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European Energy Tour 2008

A group from our chapter learns from European countries


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Download the powerpoint presentations from all the the sites visited by our
Smart Energy team!

April 4: Hello from Copenhagen

It's a cloudy, cool day in Copenhagen - a good day for sleeping in and taking copious naps.
Many of us, but Ken and I in particular, are exhausted and relieved. I have a case of the hacking bronchial crud that has me a bit depleted but not down and out. Ken has a cold. Other than that, we are all doing splendidly.

We had our farewell group meeting last night - was supposed to be a dinner, but changed into a beer party at our hotel where there are swimming pools, climbing walls from which you fall into a pool, bowling, basketball courts, etc. Quite the fitness center but not much fitness on my part to enjoy it. But they do have spectacular latte and dark beer, so I'm happy.

We are uploading the large quantity of video footage for editing next week (student project). Saw some last night. SO great.

I have had no time to just reflect, organize my reactions, and at this point I'm not sure I could tell you even where I've been. What is clear, however, from the full group gathering last night is that this trip wayyyyyyy exceeded everyone's expectations. It went off without a hitch. Every one of the planned meetings took a slightly different view of the sustainability/energy issues. There were definitely underlying themes that felt supportive and sustainable in and of themselves. The students and others all took copious notes - I sat and listened and absorbed it all. Somehow, out of our 21 different experiences will emerge a unified narrative, at least that's the intention of the group.

I'm aiming for a Sierra Mag article :-)

By Karen M.

26 March: A Day in England


We left sunny San Luis Obispo and arrived at London's Heathrow airport to snow flurries that turned into freezing rain. We start our citizen ambassadorship for climate change with the London Sustainable Development Commission (LSDC).

The LSDC ( ) was established by the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, in 2002 to advise him on making London an exemplary sustainable world city. The Commission is made up of individual experts from the economic, social, environmental and London governance sectors. Commissioners give their time voluntarily, promoting sustainable development, embedding sustainability into London wide strategies, and helping make sustainability a meaningful and understandable concept for all Londoners.

Our first presentation by Maria Lee and Andrew Judge, LSDC Commissioners, was "Embedding Sustainability into regional policy and promoting sustainability leadership". This was followed by "Tackling climate change locally: Civil Society working with regional and local Government" by Chris Church, chair of London 21. London 21 Sustainability Network promotes, supports and networks community-based initiatives for a greener, healthier and more sustainable Greater London on behalf of over 1,500 people and organizations ( ). Closing out our program was a presentation by Andy Deacon of the greater London Authority "The Climate Change Action Plan and the Mayor's approach to sustainable energy". (

Next on our agenda after a wonderful train ride to Surrey is the prestigious international program of One Planet Communities ( ) which solves the climate change conundrum of new development. Instead of just trying to eke out more energy efficiency, it starts from the basic principle of zero greenhouse gas emissions from buildings and a massive 82% reduction from transit. The BEDZED solution is #1 on our list of must places to study and replicate in California.

BEDZED, the Beddington Zero Energy Development, is a mixed-use energy conserving and energy efficient development, and designed with a strong emphasis on roof gardens, sunlight, solar energy, reduction of energy consumption and wastewater recycling. The development makes use of renewable materials, space heating, combined heat and power and green transport plans. Continuing Education Credits should be given for every California City & County planner that visits BEDZED or implements code changes that incorporate the BEDZED protocols!

By Ken Smokoska

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Explore, Enjoy and Protect - Santa Lucia Chapter hike in Machesna Wilderness
Machesna Wilderness hike
April 2002
Photo by Gary Felsman