This past Saturday, May 4, 2019, 350 Bay Area hosted our first Eco Home & Garden Tour. Owners of five East Bay homes in Berkeley, Kensington and Albany graciously opened their doors to over 100 attendees to showcase their sustainable, carbon reducing home improvements, including energy efficiency strategies, water recapture systems, solar panels, sustainable building design and materials, and waste reduction and recycling strategies. A luncheon for our guests featured Laura Neish, 350 Bay Area Executive Director and Pierre Delforge, senior scientist at Natural Resources Defense Council. Event sponsors also introduced themselves, their efforts to address the climate crisis, and why they supported 350 Bay Area.

In his luncheon presentation, Pierre described the key role our buildings play in escalating the climate crisis. In particular, he explained the devastating impacts of burning natural gas on our environment and our health. Pierre gave our guests a roadmap of what each of them can do to affect this critical issue. First, consider your personal carbon footprint and make a plan to reduce your personal emissions through the choices you make regarding your home, dietary preferences, and transportation. He also emphasized the need to become a climate advocate by promoting policy and pushing for a climate agenda that addresses the speed and scope needed to tackle the crisis. Dianne Sweet, of emeraldECO, had this to say about the event, “Being a sponsor of 350BayArea for the Eco Tour was incredibly motivating:  the alignment among so many businesses and homeowners regarding the vital need for decarbonization and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in our homes & buildings will continue to gain momentum because of conferences like this.  Thank you from emeraldECO!”

It is our hope that this event inspired community-wide involvement in fighting the climate crisis and raised awareness about climate solutions. The recent IPCC Report is a wake up call that cannot be ignored. The Eco Home & Garden Tour is an opportunity to keep this issue front and center through active conversations and climate education throughout the community. If you would like to learn more about the event, listen to this KPFA segment about the tour!

350 Bay Area is grateful to the following homeowners for opening their homes to the community and educating us all on ways to address the climate crisis through our homes: Pierre & Jane Melia Delforge, Ian & Beatrice Morand MacLeod, Heidi & Manny Lopez, Cate Leger & Karl Wanaselja, and Danny Wedding & Karen Harrington.

A team of volunteers made the day run smoothly and contributed many hours of planning. A special shout out to key volunteers including Tomi Kobara, Ashton Fandel, and Susannah Champlin.

Thank you to our sponsors A-1 Guaranteed Heating & Air Conditioning and Hassler Heating & Air Conditioning for keeping our homes and planet cool! Arkin Tilt Architects, Zero Impact Architecture, Bachelder Green Builder, and Marc Guay and Coldwell Banker Real Estate Berkeley help build eco friendly homes in The Bay and helped make this event possible. emeraldECO and Beyond Efficiency are home efficiency consultants and were key sponsors to this tour. We also want to thank the following publications: Montclair Living, Piedmont Living, and Berkeley Hills Living  for their generous sponsorship. Wisteria, Cal Flowers, and Bluma Flowers all helped by donating beautiful flower arrangements. We are so grateful that Celery Design let us use their space for our luncheon. Beneficial State Bank sponsored this event and is the the most ethical banking option in the Bay Area. Trader Joe’s helped us by donating snacks for our guests throughout the day. We also want to thank Adam Wright and Dongxue Yue for their personal sponsorships. The generosity here demonstrates their commitment to a healthy and just community.

This tour is only one of many strategies employed by 350 Bay Area to keep the climate crisis front and center in our conversations, informing our daily choices, and encouraging advocacy, engagement, and activism of a scale necessary to impact this crisis.