Roy Cloud Fridays for Future

Have you heard about the global movement “Fridays For Future? It is spearheaded by Greta Thundberg, a 16 year old student who last year spent many weeks striking in front of the Swedish Parliament. A lot has happened since:

Greta was invited to speak at the climate conference in NY in September and again in Madrid in December. Time magazine just announced her as Time person of the year 2019.

She triggered a movement around the world to strike for climate change on Fridays. We want to encourage Roy Cloud students & parents to, instead of striking, take the next step , & get informed about a few changes in their lives that they can take in order to stop climate change.


We started this series last September as  part of climate activist week. These were incorporated into the weekly Thunderbolt newsletter. Did you not have time to follow up on them  as they came along? Here’s the list for you to read up on in your time and…. Hopefully implement them now!!


Do you notice something around school that you think could be improved to reduce the school carbon footprint? Let us know your ideas here . From Gretas story we know, that if  she can become a climate activist , you can too – or at least join her movement and become more climate-change aware.

You are capable of more than you know. Choose a goal that seems right for you… however hard the path. Aim high.” – E. O. Wilson


  1. RC FfF #1 – Walk to school (Thunderbolt 09/26/2019)
  2. RC FfF #2 – Pick up one piece of trash every time you are outside (Thunderbolt 10/03/2019)
  3. RC FfF #3 – Eat up!/only buy what you eat  (Thunderbolt 10/10/2019)
  4. RC FfF #4 – Reduce Energy Consumption (Thunderbolt 10/17/2019)
  5. RC FfF #5 – Recycle/Reduce/Freecycle  (Thunderbolt 10/24/2019)
  6. RC FfF #6 – Compost (Thunderbolt 10/31/2019)
  7. RC FfF #7 – Garbage free lunch (Thunderbolt 11/07/2019)
  8. RC FfF #8 – Know your  Carbon Footprint (Thunderbolt 11/14/2019)
  9. RC FfF #9 – A Carbon reduced Thanksgiving ( Thunderbolt 11/21/2019)
  10. RC Black FfF #10 – (Thunderbolt 11/28/2019)
  11. RC FfF #11 – Like Roy Cloud, REI Shares Simple Weekly Challenges for Climate Action (Thunderbolt 12/05/2019)
  12. RC FfF #12 – no more junk mail!! (Thunderbolt 12/12/2019)
  13. RC FfF #13 – turn your art projects into  wrapping paper (Thunderbolt 12/19/2019)
  14. RC FfF #14:  New Years’ resolution: improve our carbon footprint (Thunderbolt 1/02/2020)
  15. RC FfF #15 – learn about the impact of plastic and reduce the use(Thunderbolt 01/09/2020 )
  16. RC FfF #16 – get involved! (Thunderbolt 01/16/2020)
  17. RC FfF #17 – Plant trees / go paperless for one day (Thunderbolt 01/23/2020)
  18. RC FfF #18 – Don’t Bag it (Thunderbolt 01/30/2020)
  19. RC FfF #19 – Meatless Mondays (Thunderbolt 02/06/2020)
  20. RC FfF #20 – the Valentines thoughts are what counts! (Thunderbolt 02/13/2020)
  21. RC FfF #21 – conserve water & sing in the shower (Thunderbolt 02/20/2020)
  22. RC FfF #22 – this week in climate change (Thunderbolt 02/27/2020)

1. RC FfF #1 – Walk to school (Thunderbolt 09/26/2019)

Have you heard about the global movement “Fridays For Future? It is spearheaded by Greta Thundberg, a 16 year old student who last year spent many weeks striking in front of the Swedish Parliament. She as invited to speak at the climate conference in NY last week and gave a very emotional speech – this has triggered a movement around the world to strike for climate change on Fridays. We want to encourage Roy Cloud students to, instead of striking, take the next step , & get informed about a few changes in their lives that they can take in order to stop climate change.


Take the first step, ditch the car and WALK to school, at least some days of the week. Burning one gallon of gasoline creates about 20 pounds of CO2—which means the average vehicle creates roughly 6 to 9 tons of CO2 each year. So students – you do the math… How many miles/gallon does your family car need? How many miles do you ride to get to school every day? What is YOUR transportation carbon footprint?


2. RC FfF #2 – Pick up one piece of trash every time you are outside (Thunderbolt 10/03/2019)

By 2050, the World Economic Forum predicts there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish

Our current Kindergartners will be 35 years old by that time, and all coral reefs and almost 50% of our current sea life will be extinct.

Marine animals eat the plastic that lands in the ocean or get entangled in it.

The Great Pacific Garbage patch off our coast has reached twice the amount of Texas already today. With the rainy season starting soon, the trash lying on the streets will eventually land in the storm drains and make its way exactly to that garbage patch.

We can easily stop this trend – Can you imagine, if every human , every time they went outside just picked up one piece of trash and dispose of it properly? An interesting concept, extrapolated to the millions here:  

To make it interesting for our youngsters, they can even register their trash here and see how much they are contributing.


Students , once more you can do the math: 750 Roy Cloud students (plus parents!) go outside at least 4 times a day (drop off, pickup, 2 recesses) If we picked up just one piece of trash every time (after making sure we don’t drop anything by accident, of course) – How much trash will we save from landing in the ocean?


3. RC FfF #3 – Eat up!/only buy what you eat  (Thunderbolt 10/10/2019)

Whether it’s left on your plate or rotting in your fridge, wasted food is a big problem – 38 million tons of food gets thrown away in the US each year, according to the EPA. Not only do we have to be aware that 95% of this wasted food lands on landfill and produces methane gases,  but also the secondary carbon emissions of growing and cooking this wasted food (water, energy, transportation) has to be considered in your carbon bill. 

Producing the food we throw away generates more greenhouse gases than most entire countries do.

Often food is tossed only because of the manufacturers expiration date. Read here the truth about food dating.

Luckily, small changes to your routine can make a big difference. Here’s a great list of ideas for saving food, including ways to be thrifty and smarter about storage and preservation.


At school use the share cart to place the school lunch food items on you know you are not going to eat – other students may appreciate the things  otherwise would get wasted. 

Don’t pack more than you can eat and spend the time to eat what you packed – lunch that comes back home will most certainly land in compost or trash. 

Take the food waste challenge and record all the food wasted for a period of time.

  • Wasted food is a social problem: In 2013, 14.3 percent of U.S. households were food insecure at some time during the year. That is 48 million Americans, of which 16 million are children, living in food insecure households. Wholesome, nutritious food should feed people, not landfills.
  • Wasted food is an environmental problem: Food is the largest stream of materials in American trash. Once wasted food reaches landfills, it produces methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.
    → if you absolutely have to trash food, make sure you put it in the compost bin
  • Wasted food is an economic issue: It is estimated that at the retail and consumer levels in the United States, food loss and waste totals $161 billion dollars.


4. RC FfF #4 – Reduce Energy Consumption (Thunderbolt 10/17/2019)

With less than 5% of the world’s population, the U.S. consumes 17% of the world’s energy. Only 11% of the electric energy used is from renewable sources.  So even if your vehicle or heat source is electric, your secondary carbon bill is  not (yet) green. We can vastly reduce our carbon footprint by increasing the energy efficiency of our home.  

This weeks’ challenge: make a conscious effort in switching  off and unplugging unused appliances and turning off electronics rather than using standby – both tasks do not cost a dime to start with. 

Fully turning off just one LCD TV (rather than leaving it on standby) for 18 hours a day will save about 5kg CO2 a year!!

Ready to invest more time in this? Check out an energy saving toolkit at the RWC public library,  which contains tools like  a kill-a-watt device and an infrared laser thermometer which will help you monitor energy usage and find thermo leaks.

The most efficient ways to reduce your electricity usage can be found here

Read more on how switching to LED lightbulbs and ditching the dryer can not only help reduce your carbon footprint but also significantly lower your energy bill.


5. RC FfF #5 – Recycle/Reduce/Freecycle  (Thunderbolt 10/24/2019)

Landfill is composed of the following waste, which could easily be recycled:

  • 21% of food, the largest component of landfill (discussed in last week’s Thunderbolt edition)
  • 14% of paper and paperboard
  • 10% of rubber, leather and textiles
  • 18% of plastic

254 million tons of trash are being generated in the US each year. That’s a lot to find room for. There’s simply nowhere to put it all.  The current recycling rate is only 34%. The effects of everyone making a conscious decisions on which bin to throw their trash in would be humongous. See here how ONE can make a difference Unsure where to place an item? Check out  what goes where and what bin, 2 sorting guides Recology offers.


Better yet, reduce the use of items that later land in trash/recycle.

Bring your reusable water bottle to every event and make when purchasing items, check for recyclable materials.

Planning a Halloween/thanksgiving/kids birthday party? Consider checking out a zero waste party pack from the city of Redwood City – we have a host in walking distance from Roy Cloud!!

Find information here on what to do with your Halloween items in November.


Rather than. throwing away an item in workable condition, take the time to post them on freecycle, craigslist or nextdoor so someone else can still make use of it.


6. RC FfF #6 – Compost (Thunderbolt 10/31/2019)

Whatever you don’t eat, don’t let it end in land fill. Transforming food scraps, lawn clippings and leaves into fresh, nutrient-rich soil gives home gardens a boost . Roughly 20 to 30 percent of what we normally throw out can be composted. You wait, and while you do, you create rich soil, save the city money on shipping organic waste to landfill where  methane. 

Starting a compost in your backyard is EASY: Find out how to make an easy compost bin with your kids and also find out what type of food should go in the compost bin. More benefits about composting and where to get free compost for your garden  can be found here

Halloween pumpkins are very nutritious food for worms and decompose within days!!


7. RC FfF #7 – Garbage free lunch (Thunderbolt 11/07/2019)

It is estimated that on average a school-age child using a disposable lunch generates 67 pounds of waste per school year. A recent study in the San Francisco Bay Area found that food and beverage packaging made up 67 percent of all litter on the streets. Single use food containers are a big issue not only in school but in our every day life. Let’s at least try to leave the biggest offenders out of school (click on the links to see the effects they have on the environment)

There are endless possibilities to reduce this list to zero waste, here are some examples:


8. RC FfF #8 – Know your  Carbon Footprint (Thunderbolt 11/14/2019)

The average American’s carbon footprint per person in 2014 was 21.5 metric tons CO2 This is an increase of 7% compared to a study conducted 25 years earlier. It remains the highest in the world since industrialization.

An MIT study shows that even the most conserving Americans still produce double the amount of Carbon than the world average. 

How does your household compare to this? Use this online tool to calculate and track your carbon footprint, and even get an idea on what could positively influence it.


Using a calculator to work out your carbon footprint is only the beginning of the journey, however it is a very important step. Using this information, a road map can be drawn indicating the best way to reduce carbon emissions and help slow down global warming and the greenhouse effect. 


And involve your whole family in the process!!. Following this link are resources for even young kids to learn about their carbon footprint and run an experiment about the greenhouse gas effects .


Are you planning on flying togo on vacation or see family over the holidays? One round-trip flight between New York and San Francisco contributes an average of 2 metric tons more to your bill. Several airlines and other organizations now have an option where you can buy carbon offsets— which does make a difference, and experts say it’s a valid way to even out.


9. RC FfF #9 A Carbon reduced Thanksgiving ( Thunderbolt 11/21/2019)

Turkey, Travel, Football – all things many do not want to miss on Thanksgiving. 

As we approach the Thanksgiving break, many of us are planning travel and meals for Thanksgiving day. Any guesses what out of the above mentioned Thanksgiving favorites adds the most to your carbon bill?

It turns out that your food isn’t the biggest holiday culprit — traveling for the meal is.

Four people flying a 600-mile trip is the equivalent of 10 times the CO2 emissions of the Thanksgiving meal. Of course we would not want you to celebrate alone – so, like mentioned last week, consider purchasing carbon offsets for your travel.


As for the food – while pulutary is amongst the most carbon friendly proteins you can eat, if you can do without, it will definitely help – “The carbon footprint of a 16-pound turkey is the equivalent of one dish of turkey gravy, cranberry sauce, roasted Brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, rolled biscuits and apple pie combined.”- And Then There’s The Issue Of Food Waste

While Thanksgiving is a time of abundance and celebration, ,according to the USDA, 30 to 40% of America’s food supply is wasted, making a good argument  for selecting a few key dishes to ensure more is eaten


10. RC  Black FfF #10  (Thunderbolt 11/28/2019)

Do you have your shopping list for Black Friday and Cyber Monday ready?

Here are some tips to make your shopping more sustainable

  1. Combine shipping
    Rather than picking the fastest shipping method, wait a day longer and get everything shipped in one box.
  2. Do you really need that new smartphone, laptop or TV? The newest model often only adds little features compared to the previous model- If your current model still works, think twice if it is really worth the upgrade. Does your current model have a minor problem? Get it repaired instead of upgrading.
  3. Add ‘Small Business Saturday, ’ to the top of your 3-day shopping spree list and help local businesses and your community  
  4. For every product you get,  ask yourself a million questions about how the item got there, how it was packaged, who made it, and how they made it. The more you buy from vendors that work on reducing their carbon footprint, the more companies will better serve our desire for a better planet. 
  5. Don’t forget to bring your shopping bag to the Black Friday Sale!


11. RC FfF #11- Like Roy Cloud, REI Shares Simple Weekly Challenges for Climate Action (Thunderbolt 12/05/2019)

While REI a few years back made some of us join their efforts to NOT participate in Black Friday and enjoy the day outside (#optoutside) , their mission this year is taking it one step further with their #opt-to-act action plan – 52 weeks to little by little make changes to our every day actions for a better planet – very much the same way as Roy Cloud has started it with these posts. Watch the video here to  start.  A checklist with the weekly activities can be found there as well as a description of the activity to perform every week – little by little – and you can even get a calendar reminder every week to work on your activity.

Other than at REI’s, a study shows that climate change wasn’t a popular Thanksgiving table topic  Only 9% brought it up at the dinner table, but 40% of the participants in the study said that they talked about it with their friends during the last year – We hope that in the Roy Cloud community, with these weekly updates, it was 100% !! 

Thanksgiving week also the 2019 Emissions GAP report was published.  According to the report, current measures will not keep global temperature increases within the 1.5-to-2-degree Celsius range that scientists urge us to try and accomplish. To get back on that goal, global greenhouse gas emissions must fall at least 7.6% every year to remove 32 gigatons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The 25th United Nations Climate Change conference is progress this week and hopefully the world leaders will come up with a plan for us to reach this goal – but until then – lets continue to do our part- Follow the REI plan for this week and pick up the trash we see lying on the street – with the rain, it will all flow to the bay otherwise! – very much as we asked for in our Roy Cloud Fridays for Future #2 – pick up one piece of trash every day



12. RC FfF  #12 – no more junk mail!! (Thunderbolt 12/12/2019)

According to a statistic  by the University of Indiana , The average American uses seven trees a year in paper, wood, and other products made from trees. That’s roughly 2,000,000,000 trees per year! The amount of wood and paper we throw away each year is enough to heat 50,000,000 homes for 20 years.

The most alarming is, that out of these, 4 million tons are junk mail – unwanted, not asked and not even looked at!! Over 50 percent of this unsolicited mail ends up in landfill. While we know that most of you are choosing recycling over trash, you can also put a stop to even receiving these  – for the price of $2 and 10 minutes of your time!


 We are aligning this week’s Roy Cloud action plan once more with  REI’s #opt-to-act action plan. Stop this waste of paper using this easy guide:


A similar service is also offered by

  • If you no longer want to receive these coupon packs , you can stop them  here. The Federal Trade Commission also provides a detailed guide for stopping a whole host of unsolicited mail.
  • Get a ‘no junk mail’ sticker to put on your mailbox – this won’t help in the junk mail to be produced, but at least it will help your mailbox to remain more controllable. Get another one for your friends and neighbors too!!
  • Go to and put an end to these 1k pages landing on your front porch 
  • You can use an app like PaperKarma that lets you take pictures of unwanted mail and they will unsubscribe you
  • While not as bad to the environment, but equally annoying, get on the donotcall list here to get rid of these unwanted telemarketer calls 


13. RC FfF  #13 – turn your art projects into  wrapping paper (Thunderbolt 12/19/2019)

 Wrapping paper contains a lot of foreign materials to make it shiny, and therefore is very often not recyclable – why not use these coloring book pages from first grade to wrap your presents in? Or wouldn’t it be fun to solve one or the other math equation when unwrapping presents out of your recycled math workbook? The  Sunday funnies can in some situations make the wrap as interesting as the content. The opt-to-act-plan has numerous additional ideas on what to use as a wrapper – old towels, bedspreads, recyclable brown paper , or reusable shopping bags are just some more examples. If every American family wrapped just 3 presents in re-used materials, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields. 

Do you also want to give a present to Earth? According to this article, the best you can do is to cut down on holiday waste. A Stanford University report.states that 25 million extra tons of garbage are produced in the US  between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve. Find some tips on how to limit the amount of garbage produced over the holidays here

14. RC FfF #14:  New Years’ resolution: improve our carbon footprint (Thunderbolt 1/02/2020)

For the past couple of weeks we’ve given you several tips on what you can do to improve your carbon footprint. Have you been keeping up with these? We listed them  on the Roy Cloud webpage for you to revisit and implement.

Ready for more? Use  a  carbon footprint calculator, to find out to how much carbon emissions your current lifestyle translates to. You can also get an idea on what could positively influence it. Every little action counts! Make it a habit to implement them on a regular basis – like pledging to walk to school at least once per week. Enter your anticipated actions for the year into the carbon footprint calculator to get in instant estimate on how much your actions help over the year.


15. RC FfF #15 – learn about the impact of plastic and reduce the use(Thunderbolt 01/09/2020 )

Today, an average person living in North America or Western Europe consumes 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of plastic each year. Studies show that people around the world buy a total of one million plastic bottles per minute. That’s almost 1.5 billion plastic bottles per day! Each of us used an average of 167 plastic water bottles last year.


  • Plastic bottles require up to 700 years to dissolve.
  • 90% of the cost of bottled water is the bottle itself.
  • 80% of plastic bottles never get recycled.
  • 38 million plastic bottles go to landfill each year in America alone.

Resources to learn more about plastic usage are everywhere these days. Even your neighbors on nextdoor posted 3 very interesting blogs during the last few weeks:

Great recycling con  which refers to an article in the New York times about how recycle-able plastics really are

Plastic Problem listing the amount of plastic a single takeout meal uses and coming to the same conclusion, that we need to put a halt on using plastic and especially straws

“Beyond Plastics” Film fest – a set of 3 films that will be showing within the next week about the use of plastic.

Go and see one of the movies there, or rent them from the library – but make sure to bring your own resuesable water bottle to the film fest or any other social event you are going to in 2020.


16. RC FfF #16 – get involved! (Thunderbolt 01/16/2020)

The third Monday of the year is considered the MLK day of service. Are you still looking for what you can do and at the same time help the environment? Here are two fantastic opportunities for this coming weekend:

Ivy League: Habitat Restoration on San Francisquito Creek

San Francisquito Creek • Palo Alto, CA, Sat, Jan 18, 2:00 PM Register here

Volunteer Outdoors in East Palo Alto: Planting at Cooley Landing

Cooley Landing • East Palo Alto, CA, Sat, Jan 18, 9:30 AM  Register here


Bair Island Restoration Volunteer Workday

Bair Island Trail Parking Lot • Redwood City, CA, Sun, Jan 19, 9:00 AM Register here


Tree Planting: MLK Day of Service with Canopy

at the Baylands in East Palo Alto, Monday 1/20, 9:00 am – 12:30 pm Register here

Community Service Day – Birds, Plants, and Creeks, Oh My!

at McClellan Ranch Preserve in Cupertino, Monday 1/20, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm Register here

Already have plans this weekend?

There is plenty of projects available throughout the year. Here is an example of companies that regularly offer conservation related service projects on their webpages:


But there is also other ways to get more involved. Even learning about the impacts of climate change is something you can do.

Calling all 6th , 7th and 8th graders – ready to invest one Saturday to see what YOU can do?

The SMCOE Environmental Literacy and Sustainability Initiative (ELSI) is putting on their Winter Summit on February 1st 9:30 – 3:00pm to bring teens like you from all across San Mateo County together and learn more about the effects of climate change – find more information about it here and  sign up here . Lunch and snacks provided.

If you need a ride/want to sign up to carpool we will attempt to arrange this here


Whatever event you decide to participate, don’t forget to bring your reusable water bottle!!!


17. RC FfF #17 – Plant trees / go paperless for one day (Thunderbolt 01/23/2020)

This week the World Economic Forum  in Davos is happening again. Day 1 featured a panel discussion on the impact the Bush fires in Australia have on the environment. Did you know that already 25.5 Million acres of forrest have burned down since the Bush fire season started in September? In the worst wildfire season in California in 2018, 1.9 million acres had burned. Each acre of mature trees cleaned an average of 2.5 tons of carbon each year.

On top of natural tree loss like this, we use a tremendous amount of trees each year for paper products – according to a study from the University of Indiana, an average of seven trees are being used in paper, wood, and other products made from trees. This amounts to about 2,000,000,000 trees per year!

This includes items like 

  • your unwanted mail
  • The paper towels you use in the restroom
  • The paper bags in the grocery store
  • Your Sunday newspaper
  • Paper plates and cups you use once and then throw away


Take the challenge – try to go one day without paper products – and if you don’t succeed, plant a tree!. Do this every month of 2020 and you may go carbon neutral on your paper usage for this year :-). There are a lot of easy ways to do so:


  •  plant a tree in your backyard!! Find lots of added benefits here 
  •  Join organizations that will plant several trees around city or


 …And if you must use paper products, make sure you recycle them afterwards


18. RC FfF #18 – Don’t Bag it (Thunderbolt 01/30/2020)

California passed the plastic bag ban bill in 2014 and was the first state in the US to do so. This was a great step in the right direction –  plastic bag use went down 90 percent.

But did you know, you can also return your old shopping bags to the retailer for  proper recycling? And not only the shopping bag itself, also wrapping bags you get in the veggie isle, your amazon shipping envelopes , the wrapper around your kitchen roll and or bread.

These single use ‘soft’ plastics  are a big issue if you put them in the recycling bin –  they wrap around the sorting machines and cause outages

Target, Foods Co and Kohls here in Redwood City have bins where you can return your single use wrappers. More retail locations offering this service  can be found here


Better however, to try and avoid them altogether.

  • Bring your shopping bag at all times when you go grocery shopping
  • Pick paper over plastic
  • Buy unwrapped – you can get lightweight produce bags for fruits and veggies to reuse every time


7th and 8th graders – it is not too late yet to sign up for the Winter Summit of the SMCOE Environmental Literacy and Sustainability Initiative (ELSI) . It happens this Saturday,  February 1st 9:30am – 3:00pm. Find more information here and sign up here. Lunch and snacks provided. If you need a ride/want to sign up to carpool we will attempt to arrange this here.


And wherever else you go this week, don’t forget to bring your reusable water bottle!!!


19. RC Fff # 19 – Meatless Mondays (Thunderbolt 02/06/2020)

By the year 2050 there will be 10 billion people on this planet.

We have to come up with a diet that promises to save lives, feed 10 billion people and all without causing catastrophic damage to the planet.

A vegetarian diet eliminates a lot of overhead:  If we feed plants to animals, and then eat the animals, we use more resources and produce more greenhouse gases than if we simply eat the plants. 

We do not all have to become vegetarian tomorrow, skipping meat one day a week however sounds like it is very  much doable. Over the course of a year, a person who participates in Meatless Mondays can reduce their carbon footprint – by 1 TON! (Penn State University)

  • If the average American cut just one-quarter pound of beef a week from their diet, it would be the equivalent of taking 10 Million cars off the road for a year (NRDC)
  • The energy savings from a single 1/4 lb. burger could power your iPhone – for 6 months! (Meatless Mondays)

Find these and many more tips on how to reduce the carbon foodprint of your food here.–or-doesnt-help–the-planet/2017/07/20/03bb5ba2-6d60-11e7-b9e2-2056e768a7e5_story.html

Going local for food matters, but not as much as methane. Raising cattle and sheep creates vast amounts of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. Cutting out meat, or even reducing consumption and favoring fish and chicken, can seriously save carbon. Studies at Carnegie Mellon suggest merely swapping red meat and dairy for a more balanced diet with fish, eggs, and fowl makes a big difference.


20. RC FfF #20 – the Valentines thoughts are what counts! (Thunderbolt 02/13/2020)


Like any “holiday”, also Valentines day leads to a lot of waste. But especially when thinking of the most important people in your life, it doesn’t have to be that way.  You can do a lot without doing so much harm to your budget and the environment.

  • opt for chocolates in minimal packaging instead of heart-shaped boxes or plastic molds.
  • skip the card – even though everything seems to be digital these days, more than 180 million paper cards are still exchanged on Valentine’s Day. Even recycled cards will emit methane when they decompose in  landfill.
  • Get flowers from the farmers market – mass cut flower production is heavy on pesticide use – or why not give and plant a tree instead?
  • Cook instead of eating out.  Not only is cooking a meal at home better for your wallet, but it is also better for the environment, because it will mean less food waste and no to-go boxes.

More information about the effect of Valentines day on the environment can be found here. Did you forget to make Valentines arrangements and have no time now? You may just get away with emailing this article to your loved one!!


21. RC FfF  #21 – conserve water & sing in the shower (Thunderbolt 02/20/2020)

Without any rain or snow in a month, large portions of California are currently abnormally dry. The amount of snow in the Sierra Nevada is currently at 58%  and we are likely heading towards another drought.  

It takes lots of energy to pump, treat, and heat water, so saving water reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Did you know a leaky toilet can waste 200 gallons of water per day? Repair all toilet and faucet leaks right away. Use these easy tips to reduce your water consumption:

  •  put a brick or  a 2l water bottle in your toilet’s water tank
    You will reduce the amount of  water needed with every flush to refill the tank by the volume of whatever object you put in there 
  • install a laundry-to-landscape system, so your laundry’s greywater is used to water your (non-edible!) plants – follow the regulations here
  • Turn off faucets. Start saving by breaking a bad habit: Never let faucet water run needlessly as you wash or rinse dishes, wash your hands or face, brush your teeth or shave. Bathroom faucets run at about 2 gallons of water a minute, according to the EPA.
  • install a slow flow showerhead – you can even get them for free in Redwood City when checking out a energy saving toolkit here
  • Capture rainwater. Find ways to save and store rainwater for use in the garden. It’s easy to catch roof water from gutters and downspouts, is one easy way. Remember to cover your barrels to keep mosquitoes at bay.
  • sing in the shower  Singing in the morning will improve your mood and the one of people around you – singing a song to completion takes about 3 minutes – sufficient time to for a good shower, so turn off the shower water. After all, how much cleaner do you think you can get from dinosaur pee?


22. RC FfF#22 – this week in climate change (Thunderbolt 02/27/2020)

This week we moved a few steps closer to a more environmental friendly world.

At first San Mateo county approved the single plastic use ordinance to ban straws and other single use plastics from restaurants. The city of Half Moon Bay then turned around and passed a city-wide ban of single use plastics  a few days later – and 16 other cities in the county are considering adopting the ordinance or a version of it in the very near future.

Later in the week  the richest American announced that he will donate 10 billion dollars to the Bezos Earth Fund, an organization founded to fight climate change.

A big win also in transparency – San Mateo County is spearheading a project with Google and their newly announced Environmental Insight Explorer tool, which calculates and displays city and countywide data on emissions and solar potential. 

And to top things off, the two most inspirational teen activists of today, Greta Thunberg and Malala Yousafzai meet prior to climate strikes in the UK this Friday.


The coming week will be equally important: when you cast your vote on super Tuesday, check for the candidate with the environmental program that appeals most to you. Find out here where the candidates stand on climate change.

It is great to see how you do your part in following our weekly suggestions and think about the environment before you buy or use plastic products – and at the same time on a broader scale see changes happening through ordinances and funding.

Keep up the good work, and don’t forget to take your reusable water bottle everywhere!!