Going Green with Families at the Noe Valley Library Branch

“If you had to concentrate on one tip for the environment, what would you advise?” asked a woman at the back of the room.

“Rid your home of plastic,” answered Jennifer Caldwell, founder and executive director of Hope to Action, a nationwide non-profit dedicated to empowering women to bring in environmental practices in their lives.

“And walk to school if you can,” added Susan Silber of the Low Carbon Diet program.

This morning, the Noe Valley Library Branch hosted a program on helping families going green featuring Leslie Crawford, an environmental writer who tags herself as eco-anxiety ridden, Susan Silber and Jennifer Caldwell. The program was sponsored by Friends of the San Francisco Public Library.

On this picture, from left to right: Susan Silber, Leslie Crawford, Jennifer Caldwell and Shawn Rosenmoss, senior environmental specialist at SF Environment and founder of the Compacters eco-group.

Ms Caldwell started Hope to Action, an online tool meant to help women take action in their lives by giving them practical recommendations such as replacing incadescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs or by starting an EcoSalon, the green version of Tupperware reunions!

You invite a bunch of friends to join you at an EcoSalon by email, you each get a list of guidelines to protect the environment, you create your ownn Yahoo! Group if you wish and you follow each other’s progress. The best part is, it’s free! Free to join, to get the list of all resources, get the guidelines and get the monthly newsletter. Pretty neat if you ask me.

Ms Silber emphasized the transportation side of fighting global warming as transportation accounts for 50% of greenhouse gases. She focused on Safe Routes to School, a citizen-driven initiative to have children walk to school with parents, and on environmental education, a field that’s been her career for 18 years.

Amongst the many questions were two interesting ones.

Idling cars when dropping off and picking up children at schools: did you know that if you plan to stay longer than 10 seconds on the spot, it’s better to cut off the gas and start your engine again when you’re ready to go?

– How to get the message across to your friends and family without being viewed as an eco-Nazi: step back and offer suggestions rather than judgemental opinions. When it comes to changing life habits, people quickly get defensive.

On the way out, I picked up a canvas tote bag by SF Environment and used it minutes later to carry my groceries. There, I’ve started.

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Laure Latham

Laure is an author, environmental advocate, blogger, open water swimmer and now mother. She's passionate about inspiring families to enjoy the outdoors with their children, learning to unplug and living a healthy lifestyle, giving kids life skills and exploring the world around us sharing Family Friendly, Fun Ideas for the whole family on Frog Mom.

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