Walkability Sustainability News

Mayor Tom Bates Walks the Walk

Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates has led several efforts to combat climate change and make the city more sustainable. He’s added separate glass and paper collection bins to the city’s recycling program, played a leadership role in the successful effort to pass Measure G, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050, making Berkeley the first city to establish climate-protection targets through a popular vote. The mayor is very proud that Berkeley’s 2009 Climate Action Plan was nominated by the United Nations as the best plan in North America.

But the mayor doesn’t just preach sustainability, he also practices it: He sold his car and now walks or takes the bus to work.

“I gave up my car because I wanted to reduce my carbon footprint and help combat global warming and because it’s good for my health and budget. I also hope that my example can inspire others to consider greener transportation alternatives,” he told Opticos in an email.

Earlier this month, TakePart published a video showing the mayor enjoying his daily commute to work, meeting and greeting his fellow Berkeleyites along the way.


“When I walk to work, it’s not going to change the planet, but other people see that. And people remark, ‘There goes the mayor walking.’ And I see more and more people doing it! It’s little steps but it all adds up,” Mayor Bates says in the video.

The mayor is also a strong advocate of transit-oriented housing, solar energy, and electric vehicles and other non-polluting transportation. He serves as Co-Chair of the Bay Area Electric Vehicle Strategic Council, and Berkeley has twice been honored during his administration with the Solar Champion Award from the Environment California Research & Policy Center, partly in recognition of Berkeley achieving the highest per capita solar installations of any large city in Northern California.

At Opticos Design, we applaud the mayor’s efforts, both in and out of the office, and will be sure to stop and say hello the next time we see him strolling down Milvia St. on his way to work!

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