Carolyn Starrett started Sustainable Winchester, a nonprofit organization, in 2005. It’s mission is to educate and raise awareness about sustainability so that residents, officials, and community organizations can be empowered to take action in their day-to-day lives and to incorporate sustainability into our community. Their programs have helped many Winchester homes and public buildings become more energy efficient, facilitated cost-efficient solar power installation for homes, helped to start our Winchester Farmers Market, and lead a path for our town to become a Green Community, qualifying it to be eligible for state grants on our energy projects. A current home energy-efficiency program is WinSAVE2016 which offers extra savings for seniors.
Interview with Carolyn Starrett
Tell me a little bit about yourself and how you started Sustainable Winchester.
I moved to Winchester in 1989, really fresh out of college, and I’ve lived here ever since. I lived here for a while and wasn’t really connected with the community at all. Like a lot of us, I’d just come home at the end of a long day at work and hunker down. Back in 2005, I was taking a transformation leadership type seminar. I just felt like I wanted to shake things up. The question they asked everybody was: If you could pick one part of your life, one group, whether it’s your family or your group of friends, your workplace, or whatever, and you wanted to make a difference, what would you like to do? I thought of Winchester, and at the time we didn’t have an environmental group. I thought “Wouldn’t that be great if we had one?” With the help of that program laying out the roadmap, I put a notice out that I was starting an environmental group in Winchester and anybody would be welcome. That meeting was at the library, and 20 people came. The really cool thing was that beforehand, I didn’t know what to expect – I could be sitting there in a room by myself. I thought “You know, it would be amazing if 20 people came.” And exactly 20 people came! We’ve been meeting weekly ever since, really, and just working on different projects.