Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Not to Pick on these Folks, But...

Redwood City Cool Families is a group of local moms who I think mean well, but have a tendency to piss me off.

Here is their latest:

Summer travel season is almost here, and spring break is upon us. Everything you do is a little more challenging when you travel, including recycling and saving energy. Here are a few tips to help you reduce the green house gases you generate when you travel. Remember, transportation and home heating/cooling are the biggest contributors to your carbon footprint.

Tip #1: Choose an efficient car: If you travel by car, start by choosing the most energy efficient vehicle that is safe and appropriate for your trip. Follow our previous tips, and make sure the tires have appropriate air pressure.

Tip #2: Turn off home air conditioning or heat: If your whole family is leaving the house: Turn off heat & air conditioning entirely if possible; or adjust it to a lower setting to protect pipes from freezing or to make sure pets stay healthy. Turn water heater to "Vacation" or lowest setting; and Unplug appliances, such as TVs, computers and TV set-top boxes - they use power even when they are turned off.

Tip #3: Pack light: Especially if you are flying, don't over pack. It takes a lot of fuel to move the extra weight across the miles.

Tip #4: Try camping! Consider staying closer to home for your vacation destination. There are so many amazing places to visit in California, check out someplace nearby that you've always been meaning to visit. Camping can be a terrific, eco-friendly vacation.

Tip #5: Reduce power use in your hotel: If you stay in a hotel:

  • Ask housekeeping not to replace your sheets and towels every day; this reduces energy AND water usage.
  • Turn off the lights, air conditioner or heater, and the electronics in your room while you're out.
  • Turn off the water when you brush your teeth, and take shorter showers.
  • Bring your own toiletries, or, if you use what the hotel provides, take leftover items home with you.

Cool Families is a Redwood City-based group of parents concerned about global warming and climate change. The group composes and sends out "Cool Tips," which members forward to local groups, friends and family. Small actions together effect big changes. Everything you do right now, today either positively or negatively impacts the global warming problem. Do make environment- friendly choices in your daily life. Do persuade others to do the same.

Is something missing here? There are plenty of fun places to go without a car, dammit! Here's some actually useful information.

  • CalTrain weekend edition (still waiting for the Spring Edition, though).
  • BART has a printed "destination guide", which I can't find online, but just google for "places to go on BART" and you'll find plenty.
  • AmTrak Capitol Corridor: Click on a station name on this map to see a list of nearby attractions.
  • Yelp knows where all the CalTrain and BART stations are--find one in a town you want to visit, and then search for nearby restaurants/shopping/whatever.

Or just stay tuned. The weather's getting better, and I'll try to ramp down the political rants on the blog, and report on more fun things to do via transit.

There are plenty of transit-accessible destinations around our region and state. And if you get there by train, it'll be more fun, and do a lot more to "reduce your carbon footprint", than driving around in a car full of smelly people who skimped on their showers!


Kathy Schrenk said...

Good point about that, we should have included more local, transit-accessible trips.

As for the salt works, I personally agree that it should be used for housing to help reduce sprawl. I didn't think Cool Families had taken formal position on it, though. But I may have missed something when I had my second child last summer.

Incidentally, I rode my bike to that meeting. :-)

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295bus said...

To be totally accurate, I don't think Cool Families has taken a position on the saltworks as an organization. However, a few people have spoken out on the subject, identifying themselves as members of the group, and have all been against it (that I've seen).

When I wrote that anyone opposed to developing the saltworks should say where else they think housing should go instead, I wasn't being rhetorical. Honestly, if housing can go somewhere else, I'd love to see 100% of the saltworks restored as wetlands.

It would take some interesting financing and creative thinking. But there really is plenty of underutilized land around town. The RWC KMart seems to be barely holding on, and you could tear it down and make room for a couple hundred families there.

On the other hand, the saltworks' owners' latest proposal--develop half of it, restore the other half--seems like a pretty good compromise.

It would be really cool for Cool Families to actually come out in favor of some kind of plan that helps balance housing and open space. They're exactly the kind of group that people would listen to, and could help get things done, if they put their minds to finding real solutions.

Anyway, thanks for reading, keep on riding, and congratulations!

Fritz said...

Good suggestions. My family and I travel by transit to some degree, but to be brutally honest, the cost becomes less attractive when you're talking about a family of four. It's often easier and cheaper to pile everybody into the family wagon then buying individual tickets x 4. And if you want to bring a pet along for the weekend trip, forget about taking public transportation.

For Amtrak, don't forget about travel down the coast on the Surfliner. You can also travel for super cheap to Los Angeles (for that trip to Disneyland) using Megabus, especially if you book the trip in advance.

295bus said...

If you get four people in a car then at least you're carpooling--doesn't matter that you're all related!

But just a quick note about family outings by transit: kids up to 5 are usually free, and above that, usually about half fare, depending on the system (though I've never once succeeded in buying a child ticket for BART).