In 2011, Sustainable Fairfax received a certificate of recognition from State Senator Mark Leno's office. Click here to read the certificate!
Sustainable Fairfax is a nonprofit educational organization. We support the philosophy that we must attend to the needs of the present without sacrificing the ability of future generations and the natural world to provide for their own needs.
Our vision is to provide Community Education events that support the local economy, teach sustainable environmental practices, and build community. We strive to inspire citizens to take action on issues such as Climate Change, Toxics, Zero Waste, Food, Water, and other sustainability topics. We also work actively with our town and county governments, businesses, other non-profits, and community groups to create a connected community, strenghten our local economy, and support diverse ecology.
In practical terms, this means that we:
- Provide educational programs to teach home-scale sustainability practices, as well as host panels and forums on topics like landfill reduction, environmental practices, clean energy, and more.
- Support collaborative projects like the FairBuck, which we helped launch in 2011.
- Take on large initiatives like our Fairfax Zero Waste program.
- Organize activism and education around issues like the Plastic Bag Ban and GMO labeling.
- Partner to provide community events like Streets for People and the Sustainable Fairfax-FOCAS Craft Faire.
We strive to help all age groups in our community to work together to regenerate and preserve the social, economic, and environmental well-being of Fairfax and its sphere of influence.
See our Projects page for details on our work!
Sustainable Fairfax began as an inspiration to take local action on the global warming crisis in February of 1999.
Our first educational event was held in September of 1999. Soon
after, Community Choice resolutions were passed unanimously by the
town of Fairfax and the County of Marin. The town of Fairfax became
the 365th local government worldwide to join The
Cities for Climate Protection Campaign and the first town in Marin.
Co-founders Rebekah Collins and Odessa Wolfe made a commitment
to develop an organization intentionally focused on effective strategies to achieve sustainability goals for the benefit of Fairfax.
We hosted 12 Educational Forums from 1999 -2003
Worked with Drake High's SEA-DISC Internship program. Our interns
learned the ropes of working with local government to foster positive
change. They also worked with us to run our programs and host events.
Interns from Dominican College in San Rafael played a major role
in our event, ‘Creating Marin’s Energy Future.’
Held and documented 5 Brainstorming Sessions
on the Fairfax General Plan Revision gathering town's people's concerns and ideas to present
to the advisory committee.
Initiated Fairfax installing Downtown Recycling
Bins by building
a working coalition composed of Fairfax, Chamber of Commerce, Town
of Fairfax, Marin Resource and Recovery, Marin Conservation Corps,
seven local artists and White Hill Students. Fairfax installed its
first Downtown Recycling containers in March of 2001 and celebrated
this success with a Recycle Fair on May 20th 2001. The mosaic plaques
of native plants, animals, and insects are now displayed on all recycling
Began a Battery Recycling program - kicked off by a batteries
for treats trade during Halloween of 2001 - Sustainable Fairfax kept
an ongoing collection site for used household batteries-maintained
and documented by volunteers. Altogether Sustainable Fairfax collected
close to 1 1/2 tons of batteries over a 2-year period. Marin Hazardous
Waste now maintains a collection site at every firehouse or city
hall in Marin County.
In the fall of 2001 we began to develop a site for a Sustainability
Center in downtown Fairfax across from Town Hall.
Created a project of Sustainable Fairfax called Marin
Alternative energy Now!) A campaign to continue our work on local
solutions to climate change.
Core Board members began Training with Community
at Work in 2004
and spent over a year dedicated to laying out organizational structure
and purpose. Community at work donated all time and material to us.
In 2004, the Board hired an Executive Director with non-profit
and director experience to work as a consultant and help build a
complete Board of Directors.
In 2005, six new Board members were recruited to fulfill specific
tasks needed to reach our goals and vision.
In September of 2006, we secured a grant from Marin Community Foundation that allowed us to create the Sustainable Backyard.
- In December of 2006 we began our Community Education events that are held every month.
In 2007 we hosted our first two day training with the help of Andres Edwards that turned concerned citizens into the first members of our Volunteer Corps.
- Summer of 2007 we joined forces with the Inconvenient Group to bring Green Wednesdays to the Fairfax Farmer's Market.
October of 2007 we opened the Sustainability Center with the help of town, volunteers and donors that inlcuded generous support from Hal Brown and the County Board of Supervisors.
- In 2008, we expanded our Volunteer Corps action and kept our Center updated with information, a lending library, and displays .We continued to bring cutting-edge Community Education and Projects to work with the town, its citizens and other organizations to reach toward the goals of Community Choice Aggregation, Zero Waste, reduced use of Toxins, conservation and preservation of our Watershed, and encouraged Local bussiness and food production.
Sustainability simply means making something continue to exist. For
Sustainable Fairfax it refers specifically to behaviors of our human
culture. Since human life, like all life, sustains itself on the
abundance of the natural world, that abundance must be maintained
without destroying the ecological balance. A sustainable human culture
is one which allows and helps the natural world to regenerate itself
and remain healthy.
Native Americans and many other indigenous cultures
throughout the world accomplished this for thousands of years. Our
present civilization has consistently used nature faster than it can
regenerate and created waste faster than it can be absorbed. Our
lifestyle is not sustainable for human culture or the natural world. We
accept the fact that we are a part of the natural world and have
responsibility to care for it. We can do this in a way that supports
local economy and builds a strong community.
Sustainability means different things to different groups of people and our focus is on improving three areas:
1. Ecology - preserving the health and diversity of the natural systems throughout our town.
2. Economy - maintaining a healthy and vibrant local business community.
3. Community - promoting a balanced and strong sense of local and
global community while being inclusive of all humans and non-humans
present in our area and beyond.