Editor’s Note: Green Dream

Mimi Towle
Photo courtesy of Blink Inc.


GRETA THUNBERG, COME to Marin! I know you’re busy, but I think you’ll be pleased to find a county full of people who are and have been fighting the environmental good fight for decades. We could also use your international spotlight and basically, I just think you’re awesome.

OK, back to you, the readers. Do you ever have one of those dreams like the one where Brad Pitt is your best friend — no biggie — and finally tells you that he has been in love with you since third grade? I had a Greta dream the other day that was almost as good.

She was going to come to town to tour the Marin Carbon Project and speak at Futurewell 2020, and I was asked to be her tour guide (this made sense in the dream). Suddenly the personal contact info for several carbon-sequestering heroes was in my files. I texted Sir Paul Hawken (my pet name for him) to see if he wanted to ride along in my electric VW bus, a prototype on loan from Sonnen. The day of the event, I looked like a model stepping out of a Sundance catalogue, shrugging off Paul’s compliment when I picked him up. “Upcycled Rachel Comey I found at Revente in Greenbrae,” I said, smiling. We then picked up Tamra Peters, founder of Resilient Neighborhoods, along with Elon Musk, Leo DiCaprio and, of course, Brad.

As I type the details of this dream I am eating a salad I just purchased at Mollie Stone’s which is packaged in a certified plant fiber container that will turn into soil within 90 days — win! However, energy and resources were consumed to create it, and the lettuce, pepitas, artichoke hearts and kung pao chicken (from the hot bar) came from around the planet. My lunch symbolizes the give-and-take of my daily internal battle as I strive to be part of the solution.

Encouraged by a friend, I recently joined the 97th class of Tamra Peters’ Resilient Neighborhoods program in Sausalito. We named our class SOS: Sausolutions of Sustainability and are learning how a few small tweaks to our daily habits can help bring big changes for the environment. Peters has been leading these meetings for years, in libraries, schools and homes throughout Marin. The result has been elimination of an estimated 8 million pounds of carbon. For this and other eco initiatives, she is being inducted into the Marin Hall of Fame this month at the YWCA in San Rafael.

People like Tamra Peters, Paul Hawken and Dana Armanino and her crew on the county Sustainability Team are having a positive impact not only in Marin, but on the whole planet. According to a recent county report on community greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), we’ve been doing great. In 2015, the county set a goal to reduce GHG to 30 percent below 1990 levels by the end of 2020, and we are very close: as this magazine goes to press reduction is at 24 percent. The biggest areas of improvement have come from Marin Clean Energy (MCE) and PG&E’s renewable energy offerings — and signing up for MCE is something all of us can do in less than five minutes.

Peters and the rest of the environmental crew make it look easy, yet personally I find the work hard to integrate into my life. I get confused about what exactly most affects climate change — is it fuel emissions, renewable energy, composting, choosing green building materials? Is it picking up trash on the beach, choosing paper over plastic, bringing my own cup to Starbucks? I’ve heard whispers of scientists researching a plastic-eating bacteria and high school kids coming up with great solutions. Fantastic, can I now relax and take a nap on my natural foam mattress?

For this month’s issue, Anne-Christine Strugnell has written an easy-to-read status report on planet-saving efforts in our county and simple, impactful steps all of us can take. Did we miss one of your local heroes? Let us know.

Mimi Towle, Editor