From Spring 2023 Issue of Truckee.com: An Insider’s Guide
There’s a collective consciousness that drives all who choose to call Truckee home. Together, we enjoy the Sierra’s spectacular scenery, commune and rejuvenate in the natural landscape, experience life a little slower and more mindfully, and embark on epic adventures. We are stewards of the land we benefit from, and the responsibility to ensure we leave it better than we found it for future generations lies in all of us, including the Town of Truckee, local businesses, and community members.
Climate change and litter are two high-priority issues that, if not addressed, will lead to the degradation of the place we all hold so dear to our hearts. From local climate change advocates affecting State policy to Truckee’s Climate Action Plan to Sierra Green Businesses operating with the environment in mind, our community is taking strides in bringing sustainability into everyday practice.
Many of us already do what we can for a better future, from recycling to bringing reusable bags to the grocery store. This Earth Month, celebrate your wins, talk to others about which sustainability methods you or your business has adopted, and become inspired to take one more step forward; our future depends on it.
Here are three ways Truckee locals are preparing for a more sustainable future.
LOCALS IMPACTING NATIONAL CLIMATE POLICY
Citizens’ Climate Lobby/Citizens Climate Education, North Tahoe Chapter
Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, grassroots advocacy climate change organization focused on national policies to address climate change. They train and support volunteers who build relationships with elected officials, the media and local communities. There is a chapter right here in Truckee, and everyone who cares about climate change policy is welcome to participate.
CCL believes that ordinary citizens can learn to be empowered climate advocates and build the political will in our communities for effective climate policies at the national level. Founded in 2017 by Deirdre Henderson and a group of local citizens, the North Tahoe Chapter works in California Congressional District 3, and builds respectful, substantive relationships with our members of Congress (representative and senators) and their staffs. “We are seeing the growing effects of global warming on our local Tahoe climate all the time,” said Group Leader Deirdre Henderson (second from left, above). “Drought, forest fires, wildfire smoke, bark beetles, more volatile storms, and shrinking snowpack, degrade our ecology, economy and health.”
To address this, North Tahoe Citizens’ Climate Lobby focuses their efforts on three policy areas. First and foremost, a carbon fee and dividend, which charges a steadily rising fee on fossil fuels as they enter the economy and returns 100% of the net fees to households as a monthly carbon cashback dividend. In addition, a carbon border adjustment on significant imports from countries that do not have a similar carbon fee would discourage U.S. businesses from relocating to countries where they can emit more CO2.
“This is the most effective way to create the market incentives to decarbonize our economy and transition to clean energy,” said Henderson, but it won’t complete the job, so we are also supporting complementary policies to get us to our necessary emission reduction goals: building electrification and efficiency measures and healthy forest management.
If you’ve been wondering where you can put your talents to work in the fight to address climate change, you’re invited to get involved! Learn more at citizensclimatelobby.org or email email@example.com.
OUR LOCAL GOVERNMENT PLANS FOR CLIMATE CHANGE
Truckee’s Climate Action Plan
The Town of Truckee has plans to address climate change as well. It is dedicated to laying the foundation to reduce community-wide emissions to 80 percent below baseline emissions (2008) by 2040 and contributing to the state’s 2030 target of reducing statewide emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels.
The Truckee 2040 General Plan Update includes two climate plans that work together to achieve these goals. The Climate Action Plan addresses how we reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while the Climate Adaptation Plan addresses how we adapt to a climate that is already changing.
Within the Climate Adaptation Plan, you’ll find alarming statistics that predict our future by the middle of this century: a 68-71% reduction in April snowpack, up to 61% more acres burned by wildfire, and more. Strategies to adapt to the impact of climate change support healthy residents, natural capital, sustainable businesses, resilient infrastructure, community readiness, and the Town of Truckee.
Understanding climate change trends and impacts is imperative for creating an effective plan. Climate Ready Truckee is based on the best available science to ensure that robust strategies are directly linked to likely future conditions.
If you have a Truckee business and care about sustainability, now is the time to become Sierra Green Business Certified. The Sierra Business Council (SBC) and California Green Business Network (CAGBN) – Sierra Chapter is a network of forward-thinking local businesses on a mission to be more environmentally responsible. Through the SBC, local companies can work through a sustainability audit, with points awarded for certain environmentally-friendly practices like reducing water use, conserving energy, commuting sustainably, preventing pollution, using non-toxic cleaners, avoiding waste, using recycled materials, and hiring local vendors.
Once a business is officially certified as a Sierra Green Business, it is qualified to receive a $500 rebate for energy/water savings equipment or “green” supplies purchased during the certification process. Your Truckee and North Lake Tahoe business is eligible to certify as a Green Business.
You’ll make our community healthier, more sustainable, and more livable
You’ll conserve resources and save money
You could receive $500-$1,000 in efficiency rebates
Gain access to a network of like-minded and ambitious local businesses
Receive CAGBN statewide marketing and brand recognition
The California Green Business Network is a community of small to medium-sized businesses throughout the state that comply with environmental regulations concerning waste, energy, water, pollution prevention, and air quality. These businesses have undergone an extensive auditing process, implemented cost and resource-saving measures, and continue using best practices beyond certification.
“I am in recruitment for the 2023 certification cycle and would love to engage with more local businesses. In 2022, we certified seven new Green Businesses and are excited to see who joins us in 2023!”
Truckee’s new single-use foodware reduction ordinance
Did you know that single-use food packaging accounts for 68% of litter found in Truckee? Items like plastic utensils, straws, coffee cups, to-go boxes, and more often end up in landfills, streams, lakes, trails, and oceans. Plastic is the worst for the environment, since it doesn’t biodegrade. Students and community members know it’s an issue—they’ve been discussing it, arguing about it, and offering solutions in classrooms, on social media, in our local newspapers, and more.
The Town of Truckee has been listening. After reviewing community feedback, the Truckee Town Council approved a single-use foodware reduction ordinance on November 8, 2022. The new ordinance is mainly directed at businesses, requiring that they provide customers with alternatives to single-use foodware and charging guests for disposable food containers.
The ordinance includes the following:
A ban on the sale and distribution of Styrofoam (expanded polystyrene) – effective April 1, 2023
Food vendors must provide dine-in customers with reusable foodware – effective January 1, 2024
Businesses must charge a $0.25 customer fee on disposable cups and takeout food containers – effective January 1, 2024
Accessory foodware items (utensils, napkins, sauce packets, etc.) should only be provided upon a customer’s request – effective January 1, 2024
While compostable products, like those made from corn, sugarcane, or other plant-based materials, might sound like a reasonable alternative, they are not accepted at most composting facilities, including Truckee’s, and instead end up in the landfill. (But at least they break down more quickly than other options.)
Hopefully, these ordinances will shift our perspective and create a new culture that makes reusable foodware the norm. One option is Truckee’s Green Box To-Go Containers. If you don’t have one, you can pick one up at Tahoe Food Hub for $5. Or the next time you order to-go food at a participating restaurant, make sure and request the $5 green box. When you order food to go, bring your clean, green container to the counter and swap it out.
Participating restaurants include Maki Ali, Red Truck, Stella, RMU, Siam Cuisine, Sierra Bakehouse, Old Town Tap, Best Pies, and Wild Cherries (coming soon). Are you planning on eating out? Remember to bring your food container to take home leftovers.
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