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Longboat hosts free classes on sustainability

The workshop, which focuses on practical tips to save energy and improve local water quality, will be offered twice.

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  • | 10:50 a.m. February 25, 2020
Faucets can waste water, but the home toilet is the top residential water user.
Faucets can waste water, but the home toilet is the top residential water user.
  • Longboat Key
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Does the largest source of water use in the average American home come from:

A. showers

B. faucets

C. toilets

The answer is actually C. Toilets account for 30% of the average American home’s indoor water consumption, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency. And replacing old toilets with updated, efficient models could conserve thousands of gallons of water a year — and thousands of dollars over the lifetime of the toilets.

That’s just one of the energy- and money-saving tips you can learn by attending either one of the free Green Living Workshops from 10-11:30 a.m. on two consecutive Fridays, Feb. 28 and March 6, at Longboat Key Town Hall.

The goal of the workshops, according to Sarasota County Sustainability Program Supervisor Sara Kane, is to improve quality of life in the local area and raise awareness for Sustainability Program projects. Each of the two sessions will be a combination of three classes: one on green living, one on a book about solutions for climate change mitigation and one on microplastics.

Kane, who teaches the green living portion, said she tries to keep her presentation simple and focus on practical solutions. That means things like switching to LED light bulbs and turning lights off when you leave a room, which both save energy and money.

“It doesn't have to be intimidating because there are little things that you can do, and that you might already be doing in your own life to help,” she said.

The green living portion, according to Kane, will include an overview of why sustainability is important. She will tackle the subject through categories such as energy, water and food, highlighting what individuals can do to reduce their carbon footprint through each one.

Program director Lee Hayes Byron will teach the second portion, which focuses on the book “Drawdown” by Paul Hawken. Kane said “Drawdown” is solutions-focused and includes quizzes to show how people can reduce green house gas emissions in different areas. Byron will highlight what local residents can do to help.

The last portion will focus on the effect of microplastics, taught by water resources agent Abbey Tyrna at the first workshop and Kane and Byron at the second. They’ll focus on what microplastics are and share data on how much waste is being found in local waterways, as well as how to reduce said waste. Kane said Tyrna has been conducting studies with local school groups.

“We are surrounded by water here, Longboat definitely is,” Kane said. “We need to be aware of that. Being aware of what you put on your lawn and those types of things. When it rains, it could eventually go out into the bay and into the Gulf and cause water quality issues.

“So as homeowners and residents, there's lots of things that we can do to improve.


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