San Francisco is a national leader in environmental policy, and District 5 is a leader within San Francisco. I want to make sure both of those remain true.
I am always inspired by the artists at the African American Art & Culture Complex who use recycled items, what some might call “garbage”, to create their art. It is a telling reminder that there is value in the things we throw away. I fully support the city’s goal of diverting 100% of our waste from landfills by 2020. I want to work with the Department of the Environment and Recology to help make this a reality.
We are currently at 77% diversion (the highest in the country) and according to the Dept. of the Environment, about one third of the material that is not diverted is recyclable and another third is compostable. That means we can reach 90% diversion with better public education/encouragement and better sorting. The remaining 10% may require Board action as we will need to reduce the influx of materials that are not recyclable or reusable. The 2007 ban on using polystyrene foam for food service is a good example of this type of legislation. We can also do more to encourage biodegradable plastics.
The SFMTA set the goal of making its bus and vehicle fleet 100% emission-free by 2020. I fully support that and I believe we can do something similar with our private vehicles. I think the city should aim for 100% of new vehicles to be alternative fuel and/or emission-free by 2020. From electric to biodiesel to CNG, the technologies are out there and more are coming on the market every year. We have shown our receptivity as consumers. I am confident we can be gasoline-free in eight years and emission-free a decade after that.
I also strongly support bicycles and the infrastructure projects needed to make their use more prevalent. Bikes are perhaps the only truly emission-free vehicles.
San Francisco should have a 100% renewable energy infrastructure, and I am committed to helping us get there. The Dept. of the Environment is aiming to have 10,000 solar roof installations in the next five years, and is also encouraging solar water heating. I think both are excellent ideas. Solar roof shingle technology is coming down in price and up in quality. In spite of the fog, we could be generating a large portion of our energy needs via the sun. I am also encouraged by similar developments in small wind turbines and would like to see more wind generation in the city.
The city can and should encourage things that reduce our citizens’ carbon footprints, including: telecommuting, neighborhood density, local foods & farmer’s markets, drinking tap water, etc.
The city is aiming for complete carbon neutrality by 2030. This very ambitious goal will require willingness to experiment and an ardent, consistent support from the Board of Supervisors. I intend to provide that.