling bin (dragging those used batteries to the proper drop-off is a pain). Perhaps we send $10 to save polar bears. We even take our own bag to Trader Joe’s. Complacency is often shattered only when disaster strikes in our backyard.

But wakeup calls also come in positive tones, inspired by passionate visionaries on a quest to help us fix the jam we’re in. Santa Barbara is one of the easiest places in the world to get on board; we only need to decide we’re in, and take that first step toward sustainable living. A six-week course called Join the Green Revolution at SBCC Adult Education is a great place to start.

It’s no coincidence the course’s guiding light is an architect, John D. Kelley. Architects are a leading voice in the green crusade; having accepted responsibility for the huge percentage of global warming gases that come from buildings, they’ve articulated a position on how to attain carbon neutrality in new and remodeled buildings by the year 2030.

On the topic of living consciously and buying wisely, Kelley is optimistic and full of ideas. His ecological solutions to building and remodeling form the basis of a lifetime commitment to living ecologically. His ability to inspire is immediate, leaving the casual inquirer imbued with hopeful intentions and a desire to know more.

If you’re planning to build or remodel any time in the near future, this course has your name on it. As coordinator and moderator of the six-part series, Kelley has lined up a number of experts who will detail green options for construction, transportation, food, goods and services, and home and garden. Students who enroll in Join the Green Revolution will also learn how to measure their ecological footprint and reduce it. Classes begin Tuesday, September 11, at 5:30 p.m. at the main library’s Faulkner Gallery.

A series kickoff event will take place Thursday, September 6, at 7 p.m., at the Marjorie Luke Theatre, featuring well-respected architect Sarah Susanka. Author of The Not So Big Life, published by Random House earlier this year, Susanka spearheads the movement advocating better, not bigger, which is resonating well beyond the community of designers and architects. Susanka has become something of an icon on the green scene, a leader urging us toward quality of life and away from grandiose but empty consumption. (Perhaps the era of mansionization and closets for Imelda Marcos or Candy Spelling is waning.) Susanka will be on hand to sign books after the lecture.


The kickoff event takes place Thursday, September 6, at 7 p.m. at the Marjorie Luke Theatre (21 E. Cota St.); call 884-4087. Join the Green Revolution classes begin Tuesday, September 11, at 5:30 p.m. at the Faulkner Gallery (40 E. Anapamu St.); call 564-5608.


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