Berkeley Mayor Will Sell His Car to Reduce Carbon Footprint

Photo: Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates plans to sell his car in order to reduce his impact on the environment.
Alexander Ritchie/Photo
Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates plans to sell his car in order to reduce his impact on the environment.


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Photo: Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates said that since he decided to walk more often to reduce his carbon footprint in May, he has taken more than 5 million steps.   


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Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates is opting to walk the eight blocks to the dry cleaners now that he has decided to give up his Volvo to further reduce his carbon footprint.

"In October of last year I started thinking of getting rid of my car, I simply wasn't driving it," Bates said. "I started thinking I could get by without one."

Bates takes BART to travel to other cities because his wife, state Sen. Loni Hancock, drives their hybrid vehicle to Sacramento throughout the week.

"Loni and I are doing everything we can to have the smallest carbon footprint possible," he said. "She has a hybrid car, we have photovoltaic cells."

Bates said he has decided to give up his car in part to support the city's proposed Climate Action Plan, which aims to reduce 80 percent of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

To help realize the plan's goal, the Ecology Center, a local green organization, holds climate change action groups in which community members measure their carbon footprint and come up with strategies to reduce it, said Debra Berliner, the center's climate action coordinator.

She said the average American household produces 55,000 pounds of carbon per year, but that participants can reduce 450 to 4,000 pounds of carbon each year by reducing their vehicle travel by 20 percent.

Since he decided to walk more often to reduce his carbon footprint in May, Bates said he has taken more than 5 million steps, according to his pedometer, and is keeping to his goal of 10,000 steps per day.

By giving up his car, Bates sets an example to the community that reducing one's ecological footprint is possible, Berliner said.

"When someone like Mayor Bates ... models and really walks the talk, it really makes it easier and makes it more do-able and accessible for all other community members," she said.

Tags: MAYOR TOM BATES


Carol Yur covers city government. Contact her at [email protected].



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