Benn Davenport walks the walk. The 23-year-old from Nevada City is Chico State’s Associated Students commissioner of environmental affairs, and it’s not just a résumé builder; it’s a lifestyle. Davenport and his roommates have a compost pile, are in the process of building a greenhouse out of reused lumber, grow starter plants to give to those who want to plant a garden, and turn every Sunday into “Sustainable Sunday,” when they work on a project and host a community potluck at their home (727 W. Fourth Avenue). There, it’s reduce, recycle and reuse in every sense of the slogan. And it can all be seen on their Web site at www.be-the-cause.org.
What’s your inspiration for this house?
A lot has come from the [annual A.S.-sponsored] sustainability conference. We talk a lot, and we eat together as much as we can. Nothing is more important than to break bread together. It’s a place to share and come up with ideas for the house.
How long have you lived in the house?
Since last August. I needed a place to live, and a friend of mine told me about this place, and she was right. It turned out to be perfect. We spent most of the fall coming up with ideas, and we’re really putting them into action now. One of the first things we did was cut up a stage in the back yard and make four garden boxes out of it.
Tell me about “Sustainability Sundays.”
It’s a day for the potluck and making art. Creating tangible sustainability, that’s become a major focus. Building compost bins and giving them away. Our neighbors have one; there’s one on Sixth Avenue, one on Broadway. This Sunday we’ll be finishing the greenhouse.
What’s with the Web site?
It’s an avenue to organize community sustainability efforts. We offer to help out anyone with gardening. Having one’s own vegetable garden is important when you consider that the average pound of produce gets shipped 1,700 miles.
This is your kitchen table. What are these flowers doing on it?
They are going to be centerpieces for the Sustainability Ball, which is Feb. 10 at the Park Tower Pavilion. The flowers, which were donated by the Little Red Hen, will be sold in a silent auction as a fundraiser for students going to the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference [in March].
Anything to add?
We are capable of making a bigger difference than we ever thought. One person can make a world of difference, and what better time than now?