Locals Teamup for Healthy Environment

Courtesy photo    Miss Alameda Jessica Robinson (right) with student interns left to right Alex Wu, Erika Wu, Ming Gao, Wendi Vien, and Ella Burk. Chris Slafter from Clean Water Fund appears in the back row.

 

Former Miss California USA participant Jessica Robinson, known locally as Miss Alameda, has joined up with Alameda’s ReThink Disposable program to involve high school students in a new environmental project to help 100 local businesses go “packaging free.”

The young people will produce creative work such as posters and films to complement the work of on-the-ground champions who are engaging businesses. The program saves the average small business thousands of dollars each year in packaging costs as well as reducing the impact of trash on the local environment. 

“We’re developing a pretty passionate group of young people,” Robinson said. In addition to her beauty queen history, Robinson has an alter-ego superhero character called “Resilience” she uses to raise the profile of recycling and waste issues at schools around the region. She’s sat on the board of the Downtown Alameda Business Association (DABA) for several years. Robinson is helping spearhead the ReThink Disposable campaign, which the City of Alameda launched with DABA in August. 

The $400,000 campaign is backed by the Oakland-based non-profit Clean Water Fund. Robinson saw getting involved as a natural fit, since she has been working with the city since 2010 on waste-reduction and climate-change education. She was also part of the effort to mandate recycling and composting on the Island in 2012 and 2013. 

Robinson will be working with high schools in Alameda to recruit more interns to work on the ReThink program. She and some of her interns joined the Alameda Coastal Cleanup Day on Sept. 16, when 486 volunteers removed 2,200 pounds of debris from the shoreline. 

Working with a young woman who is so keen on waste prevention issues was a great way to bring more young people into the ReThink Disposable campaign, said Clean Water Fund Program Manager Samantha Sommer. 

“Jessica is great. She goes out in this costume, and she just instantly draws the enthusiasm of young people into the mix,” said Sommer. “For this program to be successful we need to convince business owners they can save thousands of dollars by switching from disposables, but we also need the whole community to champion the campaign, and that includes young people.”

For more on the program, contact Sommer at ssommer@cleanwater.org.