Taming the carbon beast in Edmonds

Environmental competition begins Jan. 1
By Brian Soergel | Dec 28, 2017
Noal Leonetti

When not attending Edmonds City Council meetings as a student representative from Edmonds-Woodway High School, senior Noal Leonetti plots ways to lower his carbon footprint.

“As someone who is about to leave high school and join the adult world, I want to make sure my future is protected,” Leonetti said. “I feel it is important for people my age to be involved in combating climate change to ensure that we have a good future. “

To prove it, Leonetti is all-in with the city’s Taming Bigfoot initiative, a community-wide effort aimed at involving citizens in a team-based effort to lower their carbon footprints by reducing their greenhouse gas emissions.

Taming Bigfoot – created to be educational, while also being fun – was launched by a steering committee made up of the Mayor’s Climate Protection Committee and Edmonds United Methodist Church’s Interfaith Climate Action.

Steering committee member Gayla Shoemake said that, as of Tuesday of this week, up to 200 community members had signed up. Teams are groups of seven members, and Shoemake expects up to 25 groups.

There have already been several training sessions, where members learned how to record their activities and energy usage by app, computer or paper.

They will track five categories of personal carbon-related behaviors, including home energy use; home water use; transportation; waste generation and landfill disposal; and shopping and food consumption.

Members will start recording Monday, Jan. 1. A kickoff event for all teams is 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 4, at the Edmonds Senior Center.

In addition to two teams from Edmonds-Woodway, students at Meadowdale High School also have formed a group.

Shoemake said local churches are active in Taming Bigfoot, with six groups from both Edmonds United Methodist Church and Edmonds Unitarian Universalist Congregation, as well as two from Holy Rosary Church. There also is a group from the city of Edmonds.

According to city of Edmonds recycling coordinator Steve Fisher, also a member of the Taming Bigfoot steering committee, January will see each team member establish data baselines, in turn helping to create a baseline for the full team.

“This will make February and March the opportune time for teams to seek ways to reduce energy usage and/or activities that result in carbon emissions, with the goal to reduce more than the other teams,” Fisher said.

Taming Bigfoot ends March 31, with an awards ceremony April 23.

Leonetti is ready to go.

“I got the word out at Edmonds-Woodway, working with the activities director and my biology teacher to set up times for me to speak with fellow students about Taming Bigfoot,” he said. “My hope is that this project will inspire people my age and younger to also become part of the civic community and to continue to work to protect our future in any way they can, as I know I will.”

He no doubt will.

To accompany his selection as a student of the month, Leonetti wrote that he was interested in pursuing a bachelor’s degree in sociology or environmental studies, then working for a law degree. He added that he wants to work in government, specifically in education or environmental policy.

Shoemake, a retired college administrator who once worked at Edmonds Community College and volunteers at the Edmonds Food Bank and Snohomish County’s cold-weather shelter, said Leonetti is on the right track.

“I support projects that let people know they can make a difference,” she said. “And what these teams are doing will make a difference.”

For more information, go to www.edmondswa.gov/taming-bigfoot.html.



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