Apologies for Cross-Postings
Lt. Governor Garamendi calls for Zero Waste
paragraph from bottom).
Stephanie Barger, Executive Director
Date: Sat, 1 Dec 2007 11:54:35 -0800
Organization: Earth Resource Foundation
Earth Resource Foundation
P.O. Box 12364
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
"Join us for our 7th Annual Human Broom Beach Cleanup and Youth
Empowerment Day, Saturday, December 8th, 2007 from 9 am to 1 pm at the
Huntington Beach State Beach - River Jetties, visit
for more information"
Subject: Going Green From The Ground Up
Going green from the ground up
By John Garamendi
November 30, 2007
The recent Southern California wildfires were devastating, consuming
lives, communities, homes and irreplaceable memories. While affected
homeowners look to the daunting task of rebuilding their homes and their
lives, global climate change is likely the last thing on their minds. But
the fires offer good reasons for considering the effects of climate
change, and perhaps more important, considering how we can help curb
Scientists agree that climate change is real and the resulting higher
temperatures and droughts increase the threat of wildfires in the West.
Yet in the path of these devastating fires, Southern California
homeowners have the opportunity to rebuild in a way that both reduces the
fire threat and ensures a healthy California environment.
A month since the wildfires began, communities, local officials and state
and local agencies have coordinated their efforts to remove ash and
debris from the fire areas in the most efficient ways possible, saving
time, money and curbing insurance fraud. Now, affected communities should
pool their ideas, talents and resources and begin building fire-safe,
sustainable structures. Working together, communities can receive the
maximum leverage from subsidies available for alternative energy and
energy efficiency, and minimize the environmental impact of rebuilt
Valuable lessons have been learned from the fires of Oakland, San Diego
and Southern California, and we must take those lessons and put them into
action. To that end, local governments should make information available
and offer incentives for fire-safe construction, including concrete
siding for exterior walls, double-pane windows, fire-resistant roofing,
safe siting and defensible space.
As California's population continues to increase under the threat of
global warming, water availability and use remains a primary concern on
the minds of policy-makers. As the Sierra snowpack declines, the
Sacramento Delta shrinks and our groundwater degrades, water-efficiency
measures will be increasingly important. Homeowners can do their part by
combining modern appliances and plumbing fixtures with mandatory zero-or
low-water-use landscaping and native flora. Efficient low-use drip
systems and efficient and safe methods of recycling water are also
important for homeowners wanting to do their part in going green.
Homeowners have the opportunity to make new homes as energy efficient as
current technology allows. To that end, the efficiency requirements
included in new Title 24 building codes are an excellent start, but to
achieve the most energy savings and the least environmental impact,
homeowners can look to the highest Leadership in Energy and Environmental
The California Public Utilities Commission and the Energy Commission have
been adding surcharges to the utility bills of Californians for decades.
These are intended to help California reach its goal of using at least 20
percent renewable energy by 2020. Starting from the ground up, homeowners
have the golden opportunity to deploy alternative sources of energy.
Roof-top solar photovoltaic systems, passive solar systems, solar water
heating and wind systems are alternative sources that are eco-friendly
and have long-term cost saving benefits because the fuel is free.
With new construction, there may also be opportunities for small
generation energy sources that could serve a collection of homes, rather
than including separate systems at every site. Utility companies that
administer these programs and are replacing some of their existing
damaged distribution infrastructure have the chance to work with local
communities to creatively increase alternative energy.
Earning incentives to encourage energy efficiency in residential and
commercial structures, these companies are in a great position to lead a
community-wide effort to assure the best techniques and systems are
adopted. With the cooperation of contractors, economies of scale can
bring down costs of rebuilding and retrofitting homes. Communities in the
United Kingdom have adopted this model and serve as working examples of
the endless possibilities available when communities share their
resources and make a commitment to alternative energy sources.
the rebuilding phase begins, I am hopeful the impacted communities will
work with solid waste managers to clear and rebuild with a focus on zero
waste, recycle whatever is salvageable during debris removal and build
with new materials that are non-toxic, long-lasting and reusable.
As the fifth-largest economy in the world and historically an
environmental leader to the world, California has a golden opportunity to
prove itself once again from devastation to rebuilding cleaner and
greener than ever. Global climate change reminds us we are all
interconnected, that our energy use and consumption patterns impact the
A clean, green new start is only possible when we all work together:
representatives from the Governor's Office, local and regional elected
officials, state and local water and land-management experts, utility and
insurance companies, contractors and their trade associations. We must
act now, and we must act together to rebuild our Southern California
communities to ensure a healthy California tomorrow.
California Lieutenant Governor
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