Reusable water bottle, check! I Love a Clean San Diego tote bag, check! Hybrid vehicle, check! For SDG&E Community Relations Manager Morgan Justice-Black, her passion for the environment goes beyond her professional duties, which involve staying connected to San Diego’s environmental non-profit organizations in an effort to make a meaningful impact on the environment and the quality of life in the communities by building the cleanest, safest and most reliable energy company in America. In her personal life, Justice-Black is committed to reducing her carbon footprint and taking small steps every day that will make a big impact on Mother Earth.
A beautiful day in the neighborhood
It’s a Saturday morning, and Justice-Black is heading out the door, her husband in tow, for the first of three Earth Day events that will take her all across the region. First up, Justice-Black rolls up her sleeves and prepares to get dirty to clean up her Clairemont neighborhood canyon as part of I Love a Clean San Diego’s Creek to Bay Cleanup. With more than 100 sites throughout the region, the annual Creek to Bay Cleanup offers an opportunity for everyone to help beautify their neighborhoods. Last year, a record-breaking 6,400 volunteers removed 150,000 pounds of trash.
“There’s an opportunity to make changes around every corner whether it’s composting your food scraps or driving an electric vehicle,” says Justice-Black as she stuffs her second trash bag with non-native, invasive plants on the canyon. “Every action matters. The planet is counting on us.”
From garden to table
In the early afternoon, Justice-Black trades in trash for dirt as she celebrates the Ecology Center’s first Earth Day celebration at the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center in Carlsbad. Her hands deep in organic soil made from kitchen scraps, she gets a lesson in growing herbs, pickling vegetables and backyard composting, all things she plans to incorporate at home to further “green” her lifestyle.
“We’re taking steps in our household to eliminate waste and eat organic,” says Justice-Black. “This particular Earth Day festival was especially useful in teaching us backyard skills and giving us simple solutions to promote these changes.”
Beer in the city
After playing with trash and dirt all day, it’s time for Justice-Black to sit back and enjoy a cold one. But even happy hour is “green” on Earth Day. She mingles with other volunteers and community members at Liberty Station who are all toasting specialty IPAs for a good cause – to support the San Diego River Park Foundation’s efforts to connect the community to the San Diego River and conserve local resources. In honor of Earth Day, three local breweries, Bottlecraft Liberty Station, Mother Earth Brew Co., and Pure Project Brewing, released a limited-edition craft IPA named after the Three Sisters Falls trail. All proceeds from the beer will go to support the trail.
And that’s a wrap
At the end of a very long, but fruitful day, Justice-Black takes a pause to reflect on the day, feeling that she did her part to protect the planet. And if that wasn’t enough of an impact, she attended the Earth Fair at Balboa Park the following day!
This is part of a series of articles about SDG&E’s Community Relations team.