Thursday, March 26, 2015

Cheers and Jeers: Eco-Heroes make the world a better place

From page A10 | April 25, 2014 |

We offer our cheers and jeers for local newsmakers as we look back over the previous week:

CHEERS to 2014’s champions of the environment. Every year, Cool Davis honors Davis residents who model sustainability in their lives and work as Eco-Heroes; the Climate Solutions Awards go to businesses and groups doing the same. Cool Davis’ Earth Day celebration, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday at the Veterans’ Memorial Theater, offers an opportunity to recognize those who make Davis and the world a cooler place to live.

This year’s winners in energy efficiency are Kristin Heinemeier, who is being honored for her work on the science of energy efficiency, and Hallmark Properties for retrofitting its buildings with energy-efficient, up-to-date technology. In transportation, the winners are Andy Frank, for producing cars that use fewer and cleaner energy resources; Carla Peterman for her efforts to build the statewide infrastructure needed to support cars of the future; and the Davis Bicycles! School Committee for promoting healthy lifestyles and a healthy planet. And the awards for consumption go to Ivy Zhou and Marissa Wong for their Green Team leadership at Holmes Junior High School, and to Davis United Methodist Church for its efforts to become a “green congregation” and feed the hungry of Davis.

Sunday’s event will feature a theatrical performance, “Call of the Wolf.” Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children.

CHEERS to the Davis High School track team, which is continuing its tradition of excellence, especially in girls distance running, at a pair of events. At last week’s Mt. SAC relays, the Blue Devil 4×1,600 squad of Sofia Castiglioni, Sophie Meads, Jeanne-Marie McPherson and Fiona O’Keeffe recorded the fastest time in the nation this year — 20 minutes and 3.24 seconds — and the third-fastest ever. O’Keeffe ran a scorching 4:46 anchor leg to key the come-from-behind win. Meanwhile, closer to home, the boys 4×100 and girls distance medley teams highlighted an impressive showing at the Woody Wilson Invitational.

JEERS to young adults who are climbing between temporarily stopped train cars (over couplings) in downtown Davis, some carrying bikes, to get across the tracks. What makes this situation even more dangerous is the fact that once the train begins moving again, there is no whistle, no warning, it simply begins moving. A pedestrian trying to climb over the couplings easily could get caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.

CHEERS to the new UC Davis biodigester. Combining food waste, agriculture byproducts and food processing scraps, the machine can turn about 18,250 tons of organic trash into electricity and fertilizer each year. Built on top of a retired UCD landfill, the digester will generate about 5.6 million kilowatt-hours of electricity, or about 4 percent of the campus’ needs.

The digester was designed by UCD engineering professor Ruihong Zhang and built by CleanWorld, a Sacramento-based green technology company whose CEO, Michele Wong, is a UCD graduate.

We’re faced with a real crisis on this planet: how to reduce reliance on fossil fuels that contribute to global warming. Innovations like this seem the best way to confront the problem.



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