The results of a friendly Earth Day-inspired competition between local elected leaders on Mercer Island to reduce their carbon footprint will be revealed today (Thursday) at a Mercer Island School Board and City Council joint meeting, 6-8 p.m. at the .
The city's Green Ribbon Commission (GRC) will present the results from the commission’s inaugural Carbon Challenge between the members of the City Council and the school board. At the meeting, the city will also have electric and energy efficient vehicles on display and will review the results from the city and the school district facility energy reduction programs.
In early 2010, the Mercer Island City Council and the Mercer Island School Board accepted the challenge to a contest of personal commitment to reducing their carbon footprint. The "22 Ways Carbon Challenge” is one of the ways Mercer Island is recognizing the spirit of Earth Day—established nationally on April 22 beginning in the 1970s to promote environmental awareness. Each individual member of the board and council would adopt some number of the 22 Ways to lower their household carbon footprint. Twelve months later, the winner of the challenge would be the group that had collectively adopted the highest number of green practices in their households.
“Both the council and the school board have learned new ways to reduce their carbon footprint by taking simple steps," said Councilman Bruce Bassett. "Our participation in this challenge provides the community with a very visible example of how to minimize their household environmental impacts.”
Greenhouse gas or carbon emissions contribute to global warming and scientists widely beleive that man-made activity is responsible for accelerating this climate-change phenomenon. In an attempt to increase public awareness, the GRC is launching a 22 Ways Carbon Challenge communitywide with participation from the Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Mercer Island Rotary Club and City of Mercer Island staff.
“The Mercer Island Green Ribbon Commission has actively engaged the community to take the "22 Ways Carbon Challenge,” said Green Ribbon Commission member Sam Hickman. “Over time, we hope to grow the range of participants and deepen community involvement in carbon reduction activities.”
The 22 ways offered in the challenge to reduce carbon emissions on the go and at home include:
- Ride the bus rather than drive
- Walk someplace you normally would drive
- Ride a bike someplace you normally would drive
- Work from Home
- Decline a flight
- Test drive a higher MPG vehicle
- Improve your car’s MPG
- Make car trips more efficient
- Eliminate a car trip
- Measure your transportation footprint
- Use a programmable thermostat…and program it.
- Set water heater to 120ºF
- Install a low flow shower head or faucet
- Replace 5+ incandescent bulbs
- Sign up for green power
- Eliminate or replace an older appliance
- Sign up for an Energy Audit
- Do laundry more efficiently
- Use a kill-a-watt meter to measure and understand your electricity usage
- Reduce office power consumption
- Measure your home footprint
For more information on reducing your carbon footprint today, visit http://mi22ways.com
Earlier in the afternoon, from 4:30 to 6 p.m., the Community Center will also host King County’s 10th annual ceremony where Island resident and Green Ribbon Commission member , science teacher Jamie Cooke and Island Park Elementary were all recognized for their efforts to promote environmentally friendly practices and stewardship in local schools.
In acknowledging the accomplishments of environmental leaders in the school community, the Earth Heroes at School program hopes to bring attention to their innovation, creativity and dedication and inspire others to adopt similar actions to protect the environment. The program is offered through the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks’ Solid Waste Division.
This weekend, the city also will hold a children-related "" event on Saturday, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.