Ten years ago, when I first ran for Council, I was asked if I believed Global Warming was caused by humans (Ten years ago, there was still a debate about this). My answer was, it didn't matter if it was manmade or not--pollution and greenhouse gas emissions were destroying our habitat, and we needed to do something about it!
The point is, let's not waste a lot of energy (sorry about the pun!) on fixing blame--let's just focus on getting something done about the problem!
I still believe we can do something about Climate Change at the local level. When Supervisor Brad Wagenknecht reached out and created a Countywide committee of elected officials from each jurisdiction, I was proud to represent American Canyon. And I currently serve as our representative on the Countywide Climate Action Committee. On that panel, I have aggressively advocated for actions that I refer to as "moving the needle--" projects and actions that will make a noticeable impact on our local environment.
I am also proud to be endorsed by two influential Napa Valley Climate activists: Chris Benz and Jim Wilson. I support their efforts to create a local action plan to address the impacts of climate change.
As a report from the EPA notes, "The largest source of greenhouse gas emissions from human activities in the United States is from burning fossil fuels for electricity, heat, and transportation. " To address this situation, I support a simple two-step approach:
One, convert as many vehicles, equipment and facilities as possible to use electric power versus fossil fuels; and
Two, produce as much electricity as possible from renewable sources.
As the saying goes, Think Global; Act Local. Here are a number of actions we can take (either as a City or as individuals):
Encourage more homes and businesses to install solar panels with battery storage;
Support "Solar Farms" to be developed within our areas (one potential site is our own abandoned landfill by Wetlands Edge Park)
Install more Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations throughout the City and require it as a part of any new commercial development.
Convert our City Fleet to all-electric
Switch to electric-based equipment, such as leaf blowers, trim edgers and similar equipment.
REDUCING TRAFFIC TO REDUCE EMISSIONS
Beyond switching to renewable energy, we can also reduce overall traffic (since we won't switch to electric vehicles overnight, and traffic congestion is still a problem). Here's a few action steps I also support:
Encourage telework policies, starting with the City and working with our larger employers
Invest in bikepaths/sidewalks along the 29 Corridor, and elsewhere throughout the City
Invest in creative designs to make transit more attractive, such as "bus queues" that let a bus get to the head of the line at traffic signals
Build homes and apartments closer to transit hubs, such as our own Park & Ride area by the Library
Encourage our employers to take advantage of existing programs, such as V-Commute or Napa Valley Forward, to encourage car pooling and other alternative transportation
Encourage our office and industrial businesses to shift their employees' start times away from regular traffic commute hours.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Individuals can also take matters into their own hands.
We can purchase electric and/or hybrid vehicles;
We can commit to walking or riding a bike for short in-town trips;
We can consider adding solar panels and a battery backup to our homes--reduce fossil fuel use and enhance our resiliency (no more need to worry about Power Shutdowns or Rolling Blackouts)
Recycle, reuse or reduce more; and
Even consider eating less meat--there's more GHG emissions producing meat and dairy products than you realize! This doesn't mean we're taking away your hamburgers--just add a few more plant-based meals into your diet. Besides, it's healthier for you.