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Palo Alto environmentalist Walter Hays dies

Original post made on Feb 1, 2023

Walter Hays, a prominent Palo Alto resident, environmental champion and individual who set a standard for volunteerism, died on Jan. 25, his son, Walter Thomas Hays, said.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, February 1, 2023, 9:03 AM

Comments (2)

Posted by Consider Your Options.
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2023 at 3:05 pm

Consider Your Options. is a registered user.

I feel blessed to have known and volunteered with Walt. He was a great friend, collaborator, and advisor on many city and school district projects that have been transformative for improving our environment and our community. He was an enthusiastic supporter of Safe Routes to School. Under Walt's leadership of Sustainable Schools, Green Teams often partnered with PTA Safe Routes to School leadership to create big, educational, and fun events to celebrate Earth Day and effect changes in behavior that reduced greenhouse gas emissions and waste on a very large scale in our local public schools. Understanding how to leverage the power of partnerships was one of his gifts.

Always a thoughtful, gentle, and kind friend and leader, Walt is greatly missed by many of us who knew him and had the pleasure of enjoying his friendship and partnership.

I hope his dear wife, Kay, will find peace in the loving embrace of family and friends, and the memories of a life they shared that was VERY well lived. She, like her husband, is a very special person.


Posted by Bob Wenzlau
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 4, 2023 at 8:53 am

Bob Wenzlau is a registered user.

Walt was a mentor. We swam in a common stream of sustainability across nearly 45 years. The stream was large, and Walt might not have known I was there, but I learned always from his method. He was steady, he was wise, he was collaborative and he knew his purpose. Above we learn he held multiple purposes, but his trajectory toward sustainability was where we synched. (How could it be 45 years? When we started curbside recycling in Palo Alto, Creative Initiative was a community partner, and there was Walt.)

If I were to imagine what Walt might want, he would ask that we hold to the mission and keep progressing. In the sustainability niche, we hold an important view. Cities are incredible but generate adverse consequences. To mitigate those consequences one needs to evolve infrastructure for sustainable energy, water and waste management. In this arena I always found Walt. In a city to promote sustainability, the tool is working with people toward that aim. As you turn people, you can then bring in the infrastructure of sustainability. That might be his work on sustainable energy at our schools, or our advocacy for responsible management of our wastes.

Yes, we are a relatively small team sometimes, I was blessed to work with him as well as other community leaders and city staff. Our team has lost her consul, her long view, but we will proceed. Walt was tenacious, and also when he honored you with an accolade, it was quite a prize. He will remind us that we are not here forever, and we best get accomplished what we might. I leave Walt with some regrets, as I read any obituary you come to learn what you wished you knew earlier. Beyond sustainability there was so much more. My condolences to Kay, the family and beyond that the community that enjoyed the times we all worked together.


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