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Monday, July 22, 2024

Women and Men Leaders in Sustainability in San Mateo County Rewarded

Photo: Anna Lee Mraz P360P

Every year, Sustainable San Mateo County ?SSMC? honors sustainability leaders who have made significant progress in protecting our people and planet through their work with organizations, businesses and local governments, and on Thursday night, various awards were presented to men, women, and young people who have made a difference in this town.

SSMC has presented 166 awards to local sustainability champions since 1999, seeking to inspire and honor those who work to make the region truly sustainable. 

With the theme "A hopeful future for our youth," this Thursday, March 30, at 5:30 p.m., Colegio de San Mateo, located at 1700 W. Hillsdale Blvd., dressed up to celebrate these people, have dinner and be part of a silent auction.

In this 24th edition of the Sustainable San Mateo County Awards, the winners were:

Sustainability Award: Diane Bailey, Tom Kabat, Redwood High School and SEI.

Green Building Award: Burlingame Community Center.

Women and Men Leaders in Sustainability in San Mateo County Rewarded
Green Building Award Presentation: Burlingame Community Center. Photo: Anna Lee Mraz P360P

Green Building Honorable Mentions: Atherton Library and Gilead Sciences' Wellbeing Center.

Praise Youth for Sustainability: Alex Wagonfeld, Colin Chu, and Ethan Hua.

From left to right: Ethan Hua, Alex Wagonfeld and Colin Chu. Photo: Anna Lee Mraz P360P.

Diane Bailey, has led sustainability efforts at Menlo Park since 2015 through the non-profit organization Menlo Spark. Under his leadership, with much support from fellow awardee Tom Kabat, Menlo Spark helped mobilize city residents to address climate change, persuading the City Council to adopt the most aggressive 2030 carbon neutral goal ever. of the city in San Mateo County. 

Last year, Menlo Spark helped forge a public-private partnership between BlocPower and Menlo Park for a citywide electrification and job training program, which included securing $4.5 million in state funds to help low-income households. low income to ditch natural gas in Menlo Park.

Tom Kabat, Chairman of the Menlo Park Commission on Environmental Quality, is an environmental and mechanical engineer with four decades of experience in energy efficiency, utility programs, utility planning, and public policy areas. 

Tom Kabat. Photo: Anna Lee Mraz P360P

Tom has drawn on his extensive experience providing assistance and analysis to a variety of electrification efforts, including developing ways to electrify without increasing the size of electrical panels. Tom assisted in a recent San Mateo County study on new methods to electrify homes.

Together, Diane and Tom founded the Silicon Valley Fossil Free Buildings Campaign ?FFBSV? in 2019, which now has 40 member organizations, and which has helped persuade 30 cities in San Mateo County and Santa Clara County to limit or ban fossil fuels in new construction. 

Diane Bailey. Photo: Anna Lee Mraz P360P

For its part, SEI is a San Rafael-based environmental nonprofit organization that trains young leaders throughout the Bay Area to drive sustainability solutions and develops leadership pathways from elementary school through early career. . 

SEI representatives. Photo: Anna Lee Mraz P360P

Secuoya High School has a strong commitment to the future of students with a focus on post-secondary options and environmental sustainability. Its new climate-resilient and sustainable campus opened in 2018 and features energy-efficient heating and cooling, solar power, and biofiltration. 

Redwood High School representatives. Photo: Anna Lee Mraz P360P

The school has a large outdoor educational space with an organic garden, a greenhouse, a composting system, a chicken coop, rainwater harvesting systems, a riparian corridor and an outdoor classroom. Students participate in environmentally infused curricula that include maintaining the school garden, using harvested garden produce in culinary arts classes, and analyzing food systems through hands-on aquaponics labs.

Youth committed to sustainability who were recognized have volunteered their time to make the county more sustainable.

Hillsborough's Alex Wagonfeld received an SSMC Youth Sustainability Citation for his work mobilizing peers at The Nueva School and other local high schools to get involved in environmental projects, and his involvement in urging private high schools across the US. .to get rid of fossil fuels.

Alex Wagonfeld. Photo: Anna Lee Mraz P360P

Colin Chu of Portola Valley, who also attends The Nueva School has the Homeless Heroes organization that educates the public about homelessness and has delivered over a thousand meals each year from local schools to county homeless shelters.

Colin Chu. Photo: Anna Lee Mraz P360P

While Ethan Hua from San Mateo, attends Aragon High School and was the founder of the Help Our Planet Earth ?HOPE? Uniform Program, which serves the community by accepting and reusing school uniforms, thus reducing contributions to landfills.

Ethan Huah. Photo: Anna Lee Mraz P360P

You may be interested in: From garbage to art, the contest that challenges children to transform waste

Pamela Cruz
Pamela Cruz
Editor-in-Chief of Peninsula 360 Press. A communicologist by profession, but a journalist and writer by conviction, with more than 10 years of media experience. Specialized in medical and scientific journalism at Harvard and winner of the International Visitors Leadership Program scholarship from the U.S. government.


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