We Must Conserve to Preserve
We must conserve our resources to preserve our planet. I know "going green" is the buzz nowadays, however, being the council liaison for our Foster City Environmental Sustainability Task Force and attending meetings for eight months I have come to learn that the title of this op ed is right on!!!
When we asked our residents to join this task force and the council appointed them, they took off on a dead run and a quest. Their report contains details of all their research. Meetings took place twice a month or more, there was homework to research on what other cities were doing, speakers on water, waste, recycling, and many more experts in all fields.
Not only have I learned about carbon footprints, biodegradable materials, etc., I have learned that personal responsibility only hits home when it becomes personal. I know that before I got involved in government, if I came home and my lights went on, the water came out of the tap and my toilet flushed I was "good." I believed I had no responsibility because I was raising kids, taking care of a house, etc. and letting someone else look after the city. Now that I know better I must do better as far as conserving and so must all of us.
It was pointed out to me by a resident that passed McDonalds every morning that there was one person "hosing" down the entire building, sidewalks and parking lot. Wow.....what an enormous amount of water went down the drain. I was on my walk yesterday and passed a house that had a hose balanced on some shrubs watering some new flowers, however it had overflowed the flower bed, flowed down the sidewalk and driveway and along a huge length of the curb.
I kept walking and then thought.....why not!! Knock on the door!!! Well I did and a woman holding a baby thanked me for taking the time to tell her and she was sure her husband just forgot to turn it off. How many gallons were lost??? That is where recyclable water may come into play for our landscapes, etc.
I learned that the chemicals in the cleaning process can be a health issue as well. I have also learned of a fairly simple solution when you take your clothes to the cleaners. Ask for a "green" order....you will receive your clothes with no plastic bag, therefore giving your garments the chance to breathe out the chemicals.....plus it saves another bag!!! If you insist on the bag then at least remove it 24 hours before you wear the garment.
If we all just paid attention to our surroundings and where we live and pay taxes I believe it could pay off. When you are walking around your house and see something amiss you fix it or get someone to fix it. Well this is your City so if you see something that just doesn't seem right I think you should call us and report it. It is not snitching because sometimes folks are just not aware of their actions. If they are aware and just don't care, then we have ways to deal with them too (just kidding!!).
We appreciate calls from residents to inform us of their observations when they see a sprinkler on in the rain, lights on at the tennis court or standing water in parks. We need everyone to be our eyes and ears so efficiency is reached. I was walking at Boothbay Park yesterday and heard basketball players saying the water fountain wasn't working......I called Kevin Miller, Director of Parks and Recreation. It turns out the crew had turned off the water because they were working on some pipes in the park.....it was back on the next day. Staff just loves hearing my voice!!!
A week ago Art Jensen from the Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency gave us a presentation on the state of our water supply and if that doesn't make you sit up and take notice nothing will. It is fantastic to listen to a speaker who is so passionate about his work and his cause because you know he has no hidden agenda and simply wants to help us with an issue that is going to get our attention very, very soon at many different levels. We are lucky that Vice Mayor Rick Wykoff has the same passion for where we will be getting water from now and in the future. Again, until it becomes personal and affects you and your home, most will not notice.
Last night our Environmental Sustainability Task Force presented the results of eight months of research regarding sustainability. Their report is very comprehensive and gives short term and long term goals on how we might implement them. This will be a living document and this committee will continue to meet until we feel we have given Foster City all the "tools" to go forward to make an impact on ourselves, our community and our planet. Copies of this report are available at City Hall or on the City’s website at www.fostercity.org.
I must take the time now to thank staff, our intern, Cori Wilser and the members of this committee for their hard work, dedication and heart. This is just the beginning of making Foster City stay ahead of what is expected of us and continue to be the leader which everyone expects us to be.
Please send your comments to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
March 04, 2009
We Must Conserve to Preserve