Tonight I’ll be attending a meeting of the Berkeley City Council, which is scheduled to discuss the latest revision of Berkeley’s Climate Action Plan (CAP). Apparently there will be a lot of opposition voiced against the plan, as it will require Berkeley homeowners to bring their houses into conformity with rules designed to maximize heat efficiency (and thus minimize carbon emissions). Also, some folks opposed the somewhat greater level of “density” proposed by the plan. (The argument for greater density — besides that the word “density” reminds many of us of that great line in Back to the Future when Crispin Glover’s character tremulously says to his future wife, “I am your density!” (rather than “destiny,” as he was supposed to say) — is that you need a decent number of people to live around one particular area, or “corridor,” for public transportation to be most useful.)
My own opinion is that we need to change our habits big-time to save our planet, and that the CAP is a thoughtful and brave response to that challenge. As a member of the Berkeley Energy Commission, I’ve seen how passionate the city staff has been about seeking (and incorporating) citizens’ input. And after all, the citizens have tacitly demanded such action to be taken, by voting overwhelmingly (81 percent — a higher number even than Bush’s peak disapproval numbers) in support of 2006’s Measure G, which called for the city to reduce the city’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050. As I have learned, that goal will be very, very difficult to meet — and yet, we must get there, because we must do everything we can to reverse global warming.
You could argue that it doesn’t really matter what one granola-munching, sandal-wearing community does — that the whole thing is merely a symbolic exercise. In fact, you could argue that tonight at the Berkeley City Council meeting, at 2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way — probably no earlier than 8:30, as there are other topics likely to take up the Council’s attention till then. Or could you say that you support this Climate Action Plan, and dearly wish it to be implemented — which, as you know, happens to be my position. But isn’t it great that we get to participate in the fight to save our planet, rather than just make snide jokes about politicians and hot air and carbon emissions?