|Reston Environmental Action (REACT) is a non-profit organization mobilizing residents in grassroots activities promoting the environmental and community health of Reston. We support a sustainable local economy that respects our natural and human resources and strive to increase awareness of the impact of individual and community lifestyle and consumption choices on the land, air, water and the community.|
Home by home, neighborhood by neighborhood,
Participate in a REACT project
Our projects are carried out through neighborhood meetings. Your neighborhood could be your cluster, street or building. When neighbors work together to make changes for the environment, it’s more effective and enjoyable.
We are sometimes asked why we hold neighborhood meetings instead of simply passing out brochures and placing the information on the website so more people can access it whenever they choose.
REACT aims to reach more than the highly self-motivated people that merely need the information to act. Those residents can accomplish so much more by sharing their information with their neighbors. REACT’s mission is to organize residents in community projects so that more people become involved. This includes people who have a vague knowledge of the issue, but aren’t motivated to act until they attend a meeting and learn more. And people who aren’t initially interested, but like the social aspect of a neighborhood meeting and then find they want to learn more.
Research shows that simply providing information does not generally lead to a change in habits. The good news is that a few simple extra steps make a big difference. Working with other residents, especially neighbors, and participating in meetings has a great impact. Certain projects, such as Reston Recycles/Close the Loop and Drive Less, Breathe Better especially lend themselves to neighborhood meetings because information can be tailored to the specific location. In addition, the phrase “community building” may be overused, but it’s not overrated! Neighbors working together increases the sense of community and is often used as an indicator of a neighborhood’s overall quality of life.
And lastly, by working through our projects, we are able to evaluate our progress and make changes as needed.
The projects involve these simple steps:
You set a date, time and place to hold a meeting with your neighbors. It can take place in your or a neighbor’s home or outside in a nearby common area.
REACT produces a flier announcing the meeting and distributes them to your neighbors’ doors. If you can, mention the meeting to neighbors you see in person.
The REACT project committee members bring handouts and other resources to the meeting, present practical information and discusses the topic with residents. REACT committee members profess to not being experts in the subject of their committees, but they are certainly passionate and have experience in taking small, and not so small, steps themselves. They share information not only through the handouts, but through personal observations and knowledge.
A few weeks or months after the meeting (depending on the topic), REACT sends surveys to learn if neighbors adopted any changes since the meeting.
We create a flier with the results of the survey and distributes them to your neighbors.
But what if no one shows up?
This is a common worry we hear from residents who are considering holding a neighborhood meeting. No one should feel pressured about turnout at a neighborhood meeting. If no one shows up, we simply go home! But that’s not likely to happen. Even if only one person shows up, it’s worth it to us. But that’s not likely to happen either. Turnout generally ranges from 3 to 12 residents. Plus, there are often a couple residents who are not able to attend, but ask for the information and participate in the follow-up survey. The way we see it, if only 2 residents per neighborhood make changes, that adds up to a lot of change throughout Reston. And those 2 residents tend to share their new habits with other folks. Home by home, neighborhood by neighborhood, growing a greener Reston!
Reston Recycles/Close the Loop
Do you and your neighbors know what to recycle at your curb or in your building? Are yogurt containers acceptable? (Varies) Do plastic rings need to be removed from bottles? (No) All neighborhoods that have participated in this project increased their recycling! We complete the project with a meeting to provide more information on closing the loop by re-using and reducing. These participants receive a reusable shopping bag.
Surveys after Close the Loop meetings have all shown increases in the use of durable products such as cloth napkins, and in the use of recycled-content products such as paper and tissue.
Think about the impact of simply placing items in a recycling bin. We are preventing many pounds of mining and manufacturing waste caused by extracting and processing virgin materials. Using recycled materials to make new products saves energy and other resources, reduces greenhouse gases and pollution, and reduces deforestation and damage to fragile ecosystems.
Yard & Garden
Imagine your neighborhood with:
Healthy soil from recycling with compost.
Simply hold a meeting in your home and we will provide handouts and present the information!
“It is estimated that seven million birds die each year because of exposure to lawn pesticides.” Audubon at Home
Drive Less, Breathe Better
We all want to reduce the impact of global warming, and we may know that car use is major contributor to both global warming emissions and pollution, but reducing single-occupancy car trips isn’t easy. We can help. Hold a meeting in your neighborhood and, along with those scary statistics on what cars do to the environment and our health, we will bring bus schedules and trail maps specific to your neighborhood, as well as other resource information such as ride-sharing programs.
“Although we have resisted assigning an overall ranking to the different categories of personal consumption, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that personal use of cars and light trucks is the single most damaging consumer behavior. It is a major direct cause of greenhouse gases and many types of air pollution.” Union of Concerned Scientists
Energy Conservation & Efficiency
According to Co-op America, “The quickest, easiest and most powerful way to move at the speed and scale necessary to counteract the worst effects of climate change is by vastly ramping up our energy efficiency efforts – at home, at work, and as a nation and world. It’s the closest thing we’ve got to a magic bullet that will solve the climate crisis, but all of us have to be willing to do our part, right now.” Participants in this project receive information on a variety of ways to reduce energy use. Less energy use also reduces pollution and environmental damage due to coal mining.