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Welcome: Amanda Begley joins the Center with transportation chops

Hi! My name is Amanda Begley, and I recently joined The Climate Center as an ECO2school Program Coordinator.

How satisfying and rewarding it is to land a job aligning with your lifelong values and passions!  These values have a direct connection to how I was raised by my environmentally-conscious father. I grew up in a household where the phrase, “transportation hierarchy” was a common utterance. What is “transportation hierarchy,” you ask? This is my dad’s philosophy used to guide our decision making on which mode of transport to use getting from A to B. First choice is walking or biking (“weather and fitness permitting,” Dad would explain), then public transit, then carpool, and the last choice being a car (electric or fuel efficient, of course).  Importantly, beyond just considering your “transportation hierarchy,” the lessons of the why reinforced itself over the years. My father did not shy away from teaching us about the realities of a changing climate and how our actions contributed to the impacts.

As I write this, the brutal effects of a warming climate are evident in the daily headlines, such as this recent New York Times article: “Scorching Summer in Europe Signals Long-Term Climate Changes,” “cows are dying of thirst in Switzerland, fires gobbling up timber in Sweden, the majestic Dachstein glacier is melting in Austria.”  Not to mention the blood-red sunrise this morning colored by smoke as fires burn the surrounding counties (currently the largest wildfire in the state’s history). When it comes to reducing those heat-trapping gases, like CO2, cutting our vehicle-miles traveled is a crucial strategy towards necessary reductions. This is especially true in Sonoma County where around 60% of greenhouse gas emissions are from transportation.

Admittedly these trends are scary, but there is something we can do.  We can consider our “transportation hierarchy,” and we can reduce our vehicle miles traveled. There is another way.  Understanding that there is another way is empowering, and quite frankly, exciting! I am looking forward to the opportunity to engage with youth leaders to promote long-term personal and community action for the environment. Now let’s get to work!