Consumer environmentalism or system change?

Are Menlo Park willing to make the changes required to really mitigate global warming and peak oil? The city has signed onto the US Mayor’s Climate Change agreement, vowing to reduce greenhouse gases, and has city staff and community members engaged in efforts to identify ways to get greener.
It seems like the most popular tactics are green buying on behalf of households, businesses and the city. It’s a fairly wealthy community, and people seem excited by the prospect of solar roofs and pools, greener lighting, cars and driveways. These things aren’t trivial. New technologies and processes need early adopters. It’s great to be in a community that’s willing to experiment.
But will people really get behind the lifestyle and land use changes needed to make the biggest dent in fossil fuel use? As in, drive less. Cars are the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions, and the biggest consumers of oil. In order to really mitigate global warming and peak oil, people need to drive less, and that means less sprawl and better transit.
Infill development and public transit are much more controversial. For a newcomer, it’s hard to tell how much is sincere concern that useful changes won’t be a bad deal for neighborhoods, and how much is just plain nimbyism.

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