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Inconvenient Truth Meetings?

Original post made by Robyn on Jul 29, 2006

Are there any meetings happening in Palo Alto to discuss how we can support each other in reducing our CO2 emissions? Al Gore's movie An Inconvenient Truth may be preaching to the choir, but has the choir changed its light bulbs yet? Have we given up our SUVs? Have we written letters to politicians to insist on legistlation that will reduce CO2 emissions - adding our voices toggether until we can no longer be ignored? Have we installed solar panels to power our homes? Are we still booking long plane flights without serious consideration to the impact this makes on CO2 emissions.

There are so many things we can do to reduce our CO2 emissions, large and small, but is it hard to be good even we can sing Al's song.

I believe it would help if people in the community met once a month to support and encourage one another in finding do-able activities that would reduce our CO2 emissions. I'm afraid that the farther we get from the movie theater, the farther away these concerns become. Ongoing meetings would keep us actively involved in working on solutions.

Comments (7)

Posted by David, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jul 30, 2006 at 2:24 pm

I don't know that we need to hold meetings -- there's a fairly obvious list of things most of us can do, in no particular order:

* Commuting
-- switch to walking or bicycling
-- carpool
-- use mass transit (Caltrain, VTA, SamTrans)
-- move to be closer to your job
-- switch jobs to so that you work closer to home

* Purchases
-- buy food grown nearby
-- eat lower on the food chain
-- buy food shipped via surface shipment instead of by air
-- do your errands on foot or by bicycle
-- when buying appliances and cars, go for the most
energy-efficient option available
-- buy products with as little packaging as possible

* Home
-- add insulation if possible
-- shut off your air conditioner -- Look for other ways to cool off
on hot days, such as going for a walk at the Palo Alto baylands
where the frigid water cools the air.
-- switch to more efficient appliances and light bulbs
-- subsidize renewable energy by signing up for Palo Alto Green
-- install a solar hot water heater if you don't already have one
-- sell unwanted items on ebay
-- recycle when possible

* At work
-- Look for ways to reduce energy consumption in the processes you
use at work (these will often save money)
-- when designing equipment, make low energy consumption a priority
-- Consider energy consumption when making design decisions for
others

* When you really must consume
-- pay others to reduce emissions via a credit trading system
Eg: Green Tags or equivalent


Posted by Robyn, a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 31, 2006 at 10:52 am

Thanks for a great list David. Though some items weren't obvious to me - which is why I see value in community meetings. When people get together and share new ideas, people feel encouraged to use them.

You are enlightened, but even in Palo Alto, not everyone is. Compare the near empty sidewalks and bikelanes to the automobile crowded streets and parking lots. There are plenty of people who struggle with consumerism, I think they would be inspired and see simple, do-able ways to make changes if they had a chance to meet with people like you in an unjudging, proactive atmosphere.


Posted by Dean, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 31, 2006 at 3:52 pm

I'll reiterate a great one from the list that all of us in Palo Alto can do: Subscribe to Palo Alto Green, to get 100% of your energy from renewable sources (wind and solar)!


Posted by Carolyn, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 1, 2006 at 8:30 am

We can save fuel, pollution, and worker's time by putting our recycling bins next to our neighbor's when possible.


Posted by John, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 5, 2006 at 12:07 am

Sign in for Palo Alto Green:
Web Link

Ask for a yard sign to show your support and encourage people to follow your example:
Web Link

If you can, walk/bike to the grocery store. I you have to take the car to the mall/downtown, park there and then walk to all the stores you have to go to. You can walk from downtown to the Stanford Shopping Center in 10 minutes and driving would take about the same time. Same for Santana Row / Valley Fair. Walk, walk, walk. It's good for you and the environment, so it's good for everyone.
Many people use a treadmill at home, but think you could get the same amount of exercise simply walking to a store.

Try to limit the use of AC (and avoid it altogether if you can).

Improve your gas mileage: Web Link

How about planting a tree?

Many other tips here:
Web Link

And spread the word!


Posted by Margaret Allen, a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 6, 2006 at 8:54 am

Go to Acterra, and see if there is still time to sign up for their Be the Change environmental leadership training program which starts again in September. I took the class last year, and in addition to having a fabulous time one Friday a month, learned more than I could have imagined.

By the way, if you know anyone who is going to have their house demolished (sigh!), you might try to suggest to them that they have the materials salvaged rather than just bulldozed. Salvage is a thing of beauty!


Posted by Siona, a resident of another community
on Aug 6, 2006 at 10:18 am

I love Robyn's suggestion; to my mind, there's incredible value to creating a supportive network when it comes to making any sort of change, and the fact that 'going green' is such a socially-conscious decision makes the recommendation of groups that much more reasonable. I think it would be great to start making these sorts of connections.

You might want to check out this site as an example of one Palo Alto group that's working on environmentalism. I'm not familiar with them myself, but I intend to find out more. I'm sure there must be other resources, as well . . . Suggestions?
Web Link


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