Meet this month’s “Sustainability Snapshot,” Marissa Adelstein, and learn more about her efforts to live sustainably:

What inspired you to adopt more sustainable practices in your life?

We were both raised by parents that helped shape how we adopt sustainable practices in our adult lives. My partner, Zak, grew up on the east coast in Amherst, Massachusetts where recycling and composting were the norm, second-hand clothes were the only clothes, books were borrowed, and charitable activities within the community were a priority.

I grew up in Centennial, Colorado and continue to appreciate how my parents adamantly separate their recycling, reuse the rare plastic bag until it no longer resembles a bag, and rarely haul any waste to the curb on trash day. We carpooled or rode bikes when we needed to get around, even in an urban sprawled suburbia. My parents always made us aware of how our long adolescent showers impacted the planet during some of the worst droughts in Colorado history.

Now our love for the outdoors and community, paired with an understanding of our impact on the health of future generations is what keeps us mindful of our lifestyle choices. We compost at home, refill our eco-friendly liquids at refill stations when possible, keep plastic to a minimum, pay attention to product labels, and ultimately try to live minimally. We shop small, support local business and farms, and continue to practice everything our parents promoted from an early age.

I have purposefully sought a career that is dedicated to sustainability via the built environment. To bolster my knowledge base, I read and educate myself on how both the public and private sector can work together to build housing options that integrate renewable energy technologies and resources, public transit, and community-driven sustainable programs.

Sustainability Snapshot: Marissa Adelstein

Can you give some examples of how you practice a sustainable lifestyle (either related to zero waste, renewable energy, conservation, involvement with the Evergreen Sustainability Alliance, etc.)?

Living in a place like Evergreen makes us even more conscious of how we impact our environment. We recognize how beautiful our mountain home and community are and feel a heightened sense of awareness of how our footprint can impact a natural space.

  • We compost at home with a simple tumbler that makes it easy to take our organic waste right out our back door to reduce the reusable waste that goes into the landfill.
  • We are mindful of the household and beauty products that we purchase and try refill our eco-friendly liquids at refill stations when possible and use bar soap as opposed to those in plastic containers. During the COVID pandemic, I have even been able to use the time to make some of my own personal care products! Knowing that buying in bulk helps reduce the downstream waste encourages us to be mindful of our actions. We shop small and second-hand and support as many local businesses and farms as possible.
  • Traveling is a major hobby that we try to optimize by carpooling or even riding our bikes whenever possible.
  • Donating both time and funds to local and international sustainable and conservation groups is something that we try to do frequently, knowing that a little can go a long way.
  • Joining the Evergreen Sustainability Alliance’s Action Council this year has opened doors both locally and statewide to help impact how communities create best practices to support sustainability in many arenas, especially as it pertains to waste and recycling of materials.

What words of wisdom do you have for someone just getting started on their journey to ‘go green’?

I feel like the first step in starting a journey is to align with the “why”. Why go green? Why change habits? I find that staying curious about the “why” is what drives change. For me, I find that learning more about the impacts of climate change and population growth can be overwhelming, yet a very humbling reality that sets my green practices into motion.

Know that even the smallest sustainable decisions positively move the needle, no matter how much. Start small and know that there are a million ways to create a greener lifestyle. Pick one, any one, and stick to it!

Also know that there are incredible resources, organizations, companies, individuals, communities, cities, and countries trying to make a move toward greener practices well! Tap into whatever resource most speaks to you and I think you will find the rest comes easily with curiosity and mindfulness.