Blog & News

San Mateo County Gets Ready for Wildfire Season

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

Just How Bad Is the Drought?

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

Innovations for a Low Carbon Food System

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

Hit the Road in Green Mode

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

March Happy Hour

On March 23, for our third Happy Hour of the year, we welcomed sustainability managers from the Cities of Brisbane, Burlingame and Half Moon Bay, as well as a representative from the San Mateo County Office of Sustainability, to discuss sustainability efforts in our county. Adrienne Etherton, sustainability manager for Brisbane, explained how the city adopted a strong reach code ordinance for new buildings in 2019, addressing electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure, building electrification and on-site solar generation. Brisbane also passed an ordinance requiring most owners of commercial, industrial and residential buildings that are 10,000 square feet or larger to [...]

March Happy Hour2021-04-07T12:17:36-05:00

Check Out Our Ideas Bank!

We’ve launched our new, expanded Sustainability Ideas Bank here to help local cities and businesses accelerate sustainability. The Ideas Bank shares nearly 50 sustainability solutions from cities and businesses that have proven successful in San Mateo County as well as many other areas. It makes it easier for leaders to address climate change and other issues related to sustainability by removing the need for staff members to research the feasibility of ideas and for attorneys to draft new ordinances and policies. Instead, they can move quickly to adopt solutions that have already proven successful elsewhere. Nearly all ideas include contact [...]

Check Out Our Ideas Bank!2021-03-17T12:40:22-05:00

The Opposite of Privilege is Oppression. Read That Again.

Our Happy Hour on February 22 drew our community closer as we dove deeply into the topic of “White Privilege and Allyship.”  Our guest speaker was Sydney Richardson-Gorski, a California native turned DC transplant who is an advocate for: Youth in the juvenile justice system Lower pharmaceutical drug prices Repeal of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Sydney is also a member of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Election Protection Team. Perhaps the reason many were drawn to participate was that the precursor to the Happy Hour was something that everyone could agree with: White Privilege [...]

The Opposite of Privilege is Oppression. Read That Again.2021-04-07T08:54:22-05:00

Virtual Happy Hour

For our first Happy Hour of 2021, we welcomed Dr. Mathis Wackernagel, cofounder of the Ecological Footprint and President of  the Global Footprint Network. He explained different ways to view how humans have impacted the planet and we discussed how we can all tread more lightly on our planet. As we add up all the demands we make on our planet, Mathis and his colleagues estimate that we are using more than the earth can renew. In fact, we are using about 1.56 earths when we should actually use half an earth in order to maintain a stable climate and [...]

Virtual Happy Hour2021-01-30T15:41:22-05:00

Mindful Holidays: A Chance to rethink the Holidays

In a “normal” year this would be the time to do your last minute shopping, travel to see family,  and start celebrating with big family dinners and parties. But this year has been unlike any other: a global pandemic, social unrest,  the imminent effects of a changing climate and so much more. Although all of these challenges might sound unrelated to you, social, racial and environmental issues are intrinsically connected and this year has brought us the opportunity to start seeing those connections more clearly. So what if we used this Holiday season to recalibrate? To evaluate our priorities? Our [...]

Mindful Holidays: A Chance to rethink the Holidays2020-12-19T13:37:12-05:00
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