Sacramento leader wants to reduce city’s carbon footprint
Sacramento Kevin Johnson talks about Earth Day with Scholastic Kid Reporter Daniel Wetter. Johnson is the city's first African-American mayor and a former basketball star in the NBA. (Photo courtesy Daniel Wetter)
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson finds himself with one of the nation’s most difficult tasks. As a new mayor, he must reduce the carbon footprint of his city—an international business hub in northern California.
“We want to be out on the forefront of being a city that’s really raising the bar and doing a great job when you think about green,” the former NBA star turned big city mayor told Scholastic News.
A carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases produced to directly and indirectly support a human activity. That means the amount of carbon dioxide that is emitted into the atmosphere to produce the energy to either light your room, power your TV, or take you to school in the family car. Carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere when fossil fuels like oil and gas are burned to produce energy.
Currently Sacramento has a huge energy demand and a large carbon footprint. Mayor Johnson has a plan that will save energy, while still encouraging industry to expand, creating jobs.
“We want to make sure that our city is a city whose energy and renewable activities are where they should be environmentally,” he said.
His goals include providing incentives for builders to use recyclable and energy efficient materials. He also plans to promote the development of clean technology and environmentally sensitive tech industries. Another goal is to find a more environmentally friendly way to handle Sacramento’s waste.
There are many ways kids can help save this planet, he said. Turn off your lights when you are not in the room. This will save energy and decrease the amount of money your parents spend each month on the electric bill.
“Just be conscious and be aware,” Johnson said, adding, “You guys are the next generation.”
You can also get together with some friends and organize a trash pickup. Always keep in mind though that you are doing a good thing for the Earth, said Mayor Johnson.
“All young people must understand that they must do their part to save our planet,” he said. Earth Day is a great opportunity to educate people about how they can help.CELEBRATE BLACK HISTORY MONTH
For more on the achievements and contributions of African Americans to U.S. History, return to the Scholastic Kids Press Corps' Black History Month Special Report.
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Daniel Wetter is a member of the Scholastic Kids Press Corps.