Keeping e-Commerce Environmentally Friendly—What Consumers Can Do

By Miguel Jaller, Anmol Pahwa, Seth Karten | December 1, 2020 | Transportation and Climate Blog by UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies

With more states and individuals observing stricter limits on in-person shopping, and with holidays coming, what can we do to limit the environmental and societal impact of online shopping? And even beyond this moment, how do we minimize the harm—or maximize the benefit—of online shopping to society and life on our planet?

The short answer: Buy what we need, and do what we can to allow packages to be consolidated for the most efficient delivery routes, so the fewest miles possible are traveled for each package brought to the door.

So what does this mean for us as consumers? Factors that increase the number of items per vehicle mile of travel in a delivery or shopping trip will reduce the pollution and traffic impacts of our purchases. We should consider the following actions, when possible, to reduce the environmental impact of our online purchases:

1. Allow longer time windows for delivery whenever possible, even if we o not save out-of-pocket expenses for it.
2. Group orders together as much as possible by pooling orders into a single delivery and do not impose additional constraints on the delivery, such as specific days and times.
3. Minimize returns and consider buying clothing, shoes, and electronics in-person, as these have high rates of return from online shopping (clothing/shoes 56%, electronics 42%).
4. Avoid driving to the store to decide on—but not purchase—an item, and then ordering it online to save money, thereby increasing the miles traveled for one purchase.
5. For recurring purchases, take advantage of subscriptions, which can save money and allow the vendor to optimize planning and delivery.
6. Select, when possible, an alternative delivery location (e.g., pickup facility, lockers) at a place that you are already going to travel to, preferably by walking or biking.

Click here to read the full article.

Climate Action Plan Presentations

Climate Action Plans: What’s the Latest? How Can We Help?

At the ECOS board meeting on Tuesday, Nov 24 at 6pm, we heard the latest about the Climate Action Plans of Sacramento City, West Sacramento City, and the County of Sacramento.

Click here to download a recording of this meeting.


Cities of Sacramento and West Sacramento

How has Sacramento been following up on these recommendations?

Anne Stausboll, Chair of the Mayors’ Commission on Climate Change, presented. The Commission presented its recommendations to Sacramento and West Sacramento this summer.

Resources from Anne

Mayors’ Commission on Climate Change Report, and the supporting Technical report, are both here: https://www.lgc.org/climatecommission/

Sacramento City Council voted on ten preliminary “first year” actions: https://engagesac.org/blog-civic-engagement/2020/8/26/sacramento-city-council-embraces-slow-streets-electrified-buildings-to-fight-climate-change

Sacramento City staff update on Nov 10 to Council on the “first year” actions: https://sacramento.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=22&clip_id=4764&meta_id=605234

Sacramento City staff update on the city CAP to the Planning Commission on Nov 12: https://sacramento.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=34&clip_id=4765&meta_id=605782


County of Sacramento

Todd Smith, Principal Planner, Sacramento County, discussed the status of the County’s Community-wide Climate Action Plan. This month, the County’s Stakeholder Committee heard a presentation on an early draft.

Presentations were followed by a Questions and Answer session.


Join us at our next board meeting!

Board Meetings of the Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS) happen at 6:00 pm on the 4th Tuesday of odd-numbered months.
Zoom Meeting ID: 818 6537 7865
Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81865377865
Call-in: 1-669-900-6833 | Same Zoom info every board meeting

Click here for the agenda, and links to the supplemental materials for this meeting.

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

ECOS Comments on Sac County Climate Action Plan

On September 25, 2020, the Environmental Council of Sacramento submitted comments to Sacramento County in response to their request for community input for forming our County’s long-awaited Climate Action Plan.

The County has broad authority and influence over GHG-emitting activities, including land use patterns and building practices, and has crucial public health responsibilities. I understand that the CAP is a legally-framed document, responding to State GHG-reduction targets. The County needs to more than the legally-required minimum.

– Ralph Propper, ECOS President

We expect to see a draft Sacramento County Climate Action Plan in 2-3 months that the public can review.

Click here for the full letter.

Demand Strong Climate Action

September 18, 2020

Sacramento County has begun work on its long-promised Climate Action Plan (CAP). Please tell them you want a robust CAP. The comment period closes September 25. Email your comments to: climateactionplan[at]saccounty[dot]net.

Climate change will worsen unless we step in and demand that our leaders make the right choices. County staff face pressure to finish the CAP quickly. This is inappropriate given the gravity of the situation. We need to show them how deeply we care about climate change.

  • Consider telling your personal story and describe why you care. Mention how climate change affects you, such as ongoing drought, persistent wildfires and smoke pollution, worsening heat waves, flood threats.
  • Discuss your concerns for future generations, such as younger relatives or friends.
  • Include solutions to climate change that you care about, such as bicycle lanes, public transportation, electric cars, infill development, tree planting and other measures.

With your help, we can get a robust climate action plan.

To copy your County Supervisor, you can use the following email addresses:
SupervisorSerna[at]saccounty[dot]net, nottolid[at]saccounty[dot]net, susanpeters[at]saccounty[dot]net, kennedyp[at]saccounty[dot]net, supervisorfrost[at]saccounty[dot]net

From the County’s website: “Please submit written suggestions on topics to be covered in the CAP, new ideas in greenhouse gas mitigation, or other thoughts to climateactionplan[at]saccounty[dot]net by September 25, 2020. Presentations from past public workshops and Board of Supervisors meetings that give examples of some of the concepts under consideration are available at this link.”


Why Do We Need a Strong Climate Action Plan?

1. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions must be reduced quickly.

The world’s scientists (UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) say we have little more than a decade to stop run-away climate change. This requires unprecedented changes to all aspects of how our society currently operates. Without major GHG reductions, starting now, we’ll trigger irreversible tipping points and catastrophes beyond our ability to solve.

The earlier we take action, the less costly and easier it will be to reduce our emissions and transition to a renewable, sustainable society. Prevention is key. Mitigation delayed is forever denied.

2. Our County should accelerate existing emission reduction targets for a clear trajectory to achieve California’s carbon neutrality 2045 goal.

• Our County must do the most possible. We need to exceed mandated 2030 GHG reductions with actions that are effective, enforceable, timely, and funded.

• Our County can achieve the State’s 2030 target with little effort, due to the State’s regulation of industry and utilities. But our biggest emission sources are traffic and building energy, which are subject to County control. Sacramento County must make meaningful changes.

• To achieve the State 2045 zero-carbon goal, the CAP must show progress beyond 2030.

3. Climate Change requires a long-term planning effort now.

• The CAP needs to consider all feasible alternatives.

• Our County must switch to climate-friendly land uses.

• Traffic is our County’s biggest source of GHG emissions, but our County is on course to approve triple the development needed for projected growth. This means not more GHG emissions, long commutes, more traffic, and more cost for County services. Growth must emphasize infill rather than the current suburban sprawl.

4. The CAP must incorporate social justice.

• The CAP is an opportunity to uplift marginalized and under-invested communities. We can improve both quality of life and our environment by investing in climate change solutions.

• Covid-19 and climate change do not create social inequities, but they expose its effects. Our society can only enjoy peace when climate and social injustice are addressed.

5. The CAP needs to be a clear process for meaningful accountability and timely action.

Regular public reporting of implementation and GHG Inventory and CAP updates are essential. Reports on CAP implementation status should be presented annually. GHG inventories and the CAP should be updated at least every four years.

6. The CAP must be developed with opportunities for public education and participation.

The CAP is our County’s most consequential effort for our future health and prosperity.

Averting climate catastrophe will require changes to the unsustainable practices in transportation, land use, energy conservation, and building design. These difficult changes demand full public knowledge and involvement


Sample Letter to Sacramento County

Todd Smith, Senior Planner
Sacramento County Planning and Environmental Review

Dear Mr. Smith,

I’m glad the County is working on its long-delayed CAP. Since the County promised a CAP in 2011, the world has experienced the hottest nine years on record, with 2019 the second-hottest year ever and 2020 on course to be hotter.

Globally, the results have been unprecedented damage, death, and loss of livelihoods from extreme heat, storms, fires, floods, and drought. In California, we are in what the Governor calls a climate emergency, with record-breaking heat and rolling blackouts, the earth’s record high temperature (Death Valley, 130°F), and wildfires destroying millions of acres. The air in Sacramento has been “unhealthy” for weeks.

These escalating disasters are due to a global temperature rise since 1850 of 2°F. We are on course for heating of two or three times that much within our children’s lifetimes, and we must dramatically reduce GHG emissions to avoid the catastrophic impacts of climate change. The time for delay is past.

With this in mind, I want our county to move forward, and give us the aggressive climate plan that matches the threat we face.

The County has broad authority and influence over greenhouse gas-emitting activities, including land use patterns and building practices, and has crucial public health responsibilities. I understand that the CAP is a legally-framed document, responding to State GHG-reduction targets. I want the County to do more than the legally-required minimum. I want it to exceed the minimums and do as much as it possibly can.

Thank you very much for your diligent efforts to protect the citizens of Sacramento County and the world. I await the draft CAP with interest.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]


Thank You

Thank you for your help to get a robust Climate Action Plan in Sacramento County.

Sincerely, Ralph Propper, ECOS President

As Trump Again Rejects Science, Biden Calls Him a ‘Climate Arsonist’

By Peter Baker, Lisa Friedman and Thomas Kaplan | September 14, 2020 | The New York Times

The Environmental Council of Sacramento was mentioned in the New York Times! Our Board President Ralph Propper was quoted regarding Trump’s denial of climate change as California burns.

Mr. Trump flew to California after weeks of public silence about the flames that have forced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes, wiped out communities and forests, burned millions of acres, shrouded the region in smoke and left at least 27 people dead. But even when confronted by California’s governor and other state officials, the president insisted on attributing the crisis solely to poor forest management, not climate change.

“Raking the leaves and forest floors is really inane. That doesn’t make sense at all,” said Ralph Propper, the president of the Environmental Council of Sacramento. “We’re seeing what was predicted, which is more extremes of weather.”

Click here to view the full article.


Photo from publicdomainfiles.com.

Give Your Input on the Sac County Climate Action Plan

Posted: August 31, 2020 by Sacramento County

Current Deadline: September 25, 2020

Sacramento County Communitywide Climate Action Plan Update
Work is resuming on the Communitywide Climate Action Plan (CAP) in earnest! County staff has developed an ambitious schedule to bring the CAP to the Board of Supervisors by July 2021. Following the extensive public outreach conducted from 2016-2018, a focused stakeholder group has been formed to work with the County and our consultant Ascent Environmental on drafting GHG reduction and carbon sequestration measures based on all the feedback received.

Staff’s goal is the successful and timely adoption of an implementable CAP that provides meaningful and equitable climate action, enhances resiliency and provides a transparent and public pathway for future plan performance and adaptive management.

Be Involved

Although County staff previously conducted extensive outreach from 2016-2018, we want to provide another opportunity for additional public input since two years have passed and new ideas may be out there. Please submit written suggestions on topics to be covered in the CAP, new ideas in greenhouse gas mitigation, or other thoughts to climateactionplan[at]saccounty[dot]net by September 25, 2020. Presentations from past public workshops and Board of Supervisors meetings that give examples of some of the concepts under consideration are available at https://planning.saccounty.net/PlansandProjectsIn-Progress/Pages/CAP.aspx.

What’s Next?

The County and Ascent will prepare revised GHG reduction measures and develop a draft CAP document over the next two to three months.

When the draft CAP document is complete, it will be published for a 30-day public review period during which the County plans to host a virtual public meeting. Information regarding the date and time will be provided as that time draws closer.

Stay Informed

We encourage interested parties to subscribe to the CAP topic to stay informed and receive future status updates.