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A New Green Building is the Jewel in the Crown for MEarth and the Hilton Bialek Habitat

April 25, 2012
Green teams that dare to dream big can take inspiration from the newly opened Green Building on the grounds of the Hilton Bialek Habitat, a ten-acre environmental education center adjacent to Carmel Middle School in Carmel, California.  The multi-purpose space will provide students with the opportunity to learn about sustainability and the environment in a building that was constructed using environmentally sound design and construction.  The Green Building is predominantly lighted and heated by the sun, has a living roof that cools the building and is home to 477 native plants, and has tanks to catch rainwater that irrigates the garden.  In addition to serving as a living classroom, the building will be used for workshops and public events on weekends. 
The Green Building realizes the dreams and collaborative efforts over the past several years of MEarth (pronounced Me-Earth), the Habitat’s non-profit, the Carmel Unified School District, and numerous other individuals and organizations in the Monterey Bay area.  The vision for the building is that it be a teaching space and resource for the larger community that demonstrates all aspects of sustainable living.  “In addition to the classes held on a daily basis at the Habitat, MEarth recently hosted a “pop-up” dinner in the green building in collaboration with Casanova Restaurant in Carmel highlighting sustainable, locally-sourced food and the numerous sustainable aspects of the building”, commented Andrea Lewis, Executive Director of MEarth.  “On May 5, 2012, we’ll also be hosting the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s B-WET Ocean Guardian School Program Summit in the green building”, anticipating some 50 people in attendance from both Central and Northern California.”
MEarth is the steward of the Habitat and all that the environs offer to educating and inspiring students of any age to understand, value and protect the earth’s natural resources.  What a treasure this is for the community.   Andrea Lewis, Executive Director of MEarth, is a former colleague at the Attorney General’s Office.  Before her position with MEarth, she served as Assistant Secretary for Education and Quality Programs at the California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal-EPA).  My green office soul swells with pride to know that MEarth is the beneficiary of Andrea’s expertise and successful career in state government implementing large-scale and innovative programs. What a superb match!
It occurs to me that it would be a good thing for green teams to learn what efforts may be underway or incubating in their local communities that they can increase awareness about and support for.   I believe that sensitivity to environmental issues largely is the result of what we experience in our lives outside of the workplace.  What better means of garnering support for green business practices than supporting and sharing news about community events and activities available to employees and their families?  MEarth and the Hilton Bialek Habitat are a great example of sustainable living outside the walls of the office that can reap dividends for greening the office inside the walls.