23 11, 2021

Focus on Biodiversity

2021-11-23T11:35:48-05:00

For the October Sustainability Happy Hour, we looked at biodiversity (the variety of life found within a particular ecosystem or habitat) in the Bay Area. We were joined by two knowledgeable experts, Sophie Christel from Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District and Annie Burke from TOGETHER Bay Area. They shared strategies being employed by groups across the region to address the many challenges to biodiversity, exacerbated by climate change. Sophie Christel kicked off the evening explaining that the Bay Area is one of only 34 biodiversity hotspots on Earth. The region’s diverse geology and topography, combined with the coastal influence, creates [...]

Focus on Biodiversity2021-11-23T11:35:48-05:00
20 10, 2021

Conclusion and Acknowledgments

2021-10-20T13:46:01-05:00

Conclusion The current housing crisis did not happen overnight. It is rooted in 250 years of shameful local practices, harmful actions and outright racial discrimination. Sadly, profit and resistance from homeowners opposed to change have too often been more important than social equity. It’s time to focus our attention on making more affordable housing available in every city in San Mateo County. For the sake of our quality of life, and to build a mutually beneficial relationship that restores our ecosystems, more housing must be found immediately. ABAG’s alarming Regional Housing Needs Allocation numbers, recent state legislation alleviating some of [...]

Conclusion and Acknowledgments2021-10-20T13:46:01-05:00
20 10, 2021

Impact of Climate Change on Housing

2021-10-21T17:44:37-05:00

Climate change impacts every aspect of life, and the housing crisis is no exception. In order to solve the housing crisis and make sure homes are resilient, climate change needs to be taken into consideration. Wildfires Due to climate change, precipitation will likely decrease and higher temperatures will increase, elevating the chances of wildfires and their destructive consequences. A significant portion of San Mateo County is located in the wildland-urban-interface (WUI), which is defined as zones where fire-prone forests coincide with human habitation. More than 35 percent of terrain in the county has a high likelihood of fire ignition.29 As [...]

Impact of Climate Change on Housing2021-10-21T17:44:37-05:00
19 10, 2021

Leading Forces

2021-10-20T16:14:34-05:00

Key trends that shape the jobs-housing balance and exacerbate accessibility to housing and transportation provide insights into finding sustainable solutions for the future. The following factors are playing an important role in how these challenges have been evolving and will likely continue to evolve and shift in the future. School Quality School quality has played an incredibly large role in where people choose to live on the Peninsula. In a recent Nextdoor survey of Burlingame and Hillsborough residents, 68 percent said that school quality was a factor that drew them to their neighborhood, as compared to diversity (14.3 percent), [...]

Leading Forces2021-10-20T16:14:34-05:00
1 10, 2021

Air Quality for All

2021-10-01T15:36:58-05:00

At Sustainable San Mateo County’s Happy Hour on July 20 titled “Air Quality for Equality”, attendees discussed disparities in air quality in San Mateo County and the wider Bay Area. Guest speaker David Canepa, who serves on the county’s Board of Supervisors and sits also on the Board of Directors at the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, correlated these disparities to racial and socioeconomic differences and highlighted some of the work the county is doing to combat these impacts. Ulysses Vinson, director of SMC Labs, explained how his firm is partnering with an air quality company, Clarity, to monitor [...]

Air Quality for All2021-10-01T15:36:58-05:00
17 07, 2021

San Mateo County Gets Ready for Wildfire Season

2021-07-17T23:01:08-05:00

In 2020 alone, while nearly 2.5 million Californians were infected by COVID-19, nearly 10,000 fires burned 4.2 million acres across the state (The New York Times 2021, Cal Fire 2020). That is more than one football field’s worth of land burned for each Californian infected by COVID-19. Fire preparedness is pivotal to preserving the health of our surrounding ecosystems and communities. As a local resident, I wanted to learn more about what work is being done to prepare for wildfires this year. I reached out to Samuel Herzberg, a Senior Planner at the San Mateo County Parks Department, and Portola [...]

San Mateo County Gets Ready for Wildfire Season2021-07-17T23:01:08-05:00
30 06, 2021

Just How Bad Is the Drought?

2021-06-30T20:33:25-05:00

On June 22, Santa Clara County’s Board of Supervisors declared a local emergency due to this year’s extreme drought conditions. To date, 2021 ranks as the second driest year for California, with 1977 being the driest year on record. Yet San Mateo County hasn’t asked residents to cut back water use. Why? At our June Happy Hour, Tom Francis explained that San Mateo County’s water reserves are in much better shape than many jurisdictions in the state. As Water Resources Manager at the Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency (BAWSCA), Tom tracks water levels closely. He said 85 percent [...]

Just How Bad Is the Drought?2021-06-30T20:33:25-05:00
14 06, 2021

Innovations for a Low Carbon Food System

2021-06-14T00:50:48-05:00

At our May 26 Happy Hour, our guest speaker, Jill Kauffman Johnson explained how microalgae and other microorganisms can help us work toward a low carbon food system. Jill is the Executive Advisor of Sustainability and Society at Corbion (http://www.corbion.com/), a bio-based products company centered around innovative food and specialty ingredients derived from microalgae. Food systems are responsible for a large fraction of our global greenhouse gas emissions. For instance, as we learned (thanks to a trivia question), in the U.S. in 2019, 10 percent of our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions came from the agricultural sector. Jill explained that every [...]

Innovations for a Low Carbon Food System2021-06-14T00:50:48-05:00
14 05, 2021

Hit the Road in Green Mode

2021-05-14T14:02:35-05:00

Our Happy Hour on April 15 explored sustainable transportation in San Mateo County. We were excited to have Carlos Moreno from Peninsula Clean Energy, Mary Thomasmeyer from Commute.org and Emma Shales from Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition (SVBC) as guest speakers. Carlos, the Community Outreach Specialist for Peninsula Clean Energy, explained that since Peninsula Clean Energy launched in 2016, it has been providing electricity to the area from clean energy sources. Customers can choose between going with 50 percent or 100 percent of their electricity coming from renewables. Both options are 100% carbon-free. So far, Peninsula Clean Energy has had a [...]

Hit the Road in Green Mode2021-05-14T14:02:35-05:00
19 10, 2020

Indicator Report Launch Offers Hopeful Responses to Climate Crisis

2020-10-19T12:15:49-05:00

Those attending Sustainable San Mateo County’s online Key Indicators Launch on October 6 came away with many reasons for hope. We were given the gift of a very doable list of effective actions to take in response to the climate crisis. If you did not have an opportunity to log in, we encourage you to view a recording of it here. SSMC’s2020 Key Indicators Report focuses on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency as these apply to buildings, water use and waste management, land use and transportation, financing and community outreach. Keynote speaker Josh Becker, public policy innovator and social entrepreneur, [...]

Indicator Report Launch Offers Hopeful Responses to Climate Crisis2020-10-19T12:15:49-05:00
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