Emerald Keepers, Working To Make Coronado A Model For Communities Around The Globe - Coronado Eagle & Journal | Coronado News | Coronado Island News: Coronado Island News

Emerald Keepers, Working To Make Coronado A Model For Communities Around The Globe

by Luan Troxel | Posted: Thursday, June 13, 2019 2:38 pm

Amy Steward is riding high. As a long-time community member, she has had her hand in many projects. She has done everything from teaching in CUSD, being the teacher behind the KCMS studio, which now bears her name, serving as the jump rope team coach to serving Coronado arts. But she might have now found her greatest calling in the creation of Emerald Keepers, a new non-profit dedicated to developing sustainable practices in Coronado.

When I spoke with her, Steward was full of excitement, just at the beginning of the organization’s official launch and with city support coming in the form of an official mayoral proclamation declaring, “the month of June as “Emerald Green, Ocean Blue” month in the City of Coronado and encourage all citizens to become true stewards of our Emerald Green, Ocean Blue village. With this proclamation we ask Citizens of Coronado to commit to sustainable practices and join together in an annual celebration commencing in 2020 – the year of perfect vision–– to commemorate Coronado’s environmental stewardship.”

While Steward’s goal is to eliminate single-use plastics and polystyrene, her means of getting there is education. “At heart,” she says, “I am an educator … that’s really what this is about – winning hearts and minds.”

Steward said she was thinking about what she now wanted to do in this part of her life – post-retirement from teaching. She said she initially wanted to decrease use of single-use plastics, starting with straws. Along with two other community members, Libby Troyer and Lisa Thompson, she began brainstorming. Together, they came up with the idea of trying to get restaurants and other businesses involved by creating an ocean friendly designation for restaurants that pledge to meet five specific criteria and to choose between several others. The five are to: use no polystyrene (ESP) foam; offer only non-plastic straws and upon request only; provide no plastic bags for to-go orders; follow proper recycling practices; use only reusable tableware for onsite dining and provide takeaway utensils upon request only.

So far, eight restaurants are listed on the Emerald Keepers website as having taken on the challenge. And Steward reiterates that the goal is to educate and so there is no plan to check up on the businesses to try to enforce compliance. Instead, she wants compliance to come from the internalization of the importance of the mission – “developing sustainable practices for the health of our oceans, our beach community of Coronado, and the world.”

It might sound somewhat “pie in the sky,” but Steward says, “I’m worried about future generations … and what do we have to lose? If we add up all of the little steps, we really can change the world.” She believes that if restaurants and other businesses, student organizations, and individuals all get involved, “Coronado can be a model for communities in California and around the globe.”

One way to involve individuals is to get them to sign the pledge, which can be found at Emeraldkeepers.org: “As an Emerald Keeper of the Emerald Green, Ocean Blue– Coronado and the world, I pledge to reduce, reuse, recycle and refuse. In doing so, I will work to eliminate single-use plastics in my daily life. I will walk or ride my bike more often and pick up three pieces of trash every day.”

Additionally, the website is full of tips – one for each day of the month of June – that individuals can follow to help them develop sustainable practices. These are simple things, like carrying a reusable water bottle rather than purchasing single-use water bottles or riding a bike or walking instead of driving into town for errands.

As to the future, Steward says Emerald Keepers is looking to 2020 as a year of “perfect vision,” working with community partners to “create a grand celebration with lectures, demonstrations, concerts, films, art, and more — all revolving around our healthy ocean through our care and responsible actions as Emerald Keepers.”

Steward has found an inspirational calling and she seems to be living by an inspirational quote of Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”