Berkeley, Calif., goes all crazy with the green ideas

Six months ago, voters in Berkeley, Calif., overwhelmingly approved a measure to reduce the city’s emissions 80 percent by 2050. Now proposals have been laid out to accomplish that goal, including requiring builders to use green materials, making landlords provide free bus passes to tenants, informing residents of the size of their carbon footprint, and helping sun-ergize every roof in the city. Berkeleyites’ personal behavior will also be held to a high standard, with incentives provided for walking to work, buying local food, saving energy, and BYOB (bag, that is). Some concerns have risen that residents may have overestimated their own hippie-ness: folks who will gladly welcome a car-share vehicle on every block may balk at being required to upgrade appliances and install more-efficient insulation at their own expense. But Mayor Tom Bates isn’t concerned: “People are willing to make these lifestyle changes, and the cumulative effort will add up. It’s not rocket science. We can do this.”