John Mott-Smith

Per Capita Davis: Water conservation saves money

My last column made the point that energy and water are inextricably linked, and efforts to reduce water consumption also reduce energy usage and greenhouse gas production. This is a follow-up to that column. The city-sponsored community forum I talked about in the last column featured a lot of useful information. If another is scheduled, […]

November 18, 2011 | Posted in Agriculture + Environment | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: Conserve water, save energy

With all the talk and controversy over proposed water rate increases, I expected more of a turnout for the Oct. 21 city of Davis water conservation workshop on “How to Reduce Your Water Use Without Impacting Lifestyle.” But there were twice as many empty chairs as there were people attending. I went for two reasons. First, […]

November 03, 2011 | Posted in Agriculture + Environment | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: Bits and pieces

GOING TO GROUND: The Bay Area has proximity to the ocean and fog as its natural air-conditioning system. As crazy as it may sound at first blush, those of us who live in the Central Valley also have access to natural cooling (and heating) systems, and not just the delta breeze that cools us off […]

October 20, 2011 | Posted in Agriculture + Environment | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: Smart cars take us for a ride

The Volkswagen initially was envisioned in the late 1930s as a “people’s car” that could carry two adults and three children at highway speeds and be affordable to the average German citizen. It was designed to be simple, fuel-efficient and easy to use and repair. It was not, however, the first effort in this regard: […]

October 06, 2011 | Posted in Agriculture + Environment | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: Planet goes green in the coming days

There are several dates on the calendar in the next couple of months with events themed around sustainability. It must be a good sign that it sometimes seems like we’re closing in on using almost all of the 365 days available for some sort of focus on the environment. * Moving Planet: Coming up on […]

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Per Capita: Simplicity and complexity

Americans have always been builders of big things: it seems to be in our DNA. The Empire State Building, the Erie Canal, the Panama Canal, the Interstate Highway System and the Transcontinental Railroad, to name a few. California has been no slouch when it comes to big things: the Central Valley Water Project, for example, […]

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Per Capita Davis: Cloudy with an extreme chance of change

Pretty nice weather we’re having. A long, cool spring and a very mild summer with, so far and fingers crossed, very few days over 100 degrees. So what is all the talk about “extreme weather?” I sat down to write about this, and, despite an inch-thick file of news articles, journal reports and scientific findings […]

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Per capita Davis: Reader feedback

At the bottom of this column is a small note asking readers to send comments to my email address. I receive a small but steady stream of these, most letting me know about interesting programs or asking questions. Some comments correct an error I made or offer more information. Most are very helpful. In a […]

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Per Capita Davis: the jargon of energy

A long time ago, a friend was having trouble in a conversation with an acquaintance who repeatedly indicated he didn’t understand what this friend was trying to say. So the friend took the sentence apart, defining one word at a time, and soon there was understanding between them. I sometimes feel like that acquaintance; there […]

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Per capita Davis: Here’s an audit you want to have

What do you think of when you hear the word “audit?”Many people probably think of the IRS, or some other close and critical inspection that has at least the possibility of trouble. Whether or not the answer is “the IRS,” almost all replies signal some kind of trouble or at least the bother of having […]

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Per Capita Davis: Greening East Davis

Sometimes you don’t see what‘s right in front of your nose. I have written more than 100 of these columns and almost all of them have, in one way or another, been about what individuals can do to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Recently, I‘ve been talking with my neighbors and paying attention to what’s happening […]

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Per Capita Davis: very cool and getting cooler

Something cool is happening in Davis and, by coincidence, it’s called the “Cool Davis Initiative.” I’ve written about it before, but this is something very much worth updating as it grows and matures and offers an increasing array of opportunities for Davisites to be involved. Backing up a step, this column is called “Per Capita […]

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Farmers, nurseries and sustainable cities

One of the things I like best about writing this column is that it sends me in search of new and interesting projects and efforts related to energy efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction. This column is about three such interesting efforts I had the opportunity to observe in the last couple weeks. DIXON RIDGE FARMS: […]

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Per Capita Davis: What to do next?

So here we are: The price of gas is going up and it doesn’t look like it will ever come down. Most homeowners and business owners in Davis have taken some steps to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. So what comes next? How can we continue to contribute? The answers can be elusive; sometimes […]

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