|This article was part of Sue Lembert's weekly column in the San Mateo Daily Journal on August 2, 2010|
So it was a pleasant surprise to be part of a well-attended meeting at the San Mateo City Hall last week to see what we as individuals could do to help. The city of San Mateo, according to Councilman David Lim, is leading the way with its climate action plan for fall 2010. There is a build it green rating system where points are awarded for eco-friendly building elements such as low-flow toilets and high-efficiency shower heads. There are residential loans to assist single family homeowners to repair deteriorated private sewer laterals. The California First program provides low-interest funding for environmental improvements. Residents can obtain loans with a payback over 20 years for such energy savers as solar panels and water efficiency. PG&E offers rebates on energy efficient products. The audience was told that every minute you shorten your shower you can save up to 75 gallons of water per month. And you can save more by not letting the faucet run when you brush your teeth or clean dishes before loading the dishwasher. Raphael Reyes, director of the Bay Area Climate Collective, sounded upbeat when he said we were now moving from the impossible to the inevitable. More and more auto manufacturers are planning or are already offering electric cars.