Tag Archives: san jose

Kids vs Global Warming – 15 year old inspiration

Founder of Kids vs Global Warming

The Bay Area Schools Environmental Conference put on by the City of San Jose Environmental Services Department last May was nothing but inspirational. Concerned students were thirsting for new information and ways to slow global warming and rethink how we can be better guardians of our planet… for it is the youth that will be the custodians of the future.

The City of San Jose has committed to promoting awareness and activism for improving our environment. It is one of the leaders in the nation with mayor Chuck Reed’s “Green Vision” program. The Bay Area Schools Environmental Conference brought hundreds of students together to discuss their concerns and learn from the dozens of nonprofits committed to building a sustainable future.

But what was most inspirational was the keynote speaker. 15 year-old Alec Loorz, the founder of Kids vs Global Warming http://kids-vs-global-warming.com rallied the audience, young and old to come together and actively participate in the improvement of our environment from a global perspective to a personal view. “We can do things right now” he proclaimed as he advised us on things we can do on a daily basis such as reducing the use of water while showering or brushing our teeth. On a global scale he is organizing a “Million Kid March” http://kids-vs-global-warming.com/iMatter_March.html, mobilizing the youth around the world to take a stand and let our governments and corporations know that we need to make changes NOW!

If nothing else, Alec and the many committed youth at the conference gives us hope that there will be a brighter tomorrow. It is but a work in progress.


Do you know what happens when you flush?


It’s not something we think about everyday. Or any day… if at all. Yet it is something that affects all of us now and into the future. The San Jose/Santa Clara Water Pollution Control Plant (SJ/SC WPCP) is one of the most advanced and largest water treatment plants in the country, serving approaching two million people in our community. Looking towards the future, we are challenged to effectively treat and manage our waste water and maintain the delicate eco-system of the South Bay.

In addition, with natural resources depleting, how do we adequately supply water for our growing population? The SJ/SC WPCP Master Plan is being developed to guide the upgrade and renovation of the plant and the development of the surrounding 2,600 acres on which it is situated. Introducing the latest technology to treat and recycle the water more effectively is at the core of the master plan’s mission. Being able to generate energy from the bio-mass waste is an added benefit. Yet the opportunities are much more. A thoughful plan of natural habitat areas, water recreation, trails, commercial, educational and industrial uses can create a thriving, sustainable destination. 

The City of San Jose Environmental Services department is inviting the public to participate and voice their opinions as to the future of this important region in the south San Francisco Bay. Community workshops are being held in a variety of locations this month. This is your opportunity to help shape the future of our community.

Saturday, May 1 – 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Milpitas City Hall – 455 East Calaveras Blvd., Milpitas

Tuesday, May 4 – 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Santa Clara Library – 2635 Homestead Rd., Santa Clara

Saturday, May 8 – 2:30-4:30 p.m.
Roosevelt Community Center – 901 East Santa Clara St., San Jose

Wednesday, May 12 – 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Alviso Library – 5050 North 1st St., San Jose

Wednesday, May 19 – 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Cupertino Community Hall – 10350 Torre Ave., Cupertino


Sustainable Urbanism, Douglas Farr


Sustainable Urbanism

Sustainable Urbanism

There’s a new conversation circulating in the midst of the economic slowdown and the uncertainties of our global environmental future. Doug Farr (www.farrside.com), architect, urban planner, author, and environmentalist spoke to a crowded theater of business leaders, civic leaders, educators, students, and anyone else who was interested in the sustainable future of our community on Monday evening (October 20, 2008) at the San Jose Repertory Theater. It was a straight forward, no-nonsense dialog of how we live, work and play and the consequences of our “excessive lifestyle”.


For newbies, it was an enlightened view into the LEED rating system for buildings and what the current trends and programs are to reduce our impact on the environment.

Yet, LEED does not go far enough, as Doug points out. We need to re-look at the total urban environment, not just a single building, and restructure our urban landscape.

As we struggle with the concept of paying millions for new public transportation systems, it is clear that the system alone won’t solve our problems, let alone coax us out of our beloved cars. We need to create new urban environments, or “Transit Oriented Developments (TOD)” where “it just doesn’t make sense to drive a car”.

We need to increase densities of housing in neighborhoods to be able to sustain businesses and services for that neighborhood. And create compelling environments that make pedestrian lifestyle the mode of choice.

The move to create sustainable neighborhoods and clusters of LEED buildings is being promoted by the U.S. Green Building Council as LEED-ND (LEED for Neighborhood Development).

Although not the only “solution”, it provides a positive goal for create a quality of life “live/work environment” for the next generation of urbanites. He presents the case that it’s not only good for the environment and economy, but it is important for our individual health. With grim statistics on the growing obesity rates in our country, Farr shows that the pedestrian lifestyle has positive benefits for our health and well-being.

Still, we have a long way to go to alter our way of life on this road to sustainability. We need to stop the worship of our cars and consider alternatives to almost everything we do on a daily basis. And it needs to be adopted by everyone in our society, locally, nationally, and globally.

This warning message is not just for us, but for our children and the future generations. What can we do? At minimum, we need to educate ourselves and dialog with our friends, neighbors, business associates, educators and government officials. As Doug has presented his viewpoints on Sustainable Urbanism, we need to take the lead and start the conversation.