The success of an organization relies solely on the efforts of the individuals that comprise that organization. Championship winning sports teams employ this idea by chasing superstars to sign. In corporate America, the companies that prosper the most have chief executive officers with household names.
Championship teams and corporations have a common goal of selling their product. Whether it is iPods, Cadillac Escalades or the professional game of basketball, what they sell is something that is consumed where quality of that product plays a major part in why they are successful.
When the product is living a certain lifestyle, as the green movement is dedicated to doing, the salespeople that are employed must be not only passionate and educated but must practice what they preach.
The members of the Green Long Beach organization are the epitome of that type of salesperson. The core members of Green Long Beach are passionate about being green and enjoy educating their community about how to lead a green lifestyle. For them, success is not only in the number of people that receive their message but also in how their organization is perceived.
Ina Parker-Hicks, 32, the festival director for Green Long Beach’s upcoming Green Long Beach Festival, considers herself the epitome of being green and is working to further the group’s appearance.
“I’m very involved with the community and I want to see it thrive,” she said. “I want Green Long Beach to become more of a force; something that when you hear the name ‘Green Long Beach,’ you’ll know that they’re involved with something substantial.”
Green Long Beach’s primary motives are uniting the city of Long Beach ’s community leaders and private business owners along with the community to embrace the green lifestyle and to influence local government to pass city ordinances that are in favor of the movement.
Amy Tanaka, the marketing coordinator for the upcoming Green Long Beach Festival, points out that “ the concept of going green is one component; pushing for community involvement is another. We don’t necessarily want to lead, we want to give people ideas and give them the opportunity to take initiative.”
Founded in 2009, the group’s primary goal has been the organizing of the annual Green Long Beach Festival, the third of which is planned for Saturday, June 11 at the Long Beach Promenade from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Local artists, musicians and green business owners, as well as city leaders and other supporters of the green movement, are expected to attend.
Tanaka, 27, is an artist who received her bachelor of arts in studio art at Cal State University Long Beach, makes her living as a bartender and spends what free time she has creating wonderful paintings and taking on freelance work designing logos and promotional materials. Tanaka has several projects going on at one time, ranging from claymation animated shorts to producing art inspired from odd objects and random things people throw away. With such a full schedule, Tanaka still finds the time to meet with her Green Long Beach core members to plan fundraisers to fund the annual Green Long Beach Festival.
“Compared to other things I’ve been involved with, Green Long Beach is smaller and more community oriented,” Tanaka said, regarding why she continues to volunteer for Green Long Beach. “Lots of different people get involved and money is not the issue. Money is only a means to get the message out there.”
Passion is essential in matters such as the green movement. Passion, Parker-Hicks believes, is what the Green Long Beach members have; it’s also what she believes will make them a successful organization. Parker-Hicks also believes that change from within is what’s needed to truly live the lifestyle. “One day, you have an epiphany,” she said. “And for me, that epiphany was having a place for my babies to live in.”
The green movement is not without its detractors, with critics citing it as a fad and business leaders calling it too expensive to integrate into their business aspects. The Green Long Beach core members are aware of these opposing ideas but are not deterred.
“You have to grab the low-hanging fruit,” Tiffany Chen, the community co-catalyst for Green Long Beach, said in regards to how the group aligns its assertiveness when dealing with those that oppose their ideas. “You can’t change everything all at once. You have to start with the things you can feasibly change: the city, the infrastructure and the community. And that’s what we’re trying to do.”
Chen, 25, is another core group member whose passion for working for the community and in the green movement began at Cal State Long Beach, where she received a degree in environmental science and policy. Her degree has led to her working in the City of Long Beach ’s Office of Sustainability where she is part of a team responsible for implementing the Sustainable City Action Plan.
Having a city employee as a core-member would seem to be in the group’s favor, yet Tanaka doesn’t see it that way and would like to see more of the community involved.
“We need (to be more) involved, aware, and willing to be responsible for the city because we make up the city; not just city officials.” Tanaka said. “We have a say as a community…not just city workers. Everything in this city is all of ours and our responsibility.”
Currently, the group is in crunch time; the Green Long Beach Festival is on the horizon and funds are still required to make the festival reach its success of its first two years. Two fundraising events have been scheduled at two separate locations in Long Beach. The Zephyr Vegetarian Café will host a fundraising event on May 14 while Forbidden City, a Chinese restaurant where Tanaka bartends, hosts theirs on May 17.
Proceeds from both events, as well as previous events, will go directly to funding the festival. As soon as the festival ends it will be business again as usual as the group will begin planning the Green Long Beach Festival for 2012.
-Fernando Alcantara , writer
Article taken from Fernando Alcantara’s Blog.