Atherton Earth Day: Electric Leaf Blower Bowling, a VW Beetle Cycle and More | news
Armed with electric leaf blowers, Atherton councillors, Police Commissioner Steve McCulley and staff propelled inflatable balls with the goal of making a splash during the city’s first Earth Day Festival on Saturday, April 23.
Aside from a few laughs, the game should demonstrate how quiet, powerful and odorless electric blowers can be (they make a sound similar to a hair dryer), according to the organizers.
“(Approximately) 3.8% of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions come from gas-powered gardening equipment, which is more than the city’s combined emissions from wastewater and waste processing for Atherton, so eliminating gas-powered blowers would have a surprisingly significant impact,” said Stacy Miles, a member of the environmental program committee that hosted the festival in an email. Last month, members of her committee shared their frustration that the council was not doing more to limit the use of gas-powered leaf blowers given their “health impact and climate risks”.
The festival “exceeded even my most optimistic expectations, so I’m aiming high,” Miles said. “I’ve had a number of friendly emails over the past few days encouraging us to do it again which is the loveliest compliment.”
“As we emerge from the pandemic, everyone is yearning for a greater sense of community,” she said in an email Tuesday, April 26. “And Atherton showed up! The pedal car, the art exhibition, so many of the green kiosks, e-bikes and EVs (electric vehicles) – all were brought in by Atherton residents. … There are many ways to make a difference, and our event sought to highlight diversity.”
Miles met a few people who came for the art show but were more interested in buying an electric vehicle. Or some came because of the e-bikes and then tried vegan food for the first time.
During the event, which took place at Holbrook-Palmer Park, people rode around in a Volkswagen Beetle converted to a bike.
Attendees looked at electric cars – Ford, Rivian, Tesla and more – lining the park’s lawn, a combination of dealer and owner vehicles. Americans’ interest in electric cars has increased in recent months, according to the New York Times, as gasoline prices have skyrocketed.
There were many activities for children. Kids stopped by a pop-up beetle museum by The Beetlelady. She brought a real tarantula along with models of other insects. Children gathered in front of the Jennings Pavilion for storytelling. They also boarded a fire truck and an ambulance from the Menlo Park Fire Protection District.
Children visited with chickens including some very soft silkies.
High efficiency sprinklers were on display on the lawn.
There were also food trucks and samples of plant-based ice cream from Oakland-based Eclipse Foods.
A dealer fair featured the San Mateo County Bee Guild, UC Master Gardeners, Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District and more.
An Earth Day art exhibit featured work by climate artist Sukey Bryan, local artists and students at Sacred Heart Schools in Atherton.
The day ended with speakers. US Senator Alex Padilla spoke via video about the key climate provisions of the State Infrastructure Act. Erin Cooke, SFO director of sustainability, Rob Jackson of the Stanford Woods Institute and Eric Schulze, food scientist also spoke.