“Two days before the Dana Point City Council was set to hear purchase offers for 3.24 acres once slated for park use, half a dozen Capo Beach residents canvassed. They knocked door-to-door throughout the coastal Palisades, collecting 200 signatures, for their save-the-park campaign,” Dana Point Times reported on Nov. 8, 2013 on the City’s sale of the land at 26351 and 26315 Via Canon.

 “The four offers ranged in size and scope of development. The highest bid, from the Newport Beach-based Integral Communities, offered $5 million for the land to build 42 housing units. . . . In the end, the council voted to move forward on negotiations with a cash offer, of $3.75 million, from the Capistrano Beach nonprofit, Lighthouse Charitable Foundation, which currently owns homes on two adjacent lots.

“Members of the audience grumbled at the vote, as the topic of the homes’ usage as temporary housing for those in need stirred debate that night. The foundation’s director, Craig Stirling, was on hand at the meeting and told those gathered that his organization’s intent was to protect the property. Stirling expressed interest in cleaning up the property and adding a community prayer garden and orchards, where residents can continue to visit the land. He said every day, over the past four years, he has watched children and adults use the land as a park, and wanted to keep it as such.”

Lighthouse Charitable Foundation has kept its promise. Lighthouse Community Garden is open to the public every day except Sundays. The fruit grown on the garden’s trees are given to the less privileged and sold at the foundation’s thrift stores, Out of Africa in the Smart and Final Plaza in Capistrano Beach, the Lighthouse at the corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Silver Lantern, and, of course, at the garden.

Photo: Lighthouse Community Garden’s annual harvest festival is in invitation to all. Courtesy of Hoiyin Ip

Keep this story in mind this holiday season. I cannot think of any gift better than the fruit of community effort.

And, speaking of the holiday season, consumer preference is shifting. A study from the public relations agency Weber Shandwick found 47% of millennials think CEOs should take stances on social issues. Some 51% of millennials surveyed said they are more likely to buy products from companies run by activist CEOs.

Jess Weiner, a cultural consultant, told TIME magazine, “I think businesses of any size now recognize that their consumer base values transparency over any other attribute.”

Again, rethink online shopping. According to Bloomberg’s “Those Amazon Returns? They’re Killing the Environment,” in December, American consumers will return more than one million packages to e-commerce retailers each day. The article states, “It’s a flood of unwanted stuff that’s expected to peak on Jan. 2, which UPS Inc. cheekily calls “National Returns Day.” For UPS and other shippers, that’s reason for plenty of post-holiday cheer. For everyone else, those tens of millions of packages are a real problem. By one recent estimate, they accounted for five billion pounds of landfilled waste in the U.S. alone and an additional 15 million tons of carbon emitted into the atmosphere. At a time when consumers and companies are otherwise rethinking consumption choices in light of climate change, e-commerce returns amount to a hidden environmental crisis.”

Every dollar is a gift to someone. What are your plans this holiday season? What are your values?

Hoiyin Ip is often recognized on the street as the plastic lady for her cleanup work. But she likes to think of herself as a guardian of the ocean. She is often reminded of a quote by former California Coastal Commission Executive Director Peter Douglas: “The coast is never saved. It’s always being saved.”

About The Author Dana Point Times

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