Focus on Biodiversity

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

Indicator Report Highlights Solutions for Equitable Housing

Sustainable San Mateo County’s Indicators Report Launch on October 19 focused on the need for affordable, sustainable housing and highlighted strategies that can make affordable housing for all a reality. It was the 25th year Sustainable San Mateo County (SSMC) has presented in-depth research on one aspect of sustainability in San Mateo County. This year’s report, “Equitable Housing,” includes comprehensive data, the historical context, driving forces, an analysis of the impact of climate change on housing, case studies, policy initiatives and recommendations. Click here to read the full report, the Executive Summary and the brochure. Click here to view a [...]

Indicator Report Highlights Solutions for Equitable Housing2021-10-21T09:31:18-05:00

In Vogue: Sustainability in the Fashion Industry

Our August Happy Hour explored sustainability in the fashion industry. We were pleased to have Gary Barker, Eszter Csicsai, and Emily Schneider speak at the Happy Hour and share the ways they are working toward a more sustainable fashion industry - from sustainable hangers to metrics that compare products' sustainability to resale opportunities. Gary Barker is the Director of Sustainability at Nexgen Packaging and founder of Ditto Sustainable Brand Solutions, a B-corporation recently acquired by Nexgen Packaging. Ditto has developed sustainable ways to improve hangers' impact on the environment - which is surprisingly large. He said 100 percent of wooden [...]

In Vogue: Sustainability in the Fashion Industry2021-10-01T14:29:56-05:00

Air Quality for All

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

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
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