Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Leading by example: Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates

This "Leading by example" report is the first in what we hope will be a long series on how mayors and other of our elected representatives around the world are showing the way by their actions. Mayor Tom Bates of Berkeley California decided to sell his last car earlier this year and since has been getting around exclusively by a combine new mobility package based on walking, public transport and carsharing. He likes it.

For the full story of a mayor who has through his new mobility diet lost 20 pounds since the beginning of this year, click here to Maria L. La Ganga's article in today's Los Angeles Times - http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-ecomayor8-2009aug08,0,7556202.story?page=1

Here are some excerpts to tempt you to do just that:

" . . . if he doesn't hurry, he'll miss his BART train and be late to the first meeting in a long and busy day as mayor of this Left Coast city.

Four months ago, the silver-haired septuagenarian sold his beloved Volvo S80 T6 sedan -- his 26th car -- and set off on a new adventure: shrinking his already tiny carbon footprint.

Bates has been eco-minded as long as his two grown sons can remember, separating and recycling garbage before cities began curbside collection. These days, he feels an urgency to bring others along with him, although his style is less taskmaster than Tom Sawyer ("Say, Tom, let me whitewash a little"). "When you reach my age, you think about how you want to spend your time," he says. "You only have so much left on the planet. I want to do what I can for climate change and global warming."

Before the year is out, he wants to issue a friendly challenge to his fellow eco-minded mayors: Do a personal green inventory and go public with the results. His hope is to convince indifferent consumers that they really can help cut greenhouse gas emissions.

"Do one person's actions make a difference? Probably not," he says. "But if, out of the 6 billion people on the planet, 1 billion take action, that makes a difference. 'Try to be the change you seek.' Didn't Gandhi say something like that?"


Now, write us and tell us about your mayor or elected representative who is walking the walk. The world needs to know. We need some real real-world heroes.

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