Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Discussing non-profit career moves and green lifestyles over lunch

Yesterday I had lunch with P., a fellow conspirator in making the switch to non-profit careers that embody our values. Some topics we covered:

P. wants to bring the Green Team Project to the environmental interest group at her workplace, but has had difficult reaching the staff at the Green Team Project. I suggested the Northwest Earth Institute course materials as a possible alternative: their discussion courses include Global Warming, Choices for Sustainable Living, and Exploring Deep Ecology. Jane Rothstein runs the NWEI global warming class at Stanford; maybe she could be a resource.

P. also wants to reduce the waste stream at her workplace cafeteria by getting them to replace their disposable food service containers and utensils with biocompostables. The folks at World Centric in Palo Alto know a thing or two about compostables; I'll get in touch with them to ask about local commercial composting facilities and institutional efforts to switch to compostables. P. currently takes her personal compostables to Campbell and will take them to Whole Foods in the future if they introduce their composting program at their new Cupertino location.

We discussed these two events again: CompassPoint Nonprofit Day on Thursday, July 12 in San Francisco, and the Craigslist Foundation's Nonprofit Boot Camp on Saturday, August 18 in Berkeley. Registration has closed for the CompassPoint event, but P. is going to see if she can get in as a event volunteer. This seems like a generally sound strategy for attending a conference for free. If it works, she'll save $150. The Craigslist Foundation event looks like it's still open for signups, and the registration fee is $50 which is more accessible. Now, we need to figure out how to get to Berkeley in the most carbon-efficient but practical manner. Anybody out there in cyber-land want to come with us? We could all carpool to BART and ride BART over.

Kepler's Books in Menlo Park is launching GO-GREEN, a summer series of presentations on environmental topics. One of the presentations on Sunday, August 19 is "Don't Stop at Changing Your Light Bulbs, Green Your Career", which intrigued both of us. P. will attend, and I'm considering attending.

I mentioned Acterra's Be the Change environmental leadership training program. They are extending their application deadline until they fill all 30 slots. My friend A. completed this program; I'll contact her and see if she can talk with P. about Be the Change as well as the environmental initiatives she worked on at Stanford and elsewhere.

Note to self: I'd like to get in touch with my friend V. and see whether he would be willing to talk to P. and me about his switch from high-tech to an activist career.

The book How To Live Well Without Owning A Car came up in conversation. P. read it and gave it a thumbs-up. The table of contents and the first two chapters are available online as a free PDF download; I'd like to take a peek at these.

Speaking of cars and of commutes, my spouse and I would like to find an apartment closer to Palo Alto so he can commute by bike instead, but it's pricey up there. P. suggested looking at Menlo Park; rents may be more reasonable, and we might still be able to find a location with a good bike route to his office.

P. mentioned several things she is doing to reduce her energy usage and waste stream, like line-drying her laundry, bringing her own reusable take-out container to restaurants for leftovers, reusing bags/containers for buying bulk bin items at the grocery store, and keeping reusable bags handy for shopping trips (and forgoing such trips if she doesn't have a shopping bag with her). I was inspired by her actions and by her discipline. Regarding energy conservation, I thought I was hot stuff with my monthly electricity bill of $10-$15, but P.'s latest bill was $5!!! I bow to the PG&E energy conservation goddess!!!

No comments: