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The Kellys Are Driving on Sunshine Thanks to Solarize Santa Ynez Valley

Rick Kelly and his family are self-described “energy hawks,” always looking for ways to improve the energy efficiency of their home. After switching all their lighting to LED bulbs, Rick -- a business manager at UCSB -- was looking for more. Intrigued by solar electricity, he attended a homeowner workshop about Solarize Santa Ynez hosted by CEC and the Santa Ynez Valley Alliance. At the workshop, another homeowner brought up the topic of combining home solar and electric vehicles (EVs), and it spurred Rick to do his own research.
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Intern Spotlight – Kelly Rae Kacmar

Kelly Rae Kacmar currently works as a fire inspector for the City of Burbank Fire Department in Southern California. Kelly interned for CEC while in her last year as an undergraduate student majoring in Environmental Studies at UC Santa Barbara.
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Reducing Plastic Through Refills #ditchplastic

For years, Peter Tatikian and his wife, Kelley Skumautz, have made a game out of avoiding buying single-use plastic bags. This has been especially interesting when it comes to picking up after their terrier/chihuahua mix, Ollie. It takes a little more creativity on every dog walk. “We have become very inventive in finding bags to pick up poop,” Peter says. This has included paper wrappers, tortilla chip bags, frozen vegetable packaging, and even the plastic mailing sleeves that magazines get mailed in.

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Why Earth Day Matters More Than Ever

On April 22 – the official, nationally designated Earth Day – my email box blows up. Not just from the usual business of managing our local Earth Day festival, but from the mass of e-newsletters and Facebook posts calling attention to the day. They come from every corner of society. A statewide religious consortium. Elected officials. A local attorney’s office. Some are fluff, others are sincere calls for action, and others call into question what it’s all for.

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Eating Local with Creativity & Zucchini Noodles

 

When Georgianna Wilson committed to the Eat Local Challenge for the month of October,  she didn’t think it was going to be that challenging. She was already signed up for weekly produce boxes through Plow to Porch, a local CSA program, and to top it off, she won one of the local food baskets in the Eat Local Giveaway by CEC and Edible Santa Barbara.

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Most popular personal stories of 2013

Santa Barbarans are leading the way in the clean energy movement. We've met locals who are installing solar panels on their homes and helping others go solar. We've heard from people who are driving electric vehicles and powering them with energy from the sun or commuting to work by bike or bimodally. Read our most popular personal stories from 2013 for a dose of inspiration going into the new year.

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Thinking outside the box and bottle

To me, huge stockpiles of stuff is crazy making. What I see are expiration dates and things calling out “do something with me!” The idea of buying cases and pallets of merchandise individually packaged screams waste, so I prefer to source household staples in simple, sustainable quantities.

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A New Mother’s Struggle with Climate Change

I used to be uncomfortable with the concept of grace. I had been asked to believe that grace was something bestowed upon us from above, but that idea didn't fit with what I was observing around me in the natural world. Then a few months ago I had an encounter with grace that changed my life forever.

But first, some background.

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Courtney won a bike and left her car behind

Last month CEC conducted a drawing to give a local resident a new bike (special thanks to the Isla Vista Bike Boutique for donating the cruiser). We picked the person who made the best case for using the bike to replace their vehicle trips. The winner was Courtney Mercier.  She received her bike in time to hit the streets with thousands of local cyclists this Cycle Maynia – Santa Barbara’s month-long celebration of biking.

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Aaron J. is a bimodal commuter

Aaron Jones, Associate Director for Community Affairs for UCSB’s Associated Students, commutes regularly from his home in downtown Santa Barbara to the UCSB campus. Each day, he travels the same route, but his trip isn’t in the comfort of his own vehicle. As part of a one-car family, Aaron spends the majority of his commute on the bus or on his road bike.

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Noah tests the efficiency of his family’s electric vehicle

Although he’s been known to play a video game or two, Noah Z. is not your ordinary teenager. Recently, Noah decided he wanted to express his concerns about the world his generation is inheriting by shedding light on a simple way that American drivers can reduce their carbon footprint. His experiment won him a medal at the Santa Barbara County Science Fair and has him thinking about the future. The idea started when he and his family checked out the Green Car Show at CEC’s 2012 Earth Day Festival.
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