Port of LB Holds First Green Port Open House
(October 2, 2005) -- The first-ever Port of Long Beach "Green Port" Open House drew a sizable crowd on Saturday Oct. 1 for an ambitious, well-communicated, affirmative presentation of the Port's stated commitment to a new ethic and changed way of doing business.
"The Green Port Policy is changing the way we do business. This environmental protection policy has becoming the benchmark for most decisions we make in our day-to-day operations -- from designing new shipping terminals and implementing new technologies to purchasing new equipment and recycling paper." said Port of Long Beach materials, citing Clearing the Air, Water Quality, Reclaiming Soil & Sediment, Preserving Wildlife, Sustainability, Community Engagement, Reducing Traffic as part of its Green Port policy.
Visitors were handed tote backs marked "Green Port, Long Beach" to collect and carry materials. Among other goods handed out: sneaker shoe laces made from recycled material.
Booths lining the area in front of the Port Administration Building drew visitors to exhibits detailing Green Port activities.
Visitors with whom we spoke said they came away impressed. "I didn't realize all this was going on," a forty-something LB resident told us.
Flags along the exhibit route indicated specific environmental issues...and guided visitors to booths spotlighting those areas.
PoLB staff handled booths illustrating Green Port principles.
Port tenants also had booths; BP (British Petroleum), currently scheduled to begin the Port of LB's first cold-ironing (shoreside power) of ships in 2006, was among those with a display.
Interaction with Port staffers put a human face on the Port. PoLB's Tom Poe handles this booth specifically called "Faces of the Port."
Several booths offered hands-on experiences.
This PoLB exhibit on soil sediments included a microscope (at left in photo).
Harbor scenic cruises were also offered. drawing a brisk crowd
Visitors interacted with presenters and appeared to be absorbing the information.
Harbor Commissioner Mike Walter is interviewed for LBTV cable channel 8, on which the Port now airs a new show titled "Pulse of the Port."
Harbor Commission President Topsy-Elvord called the event the "first annual" Green Port Open House. She told LBTV 8:
Commission President Topsy-Elvord: We're here to declare that the Port plans on, is committed to, being environmentally friendly...Today is a declaration, to let you know that we put our money where our mouth is, we put $100 million into the kitty and of course we're going to do four times that amount in the future, so it means that we are committed to being environmentally friendly
LBTV 8: What do you expect people will come away with today?...
Commission president Topsy-Elvord: I think they're going to see that we're not such an austere entity...we live here in the city, we breathe the same air, we're a part of the community, and that we are committed to what we're committed to what they're committed to...
Commissioner Mario Cordero (seen with Harbor Commission president Topsy-Elvord), who has advocated the Green Port policy, credited the community for pressing environmental issues. Commissioner Cordero told us:
I think this signifies a new day for the Port, the Harbor, and I think this event really educates the communities that the Green Port policy is more than just a two-page document. There's a lot of substance to this and I think as you see the exhibits here, particularly the one on cold-ironing [shoreside electrical power], we really engage the community in terms of what we're going to do at this Harbor, and a lot of that, I actually give credit to the community for the pressure they have placed with regard to their passive concern about the environmental issues."
The Aquarium of the Pacific booth drew a steady crowd.
Aquarium President/CEO Dr. Jerry Schubel looks on.
LB Mayor Beverly O'Neill attended, and in remarks to the crowd said, "You are at the best Port in the United States [applause]...."
LB Councilwoman Bonnie Lowenthal with Port of LB Carl Kemp (momentarily seated, mainly in motion during the event). Also spotted (not photographed) Councilman Val Lerch.
Councilwoman Laura Richardson attended...and filled out a PoLB questionnaire seeking input from visitors.
Activists opposed to a proposal by a firm to site a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facility in the Port were allowed to distribute materials near the entrance. Ann Cantrell was among them.
Dr. Geraldine Knatz, Ph.D., delivered an indoor presentation detailing the Green Port policy. She noted that the Port of LB recently received an award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). [To view LBReport.com coverage of the U.S. EPA award, click here.]
Crowd size was hard to estimate because the event spanned three hours (9 a.m. to noon); we roughly estimate at minimum 1,500-2,000 and probably more. An overflow lot at the Queen Mary (with ample shuttle buses provided) was used...and LB Firefighters Local 372 ran out of 1,000 hotdogs at 11:30 a.m. (and there were more visitors than hotdog eaters).
The Green Port event was a far cry from November 2002...when activists held a mock funeral at the Port to illustrate deaths they attributed to Port-related operations, an event that drew national media attention. The Port followed up with a "Healthy Harbor Initiative," followed by its Green Port Policy. The Port of LB's website describes the Green Port policy and also includes a Port White Paper on the policy.
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