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Mitzvah Moments by Tish Levee - February 2017

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Mitzvah Moments by Tish Levee - February 2017

by Tish Levee

Love lowering your carbon footprint

Besides using your $ to support organizations that work to lower carbon emissions, you can donate money directly to lowering your carbon footprint by opting for Evergreen at Sonoma Clean Power. For less than $18 a month (based on using 510 kWh of electricity), you’ll get 100% renewable energy from the Geysers.

Love EVs (electric vehicles) 

In 2014, 26% of all greenhouse gas emission (GHG) were generated by transportation. A Union of Concerned Scientists study in 2015 study found EVs contributed half as much GHG as gasoline cars, including the emissions from manufacturing. Driving a 2016 Nissan Leaf in Santa Rosa is the equivalent of driving a gasoline fueled car getting 97 mpg. Right now get a $500 rebate for a clean driving vehicle – in addition to state and federal tax rebates—from PG&E (SCP customers qualify, too). Go to tinyurl.com/zya99go for more information.

Love buying local

Besides supporting your local economy, you’ll  reduce GHG emissions. Our average meal travels 1500 meals to our plate. If flown, foods use 50 times the CO2 as those shipped by sea – frequent culprits are asparagus, bell peppers, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, and raspberries.

Love saving water

Water? Yes, we still need to save water and continue practicing water-saving strategies. Yes, the drought is over – for now. But we live in a Mediterranean climate, and our population far outstrips our water resources. That means that we need to be aware of our climate and what’s appropriate landscaping here. Don’t think the recent heavy rains mean you can replace that old brown lawn with a new one. Instead, explore landscaping with drought resistant and natural plantings. Continue to implement all the water saving strategies at savingwaterpartnership.org/tips/ (Sonoma-Marin Water Saving Partnership). Many communities still offer various rebates for reducing water usage.

Statewide about 4% of our electricity use goes to moving water. Locally we use less as our forward thinking Sonoma County Water Agency has worked to ensure that 100% of the electricity it uses is from renewable and carbon free sources, 93% of them here Sonoma County.

Love the 4 R’s – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and ROT! 

We talk a lot about Recycling, but increasingly there’s less of a market for recycling. We used to send much of our recycling to China (using fossil fuel to do so), but now China’s economy’s producing so much stuff they have plenty of their own recycling and don’t want ours. There’re also economic issues with recycling. For instance it costs nearly $4000 to recycle a ton of plastic bags, but the end result is only worth $32. So what to do? First Reduce what we buy. Ask yourself how much you really need that new whatever AND what will happen to it when you no longer need it. If you can, try to buy it used at a thrift store or from Craig’s List, or maybe get it free from freecycle.org – both great options also for disposing of things you no longer need. Reuse or Repurpose things you no longer need; look at liteinitiatives.org/zerowaste for workshops to help you repair items you would otherwise toss out. Recycle whatever is left over that’s not organic in nature. Check out recyclenow.org/recycling/recycling_guide.asp for a local guide. And lastly, ROT. Composted food waste becomes valuable mulch. Put food waste in in your curbside Green waste bin; guidelines at recyclenow.org/compost/curbside.asp. Want to compost it yourself? Go to dailyacts.org/diy-guides/ to learn how. You’ll really help the planet; in the US, organic waste is the second highest component of landfills and the largest source of methane emissions; 30-40% of our food supply is wasted.

What can you do? 

Join other folk in a Climate Conversation at the Center for Climate Protection in Santa Rosa at 5:30–6:30 PM on 2/15, 3/15, 4/19, 5/17 or 6/21. Learn what’s happening locally, tour the facility, and find ways to take action to protect the climate. Refreshments. RSVP to laurie-ann@climateprotection.org.

© Copyright Tish Levee, 2017