Blog & News

Indicator Report Launch Offers Hopeful Responses to Climate Crisis

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

Batteries, Bottles and Bags, Oh My!

Sustainable San Mateo welcomed Joe La Mariana, Executive Director at RethinkWaste, to its eighth Happy Hour on the evening of September 30. RethinkWaste is a standalone public agency and a $140M/year operation in the Bay Area. The agency owns and manages the Shoreway Environmental Center in San Carlos. The Center receives all the recyclables, green waste and garbage collected from the 12 local government jurisdictions which formed RethinkWaste more close to 40 years ago. In addition, RethinkWaste advocates for environmental best practices and waste reduction strategies through policy, legislation and education.  Not much was left uncovered by Joe LaMariana [...]

Batteries, Bottles and Bags, Oh My!2020-10-12T09:11:02-05:00

Fighting Fire with Power

Kirsten Andrews-Schwind, Senior Manager of Community Relations at Peninsula Clean Energy (PCE),* joined us during one of our monthly Happy Hour online discussions on July 29 to talk about energy resilience in the county, a hot topic especially as we move into wildfire season.Last fall PG&E had several public safety power shutoffs (PSPS) in order to prevent wildfires from being started by electrical equipment. The shutoffs affected more than 3 million California residents and caught many by surprise.While PCE has no control over PSPS events or maintaining the power grids, it has committed $10 million toward programs that will help [...]

Fighting Fire with Power2020-10-05T16:37:07-05:00

Making Investments Sustainable

Rev. Kirsten Snow Spalding of Ceres, the guest presenter at Sustainable San Mateo County’s Virtual Happy Hour on August 27, said current trends influencing sustainable investment include fossil fuel divestment from individual portfolios, engaging with heavy-emitting companies to move them to become more sustainable and focusing on private equity. Rev. Spalding is Senior Program Director, Investor Network, at Ceres. In this capacity, she engages with a network of over 175 institutional investors with more than $30 trillion in assets under management. Investors in her network include insurance companies, university endowments, banks and pension funds. As Rev. Spalding sees it, there are two [...]

Making Investments Sustainable2020-09-25T12:48:35-05:00

My Summer Internship with SSMC

Centralized or decentralized? Purple pipes or potable reuse? Five weeks ago, this would have sounded like the oddest game of “Would You Rather” I’d ever played. But learning about the conversations Bay Area cities, organizations and engineers are having about the future of our water supply has felt like being introduced to a new world! This summer I’ve been conducting water sustainability research for Sustainable San Mateo County (SSMC), a nonprofit partnering with local cities and businesses to further environmental, economic and social sustainability. I’m one of four interns working to expand SSMC’s Sustainability Ideas Bank, a database of sustainability [...]

My Summer Internship with SSMC2020-09-22T15:24:11-05:00

2020 Key Indicator

Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency The Dual-Axis Solar Carport in Burlingame supports up to 600 solar panels. Conventional fossil-fuel energy sources such as coal and natural gas are huge contributors to climate change. Non-renewable electricity and power generation use large amounts of scarce energy and water resources and pollute both the air and water, greatly harming our health and environment. On the other hand, renewable energy generated from sources including sun, wind and tides provides substantial benefits for mitigating climate change and restoring our health and environment. Last year, Sustainable San Mateo County’s annual Key Indicator report [...]

2020 Key Indicator2020-10-19T09:05:03-05:00

Holding Oil Companies Accountable: Takeaways from Stanford Law School’s panel on “The Case for Climate Liability”

By Calista Triantis Local cities and counties are leading the way in holding fossil fuel companies legally responsible for climate change. San Francisco, Oakland, Richmond, Santa Cruz County, San Mateo County and Marin County have all joined multi-billion-dollar lawsuits across the U.S. against major oil companies for the impacts of climate change on their communities. This spring the 9th Circuit allowed these lawsuits to continue in state court rather than federal court, where oil companies are usually favored. A ruling in favor of the cities and counties would not only financially mitigate the infrastructure these communities need to adapt but [...]

Holding Oil Companies Accountable: Takeaways from Stanford Law School’s panel on “The Case for Climate Liability”2020-09-02T13:58:14-05:00

Environmental Justice and Youth

By: Lizzie Avila On June 30, we held our fifth Virtual Happy Hour in the midst of racial tensions between police and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) communities following the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and many others. We think this is a very important time to use this platform to examine the relationship between environmental issues and racial and social inequities and to encourage honest conversations about this topic. Our guest speaker was Lilian Chang, a rising senior at Mills High School and the Chair of the Environmental Justice Committee of the San Mateo County Youth [...]

Environmental Justice and Youth2020-08-11T13:33:47-05:00

Food for Thought: Zoonotic Diseases and the Link to our Food Systems

What is going on with our food systems? This was a question that was brought up in one of our monthly Happy Hours and we think it is an important question to put into focus. A food system is defined as the path that food travels from field to fork. It includes the growing, harvesting, processing, packaging, transporting, marketing, consuming, and disposing of food. In short, its lifecycle. It also includes the inputs needed and outputs generated at each step. The recent coronavirus has given us a lot to think about because it is a zoonotic disease, meaning that it [...]

Food for Thought: Zoonotic Diseases and the Link to our Food Systems2020-08-11T13:34:58-05:00

COVID Q&A with Supervisor Dave Pine

A Q&A with San Mateo County Supervisor Dave Pine kicked off SSMC's second virtual happy hour Thursday night, April 16. He addressed questions on the County's public health and economic responses to COVID, and what it will take to get back to normal. "Time has taken on a whole different pace during this COVID crisis. It feels like we've all been immersed in this for many years," reflected Supervisor Pine. "I'm looking forward to a time when we'll get back to normal and can get back to some of our core work on sustainability and climate change efforts but right [...]

COVID Q&A with Supervisor Dave Pine2020-06-08T17:55:43-05:00