Congratulations, John Mott-Smith, Yolo Farm to Fork board member, for being honored by Cool Davis as an Eco-hero for “public service efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to promote energy efficiency in Davis and throughout Yolo County.”
Each year, Cool Davis recognizes “Eco-Heroes” — Davis residents who model how to incorporate sustainable practices into their work, civic and everyday lives. Acting out of personal conviction, they do “the right thing” for themselves, our community and our planet.
The Cool Davis Climate Solution Awards go to local businesses, groups or organizations for exemplary efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As they model ways to reduce their environmental impact, they become leaders in creating options to conserve resources, reduce fossil fuel dependence, and stabilize the climate.
In its efforts to work with our community on greenhouse gas emission reduction and sustainability issues, Cool Davis focuses on three topics: buildings (energy efficiency), consumption (reducing consumption and waste of food, water, etc.) and transportation (shifting to non-fossil-fuel vehicles and other modes of transportation).
Our 2015 Eco-Hero awards in the “buildings” category go to Kaiyue “David” Wang for his work on maximizing solar-panel energy efficiency, and to John Mott-Smith for outstanding public service. Parkview Place receives a Climate Solutions Award for building the first LEED platinum, zero-net-energy apartment house in Davis.
Fear not: John Mott-Smith will leave you both informed and inspired. He does this in his Davis Enterprise column, “Per Capita Davis,” by focusing on what individuals and municipalities can do to address climate change. He’s also a Cool Davis co-founder, Yolo County’s climate change adviser, and a concerned parent, among other things.
Upon finishing his career in state government, Mott-Smith pondered how to spend his retirement. He knew he wanted to do something on the local level that would affect his children’s future. His experience on the city of Davis Planning Commission and in the development of an energy plan for Yolo County in the 1980s had confirmed for him the need for a “paradigm shift.”
Working on climate change has allowed Mott-Smith to address those concerns. As climate change adviser for Yolo County, he helped form Yolo Energy Watch, a local government partnership with PG&E that connects county residents, businesses and governments with programs to improve energy efficiency. Yolo Energy Watch has assisted local governments with developing climate action plans, which allow cities to quantify their current energy usage, identify ways to reduce it and to measure their progress.
Don’t underestimate the significance of local action: The Yolo County government now produces more energy than it uses, thanks to photovoltaic installations at various sites around the county. This reduces greenhouse gas emissions, saves taxpayer dollars, and has made Yolo County a recognized national leader in green energy.
With regard to “Per Capita Davis,” Mott-Smith says that he enjoys the research and learning that go into each column and is humble about its impact: He’s always surprised when people tell him they enjoy it, although he does wish they wouldn’t feel obligated to be on their best “green” behavior around him. He readily confesses his own imperfections!