Menlo Park: How locals are doing their part to reduce greenhouse gases


In observance of Earth Day and in the face of the challenge of climate change, Menlo Spark, the nonprofit that is working to make Menlo Park a climate-neutral city by 2025, asked many people and agencies in the community what they were doing to reduce their energy use, waste and greenhouse gas emissions.

Their stories, some of which are presented here, were compiled by Menlo Spark staff: Janelle London, director of sustainability, and Diane Bailey, executive director.

"Climate change may be the greatest challenge of our time, with diminished snowpack, greater wildfires, more intense storms, sea levels rising and other impacts," Ms. London said.

Go to to read more about local "Climate Action Heroes," as Menlo Spark is calling them, and to tell your own stories about reducing energy use, waste and greenhouse gas emissions.

Among the actions that locals are taking:

● Sheldon Kay is offering a $1,500 cash rebate to 15 Menlo Park families who install solar panels this year. Go to for more information.

● Tom Kabat, energy engineer, replaced his gas water heater with a solar-powered heater.

● Perla Ni, founder of, said her family purchases the solar power generated on someone else's roof using an online solar power-sharing program called Yeloha.

● Bob and Cathy Oyster, father and daughter and owners of Country Sharon Apartments in Menlo Park, changed landscaping to be more water efficient and installed solar panels.

● Julie Shanson, a Menlo Park resident and founder of, promotes food sustainability by teaching vegetarian cooking, eating vegan with her family, and subscribing to a farm's local produce delivery service.

● Lulu's on the Alameda recycles a portion of its cooking oil and uses compostable paper products.

● Left Bank restaurant recycles, composts and uses biodegradable to-go boxes.

● Over several years, Don Zulaica rebuilt his childhood home to be energy-efficient while he was caring for his sick mother.

● Hillview Middle School installed solar panels and energy-efficient lighting, and established an environmental science elective (students learn about climate change and take care of the school's organic garden).

● Fleet Feet, the sports shoe store, promotes pedestrian transport with its running groups and recycles used running shoes, say owners Jim Gothers and Lisa Taggart.

● GeoKids preschool students use recycled materials for their art projects and avoid wasting paper, said Kim Bourne, associate director of the preschool.

● City Council members Ray Mueller and Kirsten Keith say they will drive less this year by biking, taking public transit or carpooling to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

● LED lights are used at Bridgepoint Music, Occassions, Etc., the Menlo Park Chamber of Commerce, and in the homes of the Heatons, Margo McAuliffe and Jennifer Thelen.

Go to for more about local "Climate Action Heroes" on the website of Menlo Spark, a nonprofit working to make Menlo Park climate neutral by 2025.

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