Letters to the Editor: Kindness During Covid in San Anselmo and Climate Empowerment in Petaluma

Kindness During Covid

Yesterday I witnessed an act of compassion that lifted my heart and renewed my soul. A young couple pulled over to the curb in front of the local San Anselmo Coffee Roastery, jumped out and rushed over to help a senior lady whom they had just seen fall on the sidewalk.

Helping her to a seat in front of the Coffee Roastery, they brought her napkins to dab the blood from her mild shin wound.

The Coffee Roastery Manager, Janet, dropped everything and rushed out with an ice bag, gauze pads and her first aid kit to assist.

The young man, Thomas Kenton of Fairfax, whose mom is the Director of the San Anselmo Public Library, and his companion, Maryann Weber of San Rafael, and another young man, didn’t know her, yet did not hesitate to rush to her assistance.

Someone ran to the nearby Ross Valley Fire Department Firehouse to summon Battalion Chief Gavin Illingworth. He offered to get her to the hospital, yet said the Coffee Roastery Manager’s first aid was exactly what the others would do for her.

This kind act on the part of several strangers who pulled together out of their own lives and schedules to help a stranger in need, while safely wearing their masks, brings tears of gratitude to my eyes, knowing that during this time of “avoid, keep social distance, and stay separate”, the humane part of our humanity has not been entirely lost.

To find compassion, connection and community is necessary in order to feel really alive as we continue to heal the constant stress of living under the imminent threat of extinction—of our hopes and dreams, as well as our very lives.

I hope we are able to continue to find the compassion necessary to share quality of life.

Joy Appleby, West Marin

The Future of Local Climate Empowerment

There is a lot of well-intended talk about the Climate Crisis and with this comes pressure on City Halls everywhere to reduce GreenHouse Gas emissions.  The new Federal administration is increasing its focus on policy activity nationwide. An encouraging alignment lies in the announcement from General Motors that they intend to stop making gas powered cars altogether in the near future.  However, the real and immediate power to affect change is in the hands of local folks and one of the most effective actions we can take is to adopt clean energy technologies such as solar power.  

It’s so easy to demand change from others but now is the time for personal action. We must embrace and undertake to make the switch to new clean energy technologies.  Solar can be free to install and significantly helps reduce dependency on out of state oil and gas sources, which many people don’t realize that these are hidden in their PGE service.

There are approximately 20,000 residential roofs in Petaluma.  Assuming that only half these homes have adequate sun exposure, this means there are 10,000 opportunities to make a dramatic difference in reducing our Petaluma greenhouse gases. City permitting numbers indicate that only about 2000 homes have solar.  This means there are  8000 opportunities to adopt clean energy.  

Let’s make 2021 the year Petaluma goes solar!

It has never been easier to adopt clean energy.  Getting solar for your home has never been so affordable and there are so many options – from buying outright to leasing the equipment to simply paying for the energy that your solar system produces (with zero out of pocket).  Truly, going solar can save you money while helping reduce greenhouse gases   And for those who are able to pay for the solar system outright, electric bills will be gone – only a memory and no more worries about rate hikes.

And what about Federal tax credits?  While these significantly reduce the cost of home solar projects, the credits will be decreasing every year.  Another reason to make 2021 the year that Petaluma goes solar!

Take control of your power! PG&E power can and will continue to shut off power at random, sometimes without any notice.  For peace of mind, installing energy storage technology is becoming standard practice thus further decreasing dependency on PG&E.  

People are stepping up!  Electric car owners are using their cars as battery backups for their homes.  Also, tenants are telling their landlords they would like to have cleaner energy.

We can do this for our community, for our children and for the future of our planet and save money!  Whether you do it yourself, hire a contractor or call a solar sales consultant – get on board and help create a Petaluma powered by the sun!

Kevin McDonnell, Petaluma City Council Member
John Crowley, Community Organizer and Solar Consultant

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