Local News

Davis businesses, local leader recognized for local clean air efforts

By From page A4 | May 08, 2014


What: Breathe California Sacramento-Emigrant Trails awards luncheon

When: 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 28

Where: Sacramento State University Union Ballroom

Tickets: $40 each or $400 for a table; visit www.SacBreathe.org or call 916-444-5900, ext. 217

Cool Davis, Mutual Housing California and the Woodland Bike Campaign’s founder have won recognition for their work in reducing air pollution in local communities.

Breathe California Sacramento-Emigrant Trails will present Mutual Housing with the Sustainability Award and both Cool Davis and and Maria Contreras Tebbutt with the Leadership Award on May 28 at its 38th annual awards luncheon. Two other Sacramento-area companies will receive the Sustainability Award.

Tebbutt, a Davis resident, founded the Woodland Bike Campaign in 2012, aiming to help the community she has loved since childhood.

“We want to greatly reduce traffic and get more people rolling and walking,” she said. “The community is ready for it.”

The campaign provides and fixes bikes for Woodland residents, helps solve storage constraints and shows residents that owning a bike can greatly reduce monthly travel costs.

“Tebbutt has demonstrated a passion and commitment to increasing the number of children and adults, from all income levels, who can bike safely in Woodland and in Davis,” said Diana Proctor, chairwoman of Breathe California’s Blue Ribbon Panel, which chose the winners.

In the past two years, the Woodland Bike Campaign has put more than 500 bikes on, or back on, the road. Tebbutt has focused specifically on reaching Hispanic women.

“The foot that pushes the pedal rules the world,” she said, emphasizing that mothers can make a huge difference by teaching their kids how to transport themselves under their own power and with minimal environmental impact.

“It’s really an equal opportunity endeavor,” she said. “You don’t need to be young, athletic or rich to ride a bike.”

While she was born and raised in Davis, Tebbutt has been riding her bike to Woodland since she was 12.

“As a kid, you have to get away from your parents somehow,” she said.

She would stop at Frisky’s, a pharmacy chain, to buy ice cream for a nickel a scoop.

“I would always get rocky road and rainbow sherbet together. Mmmm.”

Tebbutt thinks she connected with the community because it felt more diverse than Davis, with a larger Hispanic population she could feel at home with. Her family emigrated from Mexico a year before she was born, and attended church in Woodland.

While she expressed excitement about winning the award, she said she hopes the recognition might inspire other communities to do the same.

“We don’t need any prizes. What we want is that (the campaign) extends tendrils and reseeds itself in new places,” Tebbutt said.

Cool Davis has been helping implement the city’s Climate Action Plan since 2010. Volunteer-run, the organization hosts workshops for reducing household carbon footprints, encourages businesses to compost their waste, and installs hydration stations around town.

“I think what’s important to remember is that everyone is already doing something,” said Chris Granger, the executive director.

Cool Davis hosts a fall festival each year to help introduce residents and businesses to energy- and carbon-saving techniques.

“We try to have people see it and touch it,” Granger said, adding that research the group has done shows home improvements tend to cluster in neighborhoods. If one homeowner is doing it, or one friend, or one business, others are more likely to follow suit.

The Climate Action Plan aims to reduce Davis’ greenhouse gas emissions to 15 percent below 1990 levels by 2015 and involve 18,000 households in the effort. Granger said Cool Davis hopes to enlist at least 5,000 participants by the end of this year.

Mutual Housing California provides sustainable housing options for 3,000 people in lower-income families, bringing communities together through conservation and self-management. The organization started a Green Leaders program in 2011, which trains residents in energy use, integrated pest management and recycling, to name a few.

“Mutual Housing California provides a great example of how sustainable living can work for anyone, at any level of our society,” said Kori Titus, CEO of Breathe California of Sacramento-Emigrant Trails, in a news release.

Mutual Housing operates at five locations in Davis: Tremont Green, Owendale, New Harmony, Moore Village and Twin Pines. Currently, it is building a net-zero-energy complex in Woodland, set to open at the end of this year.

Rachel Iskow, CEO, said the award is a particular boon to the project managers and community leaders who spend extra hours greening the housing complexes.

“It builds morale, that people are recognizing the work they’re putting into this to make communities sustainable,” she said. “It really inspires people to keep at it and stay on the cutting edge.”

The Breathe California Sacramento-Emigrant Trails Awards Luncheon will take place on May 28 at the Sacramento State University Union Ballroom from 11:30 to 1:30 p.m. Tickets are $40 for individuals and $400 for a table. Visit www.SacBreathe.org or call 916-444-5900, ext. 217

— Reach Elizabeth Case at [email protected] or 530-747-8052.

Elizabeth Case

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