In response to this weekend’s global call out for climate action work parties, Davis is throwing its own celebration.
With activities ranging from community service projects to food samples from green-certified restaurants, the newly formed Cool Davis Initiative (CDI) is getting the community involved.
CDI is a city-sponsored movement to help Davis residents reduce their carbon impact. The program is part of a climate action plan passed by the city last March. One of the nine components of the climate action plan is to make Davis carbon neutral as soon as possible.
Using the 30-day program outlined in David Gershon’s Low Carbon Diet: A 30 Day Program to Lose 5000 Pounds, CDI has the goal of getting three-fourths of the Davis community on a ‘low carbon diet’ in five years.
Brennan Bird, a senior nature and culture major, said that the climate action work party is in response to 350.org, an organization whose goal is to get the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere down to 350 parts per million.
“We’re at 392 parts per million,” Bird said. “In order to avoid catastrophic climate change, many scientists warn that we have to get back to 350 parts per million.”
The website is promoting Oct. 10, or 10/10/10, as an international workday and has chosen to spotlight Davis’ efforts this weekend as one of 30 cities to watch. At press time, the website had 6,227 registered work parties in 185 countries.
CDI plans to use this weekend’s international day of action and awareness as an opportunity to kick-start their long-term project.
“We want everyone to get involved,” said Bird. “Climate change affects all of us. There’s a knowledge base here in the university that we’re hoping will strengthen the bond between the community and the campus.”
This weekend’s events will start on Friday with the Climate Action Rally at 11 a.m. in the quad. This will showcase some of the environmental groups on campus. Saturday is a Climate Action Work Day, which will focus on service projects that benefit the environment. Members of the community, as well as students, can volunteer in the projects.
Sunday is the Cool Davis Green Living Festival, which will be a celebration with presentations and demonstrations, as well as interactive performances from local theater and music groups.
“We’re really trying to get a large student representation at 10/10/10,” said Manny Rin, a junior environmental policy analysis and planning major.
Rin, along with Will Klein, a senior nature, culture and environmental science and management double major, are teaching a class on campus to increase student awareness and involvement.
The class teaches students to change their individual habits to make a difference and shows how they can do little things around their dorms or apartments to make them more sustainable.
“Really the biggest way to get involved is to start changing the way you are with respect to climate issues,” Klein said.
Rin added that one of his goals for the project is not just to make individual students more sustainable, but to work with ASUCD to help sororities and fraternities adopt sustainable practices as well.
“We’re going to try to recruit a lot of people to the initiative,” he said. “[We want to] get a lot of people involved in the coming years.”
Klein said that they were also training people on how to be low carbon diet team leaders.
“We are really blessed – amazing things are going in Davis,” said Bird. “Climate change is going to define our generation. It’s vital that we all realize this and start taking action.”
AKSHAYA RAMANUJAM can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.