Sebastopol California, A Nuclear Free Zone
Sebastopol in Sonoma County, California, is a Nuclear Free
Zone, approx. 52 miles north of San Francisco. 20 minutes from
the scenic Sonoma coast, Sebastopol is very much on the same
page as Sonoma County about protecting, preserving and using
ecologically sound measures to sustain its lifestyle, health and
growth. In 1986, residents approved an initiative declaring
Sebastopol a "Nuclear Free Zone". The town does not use
pesticides in city landscaping, and also bought a hybrid instead
of a standard police car.
One former resident, the famed cartoonist and writer Charles
Schulz, passed away, but even today, his family fortune has
helped preserve the lifestyle that Sonoma County residents find
unique among the coastal cities of the 1000 miles of California
coast. In September 2009, his wife, philanthropist Jean
Schulz, pledged $2 million matching gift to Sonoma Land
Trust campaign, Redwoods to the Bay: Saving Sonoma County's
Signature Landscapes. Worried about the ongoing development
pressures on local lands and the need to preserve large open
spaces, "I want our grandchildren
and their children to be able to enjoy the same stunning vistas
that you and I treasure today," she said, referring to
5,630-acres of Jenner Headlands.
Sonoma County is unique among more than 50 California
counties with its Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and
Open Space District Legislative Program. In May 2009, the
District solicited Request for Proposals (RFP) for Federal
Legislative Advocacy services to support and strengthen its work
to permanently protect the diverse agricultural, natural
resource, and scenic open space lands of Sonoma County for
That's a little background to put the city of Sebastopol in
perspective. This garden spot of California that values its
natural places and wants to keep them has done as much as any
city to promote ecology. Once a plum and apple growing region,
horticulturist Luther Burbank had gardens in this fertile
region, which hosts an annual Apple Blossom Festival and
Gravenstein Apple Fair. While that event draws thousands to the
region, the vineyards now produce grapes used in some of the top
wines consumed internationally, bringing attention to the lush
Here are some of the things that Sebastopol has done to
promote a green lifestyle:
Skate Park and Community Garden
Visit the City of Sebastopol's skate park and community garden
located at 6700 Laguna Park Way. We have not found another city
in California that has combined a skatepark with a community
garden. This project allows citizens to rent a plot and grow
their own fruits and vegetables. Sebastopol supports local
agriculture through partnership with the local Farm Market held
Sundays at the Town Plaza. Sebastopol supports the concept of
local foods, reducing transportation costs and pollution, as
well as maintaining a more diverse local economy. The City also
supports home gardens, and Sebastopol’s newest park, the skate
park/community garden park, features individual community garden
plots for use by residents who may not be able to have a garden
where they live.
West County Community Seed Bank
Inviting all interested gardeners to join in cultivating a
grassroots community seed bank that supports Sonoma County
gardeners with free, locally grown, open pollinated, pesticide
and GMO-free seeds. this is a project that is overdue and needed
throughout California. Events such as Garlic Exchange and
Tasting, include seed and plant exchanges, followed by local
food potluck dining. The garlic exchange is one example of event
in which attendees are invited to bring any varieties of plants
they would like to share.
Energy Independence Program
The City of Sebastopol entered into an agreement with the County
of Sonoma to participate in the Energy Independence Program.
Both residential and commercial property owners in the
incorporated city jurisdiction are eligible for loans for energy
efficient or water conservation retrofit of existing buildings.
Adopt A Landscape Volunteer Program
A Sebastopol program of community involvement allows an
individual, group or business to adopt a median, island or park
Mandatory Green Building Program
The City of Sebastopol adopted mandatory sustainable building
criteria based on the County of Sonoma Waste Management Agency -
Green Building Guidelines. The program is intended for new
residential construction, new commercial construction and
commercial remodels 1800 square feet and larger.
Transition Sebastopol Program
Transition Sebastopol empowers communities to squarely face
the challenges of peak oil, climate change and global economic
instability, and to unleash the collective genius of their own
people to find the answers and solutions to sustainability into
the future. Asking, "How are we going to drastically reduce
carbon emissions (in response to climate change), significantly
rebuild resilience (in response to peak oil), and greatly
strengthen our local economy (in response to economic
instability)?" the Transition Initiatives make no claim to have
all the answers. By building on the wisdom of the past and
accessing the pool of ingenuity, skills and determination,
however, solutions can readily emerge, say those who founded
this program. Believing that now is the time to take stock and
to start re-creating our future in ways that are not based on
cheap, plentiful and polluting oil but on localized food,
sustainable energy sources, resilient local economies and an
enlivened sense of community well-being, this group is but one
of many focused on the future. transitionsebastopol.org
What You Can Do -- from the City of Sebastopol
Together, we can make a difference to reduce energy use and
pollution, live a more sustainable life, and reduce greenhouse
1. Replace regular incandescent light bulbs with compact
fluorescent light bulbs (cfl).
2. Move your thermostat down 2° in winter and up 2° in summer.
3. Clean or replace filters on your furnace and air conditioner
to save up to 350 pounds of carbon dioxide a year.
4. Install a programmable thermostat to save you $100 a year on
your energy bill.
5. Choose energy efficient appliances when making new purchases,
thus saving up to 175 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions
6. Wrap your water heater in an insulation blanket. You’ll save
1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide a year with this simple action.
7. Use less hot water and washing your clothes in cold or warm
8. Use a clothesline instead of a dryer whenever possible,
saving 700 pounds of carbon dioxide when you air dry your
clothes for 6 months out of the year.
9. Recycle. Yard debris containers can also be used for
composting fruit and vegetables from your kitchen.
10. Turn off electronic devices you’re not using, saving
thousands of pounds of carbon dioxide a year.
11. Unplug electronics from the wall when you’re not using them.
Energy used to keep display clocks lit and memory chips working
accounts for 5 percent of total domestic energy consumption and
spews 18 million tons of carbon into the atmosphere every year!
12. Connect a rain barrel to downspouts to collect rain water.
Be sure to use appropriate design to prevent mosquito
13, Replace high-flow toilets with ultra-low flow fixtures.
14. Try car sharing. Need a car but don’t want to buy one?
Community car sharing organizations provide access to a car and
your membership fee covers gas, maintenance and insurance.
15. Walk or bike to your destination—it’s good for you and the
16. Buy locally grown and produced foods. The average meal in
the United States travels 1,200 miles from the farm to your
plate. Buying locally will save fuel and keep money in your
17. Buy fresh foods instead of frozen. Frozen food uses 10 times
more energy to produce.
18. Seek out and support local farmers markets.
19. Buy organic foods as much as possible. If we grew all of our
corn and soybeans organically, we’d remove 580 billion pounds of
carbon dioxide from the atmosphere!
19. Avoid heavily packaged products. You can save 1,200 pounds
of carbon dioxide if you cut down your garbage by 10%.
20. Eat less meat. Methane is the second most significant
greenhouse gas and cows are one of the greatest methane
21. Reduce the number of miles you drive by walking, biking,
carpooling or taking mass transit wherever possible.
Avoiding just 10 miles of driving every week would eliminate
about 500 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions a year!
22. Keep your car tuned up.When just 1% of car owners properly
maintain their cars, nearly a billion pounds of carbon dioxide
are kept out of the atmosphere.
23. Check your tires weekly to make sure they’re properly
inflated. Proper inflation can improve gas mileage and for every
gallon saved, 20 pounds of carbon dioxide are kept out of the
24. When it is time for a new car, choose a more fuel efficient
25. Try telecommuting from home.
26. Consider a green roof for your new home or addition.
27. Fly less. Air travel produces large amounts of emissions.
28. Plant a tree. Trees reduce ambient temperatures in hot
weather, reducing the need for air conditioning. Shading
pavement (streets and driveways) can reduce what is known as the
‘urban heat island effect’ whereby some urban areas have higher
than normal temperatures due to extensive paved areas and lack
of natural vegetation.