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Environmental Powwow to be held Saturday

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By Kirsten Laskey

Is global warming giving you a sweat? During the Second Annual Environmental Powwow, Pajarito Group of the Sierra Club will show how to escape the heat and become cool.The group will present the Sierra Club’s Cool Counties (also known as Cool Cities) initiative as a way for Los Alamos County and its citizens to organize efforts for reducing the carbon footprint.The Pajarito Group is taking matters one step further and will be collecting signatures for a petition to be presented to the Los Alamos county councilors to encourage them to join the initiative.Mayors across the U.S. started the initiative. Currently, 952 mayors have resolved to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 7 percent below 1990 levels by 2012.If Los Alamos joins in this resolution, “at the very least we would uphold carbon reductions upheld in the Kyoto Protocol,” Michael Di Rosa, member of the Pajarito Group executive committee said. “But we may do better, if we choose.”There are several ways to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, he said. For instance, people can carpool, take public transportation, use their bikes and replace inefficient light fixtures, and appliances.Being environmentally conscious isn’t a new concept in Los Alamos. Di Rosa said the county has already taken a number of steps to be cool such as passing a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified requirement for county buildings. Also, the new waste transfer station will be LEED certified, he said.To be LEED certified, Di Rosa said, buildings have to be designed to use less energy and prolong their serviceable life. As a result, the building’s carbon footprint is reduced and money is saved, he said.Becoming involved in Cool Counties could further benefit the environment in Los Alamos, Di Rosa said.“I think the main reason is it will coordinate efforts by county and citizens and we would hold one another responsible with that commitment,” he explained.To help spread the word about Cool Counties, several organizations such as the Pajarito Environmental Education Center, Los Alamos Sustainable Energy, League of Women Voters, New Mexico Clean Air and Water, will host tables during the powwow.Additionally, Robert Gibson, county councilor, David Apple, Judicial-Police/Jail Complex project manager, Regina Wheeler, solid waste division manager, and Ken Hughes, a planner for the state, will be among the speakers at the event.The powwow will also feature food and music.Di Rosa encourages the public to attend the powwow because “they can learn better how to commit themselves and the county to reducing our carbon footprint.”The powwow will occur from 4-7 p.m. Saturday at the Sheriff’s Posse Lodge.To learn more about Cool Counties, go to coolcities.us and www.kingcounty.gov /exec/coolcountries.