Eco-Friendly Topics Tossed Around at Manahawkin Holiday Inn

May 10, 2017

Green Drinks were on the menu at the Manahawkin Holiday Inn on April 26,  but no one was sipping any colorful concoctions. The group is a loosely knit international group of environmentally concerned people who hold informal networking meetings, usually at an establishment early in the evening where people can sit together and share “green” ideas while also enjoying a beverage.   

“It’s a time for people to share ideas about the environment and sustainability issues,” said Barbara Reynolds, a Manahawkin resident and event coordinator. “It’s done in a no-pressure situation. People can catch up on what businesses and residents are working on. It’s a time to bounce around ideas and share some camaraderie.”

Green Drinks’ website says, “We are a lively mixture of people from NGOs (non-governmental organizations), academia, government and business. Come along and you’ll be made welcome. Just say, “are you green?” and we will look after you and introduce you to whoever is there. It’s a great way of catching up with people and also for making new contacts.”

Reynolds said Green Drinks began making inroads in the area in early 2015 with an evening of networking at Lefty’s Tavern in Barnegat Township.

“We’d like to have more of these meetings in the area, maybe once a month,” she said. “At the moment, the meetings have been held sporadically. These are good times to learn from each other, hear what is on people’s minds. One of my biggest concerns is doing away with plastic bags. We need to get them out of the waste stream.”

Reynolds said she scheduled the meeting for April 26 because it fell between two key events – the March for Science on April 22 and the Climate Change March on April 29.

“I attended the March for Science in Washington,” said Sue Cummings of Stafford. “The message was that science matters. This (presidential) administration has an anti-science sentiment, and we must embrace science because global warming and climate change are happening.”   

Another topic that came up was encouraging towns to participate in Sustainable Jersey, a program launched in 2009 for municipalities that want to go green, save money and take steps to sustain their quality of life over the long term.

Reynolds said she is helping coordinate efforts in Stafford. She explained that in order to achieve Sustainable New Jersey certification, communities have to engage in numerous eco-friendly projects and accumulate points for bronze or silver status.

“We’ve created a Sustainable Stafford team to look at various projects,” she said. “Stafford already has community gardens set up by Manahawkin Lake and Mill Creek Road. There are several township employees on the team, and that is important because you do want to get support from the town.”

She noted Long Beach Township received Sustainable New Jersey status at the end of 2015.

“They have done an outstanding job with their efforts in environmental protection and healthy and sustainable practices,” said Reynolds. “They’re a good example for Stafford and other towns to follow.”

Louise Sonnenberg, a Ship Bottom resident, said Alliance for a Living Ocean had conducted beach cleanups on Long Beach Island for Earth Day.

“I saw them collecting a lot of trash from Ship Bottom and Surf City,” she said. “What impressed me was how many young people were involved.”

Merry Jane Mattson of Barnegat Township said she is encouraged “by seeing a renewed interest in the future of our planet.”  

“We can’t keep squandering our resources,” she said. “It’s wonderful that people are raising the consciousness about how we live and that we have to take care of our environment.”  

Reynolds said the group will meet again at the Holiday Inn on Wednesday, June 28, from 6 to 8 p.m.

“Hopefully, people will drop by and talk about what they want to do to protect and save the environment,” she said.    

— Eric Englund

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