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Introducing Green Views From the Peninsula

Have environmental questions about the Peninsula? Wondering what local things you can do to lead a more sustainable life? Alexis Petru introduces you to her column where she will answer those questions and more.

that offers a wide selection of local and organic food in Half Moon Bay. Numerous green buildings and homes—from the South San Francisco's Recreation Center to YouTube's office in San Bruno. 's Menlo Park headquarters, a magazine that has been promoting sustainable living long before "going green" was considered fashionable.

The Peninsula is full of businesses, organizations and people seeking innovative ways to help our environment. And there is no shortage of natural beauty on the Peninsula to remind us of why it's important to protect the environment – whether you're hiking through the redwood trees in Wunderlich Park, watching the sunset from one of our charming coastal towns or taking a canoe ride in the Bay.

This column, Green Views from the Peninsula, will highlight these eco-minded businesses and green programs: from San Mateo's non-toxic drycleaner, Press On Cleaners, to Menlo Park's Computers for Everyone, a non-profit that refurbishes computers for underserved students. Green Views will answer such frequently asked environmental questions as, "Where do my energy and water come from?" and "where do my recycling and garbage go?" At the same time, the column will offer practical and local "things you can do" to lead a more sustainable life: tips to make your home energy efficient and your diet environmentally friendly.

And what qualifies me to dole out environmental advice? I've worked for cities and counties in the Bay Area, coordinating environmental programs, for the last seven years. From recycling to water and energy conservation, I've done a little bit of everything. I started my career riffling through dumpsters to audit waste and going door-to-door to talk to people about recycling; now I assist cities in making their buildings more energy efficient and help them adopt climate change policies.

I've always been passionate about sustainability, and I try to make environmentally responsible choices in my own life. Even for an environmental professional like me, the greenest choice isn't always obvious, easy or affordable. But many times, the option that is good for the environment is also good for your health and saves you money in the long run. I'll aim to help you navigate through the opinions and greenwashing and make the best choice for you, the environment and your wallet.

I moved to the Peninsula from the East Bay three years ago, settling in San Bruno. I've enjoyed getting to know the Peninsula: the unique things-to-do and the sense of community that I witnessed in response to the tragic San Bruno fire. But there is always more to discover, so I invite you to join me as I explore the Green Views from the Peninsula.

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Today's quick tip: Eating locally while dining out

Eating locally grown food means your food spends less time traveling from the farm to your plate—resulting in fresher, tastier food for you and fewer carbon emissions in the air. Buying local food also helps small farmers stay in business and strengthens the local economy.

What if you want to eat locally, but need a break from cooking? The website As Fresh As It Gets lists restaurants and bars along the Peninsula that source their produce, fish and wines locally. You're guaranteed to find a restaurant that fits your mood and budget – whether you're craving Mexican food (and live music) at in San Bruno, Turkish cuisine at Redwood City's New Kapadokia or California fare at Astaria in San Mateo.

Alexis Petru coordinates environmental programs for San Mateo County. Her column will appear bimonthly  on Fridays.

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