Dear Friends of Ecology Action:
New years are opportune moments to talk about new chapters. And Ecology Action’s next chapter is a winner. As Ecology Action moves into its next fifty years, you can look forward to more innovative and worthwhile work from a nonprofit comfortable with and confident in re-inventing itself to meet the environmental needs of its community.
First, some reflection on the past year, full of transition and opportunity. As a dedicated supporter of Ecology Action, you already know about the closure of the recycling center last October. During its twenty years as a downtown fixture, the center diverted over seventy-eight million pounds of material from local landfills.
So, Ecology Action finds itself in the enviable position of accomplishing the goal of all socially conscious nonprofits: putting itself out of business. Ecology Action was founded in 1969 with the express mission of creating a culture of reduction and reclamation in Central Texas. Now, every home in Austin has a blue bin, and the City reports that 87% of Austinites recycle.
Certainly there are massive amounts of recyclable materials still not properly diverted, but by any standard there has been progress, and Ecology Action is proud of the leading role it has played. We are encouraged by the City’s emphasis on landfill diversion, allowing Ecology Action to shift its focus to other pressing environmental needs through a series of big initiatives.
There’s the Austin Materials Marketplace, facilitating business-to-business material reuse in Austin. There’s the Zero Waste consulting, helping public and private entities keep almost all discarded materials out of landfills. And then there’s land recycling, an innovation that puts Ecology Action back in the vanguard of environmental activism. The Circles Acres Nature Preserve is Ecology Action’s first major success in remediating a former landfill into a wetland preserve, learning space, and community park. Through our efforts at Circle Acres and the newly established Center for Sustainable Futures, Ecology Action is moving towards what we consider the future of recycling: stewarding damaged land and putting it back to communal use. Ecology Action’s mission to recycle land in 2016 shares the same sense of purpose as recycling glass bottles did in 1969, to put ourselves out of business, to find and fulfill the next environmental need.
Which brings us back to this special moment in this new year. Ecology Action is coupling its commitment to zero-waste leadership and land recycling with a recommitment to connecting with and expanding its membership. We want you to know that your support is meaningful to us. We want you to know that your support of Ecology Action makes you part of something unique and enterprising.
And, of course, we want to ask you for a couple of favors. Please continue your financial support; a gift of just $50.00 allows Ecology Action to continue its original and effective work. Also, please spread the word about Ecology Action’s impact. Please help us grow our ecologically minded community here in Central Texas.
For information about Ecology Action, and a calendar of upcoming events, please visit ecology-action.org, or visit us at the Austin Earth Day Festival at Mueller Hangar on April 23, 2016.
Eric Dieter, Ecology Action Supporter & former Board Member