Describe your volunteer activity with San Rafael?
I created the Resilient Neighborhoods Program in 2011 and have been running it since as a full-time volunteer. Resilient Neighborhoods is a Marin program that works to bring residents together to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions, prepare for emergencies, and make their communities safer and stronger. The program is fun and is a great way to meet others because it’s done with a team of 5 or more households. Each household goes on a low-carbon diet to reduce 5,000 pounds in 10 weeks. Team members learn about actions they can take like simple ways to trim energy and water use and prepare their homes and neighborhoods for whatever is coming—droughts, wildfires or an earthquake. The program is free and works well even for people who have already done a lot. For more information or to sign up for a team go to www.resilientneighborhoods.org.
Why did you choose to volunteer for San Rafael?
San Rafael has helped since the beginning by helping me make connections with people, providing an intern to assist me for the first three years and most recently, joining with other Marin cities and towns to support a full-time outreach associate position and a space to work. San Rafael staff, particularly Cory Bytof, has helped in so many ways, I lost count!
What do you enjoy most about your volunteer work?
I enjoy working with the teams of people who do the program. I love to see them shift their understanding from feeling powerless about climate change to actually changing their everyday actions and making different purchasing decisions, knowing that they and a growing number of people are making a difference. Many team graduates turn into climate advocates and spread the word to their families and friends, encouraging them to do the program too.
What accomplishment are you most proud of as a volunteer?
I’m most proud that I’ve been able to help 658 people reduce 2,858,442 pounds of annual carbon emissions and make our communities and neighborhoods safer. San Rafael residents alone have reduced almost one- million CO2 lbs. The motto of Resilient Neighborhoods is ‘Less Carbon—More Community” and that’s what we’re doing.
What other volunteer activities do you do?
I’ve been working as staff member or volunteer, (often both at the same time), for environmental groups since June of 1970. Resilient Neighborhoods is a member of the Marin Conservation League’s Climate Action Working Group and the Time to Lead on Climate Group. The Lead on Climate Group is composed of 13 organizations that have joined forces to put on educational events on climate that they couldn’t do individually. An example is last year’s Lead on Climate event at Dominican University attended by 800 people. To learn more about what local people and groups are doing about climate change, click here to go to Time to Lead on Climate’s website.
What do you suggest to those considering volunteering with the City?
You won’t find a more supportive, kind and fun group of people to work with anywhere. I wouldn’t be doing this without their help.
In a few words, describe your volunteer experience.
I am making a difference by helping others take climate action.