by Anneli Rufus
Mirror, mirror, on the wall: Who's the greenest of them all? No, Berkeley, it's not you. Albany's greener. A study performed last year by UCLA's Institute of the Environment decreed Albany the greenest city in California, based on such factors as the numbers of environmentally friendly structures and vehicles and the number of Green Party voters. This Sunday, May 17, the winning town shows how it's done at the first annual Green Albany Day , a free festival featuring hands-on activities, booths, food, and a full schedule of workshops such as "Detox Your Home" and "Your Sustainable Garden."
The festival's high point will be the unveiling of of Albany's Climate Action Plan to the community. This plan, aimed at further lowering the town's carbon footprint, includes ideas on recycling, transportation, and energy conservation. Festival participants can engage in immediate electronic polling to record their opinions and other feedback about the plan.
As a benefit for youth culinary programs, local high-school students will prepare a gourmet meal including organic-beef chili, chocolate brioche, and hand-cranked ice cream. Local teens will also break ground for a community garden on festival day, with lessons for younger children on how to plant seeds and care for sprouts.
Albany is unusual among American towns in that it has an official Sustainability Committee, whose seven members are tasked with advising the City Council on policies and programs.