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April 24, 2007 > How to be 'cool"

How to be 'cool"

Most of us would be pleased if others referred to us as "cool." It might be the way we walk, talk or act that deserves the moniker, but use of this accolade has remained constant during generations of language change. Now, cities are trying to be cool too!

The word "cool" has been transformed from a designation of temperature to a state of being and now, reinvented to combine both concepts when applied to societal and personal action in relation to the global environment. Whether a committed believer or a skeptic of the newest media catastrophic darling, "global warming," practical benefits of this movement have the potential of welcome change.

A "Climate Protection Agreement," drafted by the 2005 U.S. Conference of Mayors, has been signed by many city mayors indicating significant interest in finding ways to reduce pollution and climate disruption by human activity. Mayors who have signed this agreement pledge to find ways to combat global warming by becoming a "cool" city. In the greater Tri-City area, so far, Fremont, Hayward and Newark have joined the effort.

Endorsement of the agreement urges all levels of government to "meet or beat the target of reducing global warming pollution levels to 7 percent below 1990 levels by 2012, including efforts to: reduce the United States' dependence on fossil fuels and accelerate the development of clean, economical energy resources and fuel-efficient technologies such as conservation, methane recovery for energy generation, waste to energy, wind and solar energy, fuel cells, efficient motor vehicles, and biofuels..."

Better ways to harness energy, decrease air, soil and water pollution and reduce dependence on less abundant resources are described as bipartisan goals. Unfortunately, some have tried to exploit environmental efforts for political gain using complex and favorable excerpts of conflicting data to preach a particular political agenda. While these methods are vociferously debated by experts and rival political factions, rational and practical minds should agree that creative, cost-effective methods of sustaining a comfortable lifestyle in a more competitive and crowded world are laudable. Even without scare tactics or hyperbole, most people simply prefer to live in a safe and clean environment for themselves and their children.

In order to sort out a myriad of often confusing information and approach problems and solutions in a rational manner, the League of Women Voters of Fremont, Newark, Union City and Tri-City Ecology Center are co-sponsoring a seminar to address regional, local and personal strategies. These include new methods of construction and energy conversion for government, business, home and highway which can result in not only a better environment, but cost savings too. Featured speakers include Kristin Miller, Executive Director Ecocity Builders; Jefferey Greenblatt, Ph.D., Environmental Defense; Jennifer Love, Program Manager, Build It Green; Justine Burt, NASA Ames.

Whether you love or hate the rhetoric of the global warming debate, this is an opportunity to listen and discuss the practical side of this issue. Come ready to listen and participate since as the league reminds us, "Democracy is not a spectator sport."

Cool Cities - Solving Global Warming One City at a Time
Saturday, April 28
9:30 a.m. - 12:00 Noon
Fremont Main Library
2400 Stevenson Blvd., Fremont
(510) 794-5783

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