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Sustainability Conference

Date(s) - 04/28/2018
1:00 pm - 5:00 pm

San Mateo Event Center


Dig in to a lively afternoon of learning about local sustainability projects and how you can make an impact. Local experts will explain the surprising benefits of carbon farming, share accomplishments in renewable energy, and demonstrate the science behind home composting. Thanks to Peninsula Clean Energy, the first 100 registrants will receive a free copy of Paul Hawken’s inspiring book “Drawdown”. Sign-up here for a chance to get your copy!

When: APRIL 28, 2018 / 1-5 PM
Where: San Mateo County Event Center, Sequoia Hall (Room 7)
Cost: Free!

Sustainable San Mateo County is proud to collaborate with the San Mateo County Sustainability Department and feature the leaders of two of our Sustainability Award winners, the San Mateo County Resource Conservation District and Peninsula Clean Energy. We are honored to welcome John Wick, one of the pioneers of carbon farming and Senator Scott Wiener, a renowned renewable energy expert.


1-2 PM Carbon Farming for San Mateo County & Beyond

Agriculture has significant potential to help reverse climate change through practices that pull carbon from the atmosphere and store it in soils and plants, called carbon sequestration. Carbon farming is an array of strategies designed to reduce atmospheric greenhouse gases while enhancing farms’ and ranches’ productivity and resilience. Carbon farming aims to increase carbon stored in soil organic matter, perennial plant roots, and standing woody biomass. Discover how residents can support this exciting new practice that also reduces demands on local water sources and enhances wildlife and pollinator habitat. Hear from a pioneer in the field, John Wick, Co-founder of the Marin Carbon Project and Member of the Board of Directors for Drawdown. Learn about the carbon farming program established locally in collaboration with landowners from Kellyx Nelson, Executive Director of the San Mateo County Resource Conservation District.

Kellyx Nelson
Executive Director
San Mateo County Resource Conservation District

Kellyx Nelson has spent 28 years in the private and public sectors in program and project development and implementation, environmental education, organizational capacity building, community outreach, building partnerships, and developing solutions to difficult resource problems. She has served as the Executive Director of the Resource Conservation District since 2006. Her diverse career has included 14 years as an environmental educator for underserved communities in New York and San Francisco, driving a Freightliner cross-country as a long-haul trucker, delivering packages as a motorcycle messenger, and managing conservation projects for Peninsula Open Space Trust. She has an undergraduate degree from Columbia University in Political Science and Environmental Science and a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from UC Berkeley.

Under her direction the RCD has achieved distinction, receiving the 2016 Sustainability Award from Sustainable San Mateo County and 2012 District of the Year from the California Association of RCDs. In 2015, Kellyx was inducted into the San Mateo County Women’s Hall of Fame in recognition of her contributions to the overall well-being of the County.

John Wick
Marin Carbon Project

John Wick is a rancher, carbon farmer, and sustainable land management advocate. He is the co-founder of the Marin Carbon Project, which seeks to enhance carbon sequestration in rangelands, agricultural, and forest soils, and is the co-owner with his wife of the Nicasio Native Grass Ranch in Marin, California. On the ranch, John manages molecules, microorganisms, and rain at the watershed scale. John’s personal mission is to remove enough CO2 from the atmosphere through photosynthesis to get us below 350 ppm, or climate drawdown.

John works with scientists from UC Berkeley, Lawrence Berkeley National Labs, and UC Davis, as well as all of the agricultural agencies, organizations, and institutions in Marin to develop an informed management of the landscape that is replicable, scalable, and broadly applicable.

2-3 PM Peninsula Clean Energy Briefing with CEO Jan Pepper and Senator Scott Wiener

Jan Pepper, CEO of Peninsula Clean Energy, and State Senator Scott Wiener (District 11) join forces to present a cutting edge view of the exciting changes in technology and sustainability management available to the people of San Mateo Country.

Jan Pepper
Chief Executive Officer
Peninsula Clean Energy

Jan has over 30 years of energy and utility experience, with a focus on renewable energy contracting and financing. She formerly worked at Silicon Valley Power, and has founded four energy-related start-ups. Jan was elected to the city council of Los Altos in 2012 and served as Mayor from December 2014 to December 2015. She was re-elected in 2016 for a second four-year term. She served on the Board of Directors of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District from 2013 to February 2017. She earned a BS in civil engineering and an MBA, both from Stanford University. Jan is a registered professional engineer in California.

At APX, she developed and pioneered the first use of renewable energy credits, which are now the standard currency for trading and tracking renewable power. At Clean Power Markets, her company designed and implemented the successful Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC) program for the State of New Jersey.

Senator Scott Wiener
District 11

Elected in November 2016, Senator Scott Wiener represents District 11 in the California State Senate. District 11 includes all of San Francisco, Broadmoor, Colma, and Daly City, as well as portions of South San Francisco.

In the Senate, Senator Wiener works hard to make housing more affordable by confronting California’s severe housing shortage; to invest in our transportation systems, including improving and expanding our public transportation systems; to increase access to healthcare, including reproductive healthcare; to support working families, including expanding paid family leave, childcare, and quality public education; to support California’s nightlife culture and economy; to meaningfully address climate change and the impacts of drought by expanding clean energy and modernizing our water system; to reform the criminal justice system and reduce gun violence; to reduce California’s alarmingly high poverty rate; and to safeguard and expand the rights of all communities, including immigrants and the LGBT community.

Wiener received a bachelor’s degree from Duke University and a law degree from Harvard Law School. He spent a year in Chile on a Fulbright Scholarship doing historical research. Wiener has lived in San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood for over 20 years.

3-5 PMĀ Home Compost Workshop With San Mateo County’s Sustainability Academy

Learn how easy and fun it is to recycle your fruit and vegetable scraps, leaves, and plant cuttings into compost with a compost or worm compost bin. ompost provides valuable nutrients for your soil, helps retain moisture, prevents erosion, loosens clay and compacted soils for better drainage and suppresses weeds. Discounts and rebates for compost and worm compost bins will be distributed to County residents!

Joseph Lees
Master Composter & Gardener

Joseph “Joe” Lees teaches composting techniques and theory at Foothill College, the County of San Mateo Sustainability Department Master Compost and Solid Waste Course and conducts community workshops, classes, and lectures to advance green principles using composting and sustainable gardening techniques throughout the Bay Area. Joe’s expertise continues to build on three decades of teaching, program management and systems development experiences. He is a certified Master Composter and a certified Master Gardener. He trained in advanced compost techniques with Soil Food Web expert Dr. Elaine Ingham, PhD.