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Green San Francisco

by Victor Eekhof
Green San Francisco

The initial idea of the Pole 2 Pole 4 charity trip was to drive in a van thousands of miles from the North Pole to the South Pole meeting people, speaking at events, participating in fundraisers and spreading the message of “living sustainable and green”. We would fuel our van with recycled cooking oil, paint squares all over the (white) van and sell them as advertising space, thereby donating all the profits. When it seemed that it was too risky and bureaucratically horrendous to continue, we decided to document Green Initiatives in North America instead. This article is about one of the initiatives we covered: green San Francisco.

Green San Francisco

Green street in San Francisco

Waking up in an apartment on Green street…

Browsing the green directory

..browsing through the “green” directory…

Green bubble tea

… looking for a place to get green pearl milk tea, I knew this was going to be the city to find some cool green initiatives in San Francisco.

Electric tram San Francisco

Just looking around in the city says a lot; everywhere you look you see electric trams..

Electric cable car San Francisco

.. and electric cable cars..

Green cab San Francisco

.. but also green hybrid cabs ..

Zero emission hybrid trolley bus San Francisco

.. zero-emission hybrid trolley buses ..

Segways San Francisco

.. segways ..

Bicycle tours San Francisco

.. and bicycle tours.

We clean clothes eco friendly San Francisco

Many businesses in San Francisco promote themselves as being green and caring for the environment.

Organic coffee San Francisco

Some keep it simple..

Be veg go green San Francisco

.. while some take a more radical approach with big posters ..

Vegan restaurant San Francisco

.. and information stands.

To get a closer look at what’s going on when it comes to taking action, I zoom in on two initiatives.

The Green Zebra Environmental Action Center

Anne vollen from The Green Zebra Environmental action center

“The Government is stimulating people and businesses to make green choices”, says Anne Vollen, co-founder of The Green Zebra Environmental Action Center. “An example is Solarmap, which is a Google Maps based tool that shows you how many megawatt (and therefore money) your house or apartment can save when you install solar panels. Another example is Walkscore, a tool that calculates a score from 1 to 100 based on how close your house is to cafés, public transport, shopping centers etc.”.

The Green Zebra is putting in their share too. Their workspace offers room for events such as “Farmer’s Market cooking demonstration” and “DIY compost workshop”, and you’ll find tons of informational booklets and ecofriendly products (even notebooks made out of elephant dung!). “If we all take baby steps towards making green choices, we’ll get there eventually”, Anne believes.

Anne’s 3 tips to make green choices in your day-to-day lifestyle:

  • Don’t buy bottled water (San Francisco tap water is of great quality)
  • Bring your own bag to the grocery store
  • Walk those 5 blocks instead of driving there

The Green Zebra recycle store The Green Zebra recycled items store

The Green Zebra Environmental Action Center

50 Post Street Suite 9
(across from Tully’s on the ground floor)
San Francisco, CA 94104

Coffee to the People

Coffee to the people San Francisco

After visiting Anne, Josh and I walked an hour (aren’t we green?) to our next stop, an organic and sustainable café called Coffee to the People, where we meet manager Austin. “Coffee to the People has a history of being an example for other cafes that want to improve their green-ness. It’s easier to run a green business in San Francisco than in other cities in America. The SF Government makes green options financially attractive, and helps out practically, by collecting compost for instance”, Austin explains. “Cafes are a great place to stimulate green awareness amongst the public, due to the coffee culture here in America. Here at Coffee to the People we provide information about recycling and reusing (parts of) products”.

Austin’s tips to be green in your daily life:

  • Turn down the brightness of your screens
  • Don’t leave the water running when you’re brushing your teeth
  • Don’t leave devices on stand-by mode

“Oh, and search with Ecosia, the green search engine that saves 2 sq meters of rainforest with every click!”, Austin swiftly adds.

recycle bin at power to the people san francisco Reusable cup holders power to the people San Francisco

Coffee to the People

1206 Masonic Ave
(between Haight St & Waller St)
San Francisco, CA 94117

The conclusion

All in all, it’s hard to miss the numerous green initiatives all around San Francisco.  Like the banner on the street suggests, sustainability is the SF state of mind. And it shows! We’re curious if there is any other American city that can top this!

Sustainable San Francisco

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