Cool Los Altos, a grassroots, nonpartisan organization of local residents and business owners, is focused on educating, engaging and mobilizing citizens to create local climate solutions, modify behavior and influence city policy for the benefit of a healthier planet and community.
The group, formed in October 2007, met with its first success last January – placing climate protection and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions on the Los Altos City Council agenda – after demonstrating community support with 700 signatures on a petition.
The next steps include adopting formal targets and creating a climate protection plan for the city.
How can concerned citizens have any impact on our community regarding sustainability? Get involved with a larger group of like-minded citizens and join voices with the hundreds or thousands of others who also care. People sending a unified message are more likely to be heard by elected officials than a handful of individuals.
Cool Los Altos provides that vehicle for local citizen action. Cool is launching a Green Ribbon Citizen Committee focused on allowing citizens to explain what they think Los Altos should adopt as goals, policies and programs to reduce energy use and improve the health of the environment and community for the long term.
The Green Ribbon Citizens Committee invites all community members to bring their concerns, wishes and best ideas to the table.
The organization will create prioritized recommendations for a climate protection plan to deliver to the city. There is a flexible format to allow broad community participation.
The committee is open to the public. Residents, businesses, students, faith groups, schools and local organizations can become involved. Diversity of perspective is critical to Cool's success.
The Green Ribbon Committee will convene three work groups over the year, with the first starting in August: (1) Water and Waste – Fall 2008, (2) Land Use and Transportation – Winter 2009 and (3) Energy and Green Building – Spring 2009.
Each group will hold a "Green Ribbon CafÃ©" to engage the community on the issue. The first is scheduled 6:30-9:30 p.m. Oct. 2 at the Shoup Park Garden House, light food served.
This is an opportunity for your voice to be heard and for you to contribute to local change on sustainability and climate protection issues.
The community can participate in any of the following ways: (1) come to the monthly meetings 7:15 p.m. the third Tuesday of the month and volunteer in some way; (2) join a core work group; (3) show up to the public Green Ribbon CafÃ©s; (4) e-mail policy or program ideas to Cool; or (5) make a tax-deductible donation to Cool Los Altos through the Los Altos Community Foundation.
The next Cool Los Altos meeting is scheduled July 24 at Hillview Community Center.
For more information, visit www.CoolLosAltos.org.Kacey Fitzpatrick is founder and executive director of Cool Los Altos and does sustainable residential architecture and consulting through her firm, Avalon Enterprises Inc.