“The world they will soon inherit" - Interview with Georgi Tomisato, Shenandoah Green’s Founding President

Ciao lovelies! Today for Sustainability Month on OFT, I have an interview for you all! This interview is with Georgi Tomisato, Founding President of Shenandoah Green, an organization with a short-term goal of eliminating single use plastic straws and bags in Staunton!

I asked her a series of questions in regards to environmental sustainability, as well as issues happening in the Shenandoah Valley and what we as everyday people can do to lessen our negative impact on the environment!

So without further ado, here is the interview!

Hello! To start things off, please tell a little about yourself and your connections to Shenandoah Green and sustainability in the Valley!

My name is Georgi Tomisato. I own a small Farm in Churchville, VA where I try to live a sustainable life. I am the Founding President of Shenandoah Green.

What is Shenandoah Green’s main mission?

We are devoted to environmental sustainability in the Shenandoah Valley.

What is a short-term goal that Shenandoah Green is working towards right now?

The elimination of plastic straws and plastic bags in the Staunton area.

What sets Shenandoah Green apart from other organizations working towards similar goals?

Shenandoah Green is working with AGU-TEX (American Geophysical Union-Thriving Earth Exchange. We submitted a proposal to AGU-TEX on a plastic project and it was accepted, December of 2018. We have now partnered with Friends of Middle River to accomplish our goals on the proposal. We also work hand in hand with Earth Day Staunton and have the support of Earth Day network and Sustainable Shenandoah Valley. We are also partnering with Net Impact at Mary Baldwin and Shenandoah Valley Governor’s School on a project to help businesses in Staunton reduce plastic.

In your own words, what is Sustainability?

Sustainability on its own just means having the characteristics of being able keep something going. Environmental Sustainability means that something is not impacting the environment negatively and can be sustained without causing harm.

Why does sustainability matter to the average person?

To an older person, environmental sustainability matters if they are concerned about the health of the planet for future generations. For younger people it matters because they will be impacted by the world they will soon inherit.

What are some impacts that Staunton has on the global environment?

Staunton is the bread basket of Virginia, and crops from here are shipped world wide. But more than that, every person and every place on earth are connected. We do not live in isolation. What we do impacts people on the other side of the world the same as what they do impacts us. We share the oceans, sky and land. This is obvious with the problem the world now faces with plastic pollution.

What do you think is the best way to spread the word about Sustainability?

I think the best way to spread any word is through example. That of course is not enough when there is need of a big movement. Then I believe grassroots organizing works. But it can not take sides. We must all work together on a common goal.

What is the most important issue right now in regards to Sustainability in the Shenandoah Valley?

Right now, it is of course the situation that plastic recycling will come to an end at the end of this month. Then what will happen to the tons of plastic thrown out here in the Staunton, Augusta, Waynesboro area every year? The landfill had a thirty year life span before this happened. If we throw all our plastic into the landfill, it will fill up much faster than that. If we burn it, that releases poisonous toxins into the air.

In your opinion, what could cities like Staunton do better to impact the global environment in a positive way?

I believe we can reduce and eliminate our use of some plastics. I see Staunton as a town that could be a positive model for other cities and for countries across the world. The people here care enough to bring about change.

In your opinion, what can the average person do to better the global environment?

Buy conscientiously and try not to waste too much.

What can the average person do for their local environment?

Don’t use plastic straws or shopping bags. Use washable storage bags to buy produce.  Buy locally. Refuse to use single use plastic utensils, plates, cups, etc. It takes a commitment on your part. You must carry your own water bottle and stop buying water and soft drinks in plastic bottles. Make sure you are a good model for those who look up to you.

What is one important thing you’d like everyone who reads this interview to understand?

Not any one person, group, corporation or government is responsible for the plastic crisis we find ourselves in today. I don’t think we get anywhere by pointing fingers. The important thing is to look to the future and ask how we can solve this problem together.

Any closing statements?

We can think of sustainability in an opposite way. Living the way we are today and creating the waste flow and pollution we do, is not sustainable. If we continue on the path we are on now and don’t become stewards of the land, we will destroy our earth.

Any links you’d like to share to events, social media accounts for Shenandoah Green, etc?

 There are many events happening or being planned. We will soon have a website and presently we are on Facebook under Shenandoah Green.

Thank you so much for your time!

 Thank you for reading today's Sustainability Month post! Be sure to come back on Friday for more posts regarding Sustainability! 

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