MONTANA AVE — Juan Beltran’s helicopter crashed after losing its tail rotor during a test flight while deployed as an U.S. Army pilot in Iraq, leaving him a quadriplegic.

Instead of sulking about his new disability when he came home, Beltran used the money he received from a settlement with the helicopter manufacturer to start a new project, buying a 2.5 acre farm in Chino, Calif., and retrofitting it with green technology and practices. He bought solar panels to install on his roof, uses compost to fertilize and gets a majority of his food from his own farm.

“We have to change our attitudes — that is first and foremost,” Beltran said of the need for people to think more about how their actions impact the environment. “We tend to take for granted everything as easily accessible. If people were more aware about where everything they use comes from, they’d be a hell of a lot more careful.”

That’s why Beltran agreed to be featured on Working for Green, a website that features videos of everyday people employing green practices in their lives and businesses. Beltran said he hopes the site will make people more aware of the easy things they can do to be more green in their lives.

Working for Green, which is based in Santa Monica on Montana Avenue, was launched in January with the goal of becoming a social movement that uses the Internet to teach and inspire eco-friendly business and personal practices, said Susan Neisloss, the founder and president of the site.

The idea for the site came to Neisloss, a former broadcast journalist and public relations executive, during the last presidential election after talking with voters about their economic and environmental worries. Concerned about the environment herself, Neisloss decided to create the site to show how economic woes can be solved through adopting environmentally-friendly practices without government assistance.

“Working for Green is all about trying to find a way dedicated to the belief that everyday Americans, no matter where you live, can make a difference and motivate themselves and other people and inspire by making small changes to save money and make money and find new, sustainable careers,” she said.

The site, which has gotten more than 30,000 hits, currently has approximately 50 stories from 15 cities across the country. Neisloss said she hopes to get at least one story from every state by next summer.

Neisloss acknowledged that the Internet is saturated with websites on sustainability, but said her site adds a personalized side to the issue and does so with high-definition videos.

Neisloss, a 20-year Santa Monica resident, said the city’s already green attitude is conducive to her business.

“It has certainly provided added inspiration for me, trying to walk the talk in a place that’s one of the country’s leading sustainable communities,” she said.

Though Neisloss said she would like the site to expand into a social movement, Hannah Hartnell, the owner of Hartnell Studio dress shop at Fourth Street who was featured in a video on the site for using eco-friendly fabrics, said she is unsure of the impact the videos will have. Though she agreed to do the video to show how easy it is to be green, Hartnell said she was never quite clear on its purpose and has not yet heard of anyone seeing it and being impacted.

“Maybe they should be promoting this to schools or community centers in northern Idaho, where they don’t know about green practices,” Hartnell said.

Neisloss also actively teaches people how to live more environmentally-friendly lifestyles with the site’s “How Green are the Greens?” series, where Neisloss chooses someone with the last name Green out of a phonebook, goes to that house and shows them how to be more green with the help of eco-consultant firm, Green Irene.

Sean Green, a resident of Manhattan Beach, Calif., was featured on the “How Green are the Greens?” series. Before the video, he said his level of practicing sustainability was “about average for California.”

“I’m a realistic environmentalist,” he said. “I do things that help the environment in a way that doesn’t take much effort of going out of my way, like riding my bike at times every other week, picking up more trash than just my trash at the beach, separating my recyclables.”

While Green said he does have a greater awareness of how he can be green, his lifestyle has not changed much after the video.

“They went over things like making sure the fridge is sealed, make sure there’s no leaks,” he said. “It’s not at the front of my mind, but it crosses my mind more often now.”

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