Stopping Climate Change Requires Doing, Not Studying

A $1.1 billion donation to Stanford seeks to mitigate climate change. As impressive as that gesture is, the real solutions to climate change lie in hearts and minds around the world—and not in Palo Alto, California.

August 4, 2022, 8:00 AM PDT

By Josh Stephens @jrstephens310


Palo Alto is not where climate change activism needs to focus. | Sundry Photography / Shutterstock

“I don’t doubt that an institution like Stanford will produce important work with those funds. And yet, the idea of fighting climate change by cloistering it in an ultra-exclusive institution, in a region that is already well versed in the ravages of climate chance, seems to miss the mark.”

“Dating back to the days of 'An Inconvenient Truth,' the state adopted a raft of laws and regulations designed to promote dense development. They include AB 32 (greenhouse gas reduction), SB 375, (dense development and coordination between land use and transportation), SB 743 (reducing vehicle miles traveled), and others—all of which take aim, in some way or another—at the carbon-intensive landscape that California built in the 20th century and on the types of fuels we use.”

“Despite having a darn good model of dense urbanism at the northern end of the San Francisco Peninsula, the cities of the South Bay exemplify what not to do. They rely on freeways and wide boulevards. They celebrate single-family homes and denigrate density. They price out almost all workers below executive level, forcing them to drive in or take infamous 'Google Buses' and the like. For people who deal in futuristic nano-scale technology, the carbon footprint of the typical Silicon Valleyite is more like that of a brontosaurus.”

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