On November 19th, the County of Santa Cruz presented 69 businesses with a Green Business Certificate.  10 of those businesses are in our area, including Brunetti’s Interiors, the City of Scotts Valley, Faust Salon and Spa, San Lorenzo Water District, Santa Cruz County Bank, Scotts Valley Chamber of Commerce, Scotts Valley Water District, Suki’s Boho Boutique, Wild Roots Market, and Satellite Telework Network.  I interviewed several of these businesses to understand how and why they use green practices.

 The Scotts Valley Chamber of Commerce recently put in all new LED lighting, which dropped their energy usage almost 50%, on top of using only 100% recycled paper. Angela Marshall, the office manager, spearheaded their green commitment, “inspired by this youth-led-movement.” During the process, she realized that “Every little bit that we can do to make the slightest change makes a difference,” even in their two-person office. Marshall also believes the Chamber has an important environmental impact on other businesses in the area, as they “Educate their chamber members and advocate for others to follow suit.” 

 Donna Brunetti, from Brunetti’s Interiors, runs her business in an environmentally friendly manner and persuades her clients to think green as well.  At the awards ceremony she told me, “In my design practices I like to build a good foundation and a good foundation can last you decades, even the color scheme. I direct people towards things that are not wild, temporary, or something they’ll get tired of easily...  It breaks my heart when someone throws out marble, because it takes millions and millions of years to create and then someone will think ‘I don’t like the color,’ and beat it out with a hammer.” 

 Leann Ravinale, the Conservation Coordinator at the Scotts Valley Water District, mused, “It’s not just making the changes, it’s getting people to think about what they’re buying… Everyone is really busy, so it takes commitment, but in the end you feel better.  It’s our part.”  She feels that green practices are important to the Scotts Valley Water District because “There are so many things a business can do [to protect the planet].  It’s important to our values to do so… We have to walk the walk.”

 The Santa Cruz County Bank in Scotts Valley has been practicing green behaviors as a part of a “bankwide effort, achieved at all 5 locations, including administrative offices.” They’re thrilled to achieve the Green Business Award for their ordering practices and eco-friendly remodels, “utilizing sustainable and environmentally friendly products and materials.” Mary Anne Carson, the Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, proudly reported, “It’s been part of our business’ DNA from the beginning.” Carson personally believes in the importance of green practices because “We all live on this precious planet and we’re doing our part to protect the future.  It’s simply a sound business practice.”

 Congratulations are in order for our newly certified green businesses.  If you stop by any of their establishments, make sure to thank them for their efforts to preserve our beautiful valley.  Hopefully, next year, even more businesses will be welcomed into the conservational fold.

Katie Evans just graduated from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington.  When she’s not writing articles, you can find her hiking in the redwoods, baking, or reading a book cuddled up to her favorite pug.  Reach her at kevans@pressbanner.com.

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