Monday, December 11, 2006

Neighborhood Environmentalism

Nice story and nice project; and get those bulbs, they really work and last much longer.

Taking stand, bulb at a time
Curtis Park residents help fight global warming at home.
By Edie Lau - Bee Staff Writer
Published 12:00 am PST Monday, December 11, 2006

Rosanna Herber is big on saving energy at home, being an employee of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, but even she had never cleaned the coils on her refrigerator.

Not, that is, until she and her neighbor Kathy Les put their heads together and hatched a campaign to encourage fellow residents of Curtis Park to counter climate change by trimming their household power consumption.

The result is Curtis Park Energy Stars, a first-of-its-kind project in a Sacramento neighborhood to bring home the issue of global warming -- literally.

In practical terms, it means Herber, Les and other like-minded residents in their corner of Sacramento are replacing old-fashioned light bulbs with energy-sipping compact fluorescents; removing dust and debris from refrigerator coils so the appliances run better; and consistently turning off lights and unplugging appliances that aren't in use, among other things.

In philosophical terms, it means participants are acknowledging their contributions -- and the contributions of all individuals -- to global environmental troubles, including the accumulation in the atmosphere of heat-trapping gases such as carbon dioxide, chiefly from burning fossil fuels.

Les, a former journalist, said the turning point for her came when she read a book called "You Can Prevent Global Warming (and Save Money!): 51 Easy Ways," by Jeffrey Langholz and Kelly Turner.

"One of the things that really jumped out at me is, if you change four incandescent light bulbs to compact fluorescents, the amount of CO2 saved is 718 pounds a year," Les said. "I started to see these numbers: Only four light bulbs, and multiply it by 2,000, which is the number of households in our neighborhood ...