Palo Alto’s Sustainability Journey: Past, Present, and Future

October 2018

Palo Alto’s Sustainability Journey

SIP Icons 2018 crop

Palo Alto’s Sustainability Journey: Past, Present and Future

Reflections from Gil Friend, Chief Sustainability Officer

When City Manager Jim Keene hired me five years ago as Palo Alto’s Chief Sustainability Officer, he charged me to help advance the City’s long commitment to sustainability initiatives into a focused and world-leading climate strategy. With my departure from the City at the end of the month, and in the wake of the latest IPCC climate report, the City Manager asked that I summarize and reflect on Palo Alto’s amazing sustainability journey – both accomplishments and the substantial challenges ahead. This is still a work in progress, but I hope you will join me on Thursday, November 1 from 4 to 6 p.m. at Palo Alto City Hall’s Community Meeting Room to hear more during my “farewell celebration.”

Follow this link to read the highlights: Palo Alto's Sustainability Journey

Global Climate Action Summit

Global Climate Action Summit: Lessons learned

Chief Sustainability Officer Gil Friend was a delegate at Governor Brown’s Global Climate Action Summit in September in San Francisco that was attended by more than 5,000 international delegates, with more than 300 affiliated events. At the Cities4Climate kickoff at San Francisco City Hall, 30 mayors shared their commitment to climate and equity, including a commitment to Net Zero Carbon for all new buildings by 2030, a multi-city electric vehicle (EV) buying consortium, equity commitments and more. Gil spoke at two affiliate events: Polycentric (e.g. multi-stakeholder) planning at SPUR, and Germany-California Collaboration (with Mayor Würzner of Palo Alto sister city Heidelberg) at the California Public Utilities Commission.

It was clear from the summit that cities remain very much in the forefront on climate action. Palo Alto remains a leader on many issues, and our peers are advancing faster on some others. The Summit left attendees with a general feeling of cautious optimism, particularly in light of the latest IPCC climate report, and a glimmer of hope that we might actually meet the climate challenge and turn things around.

Palo Alto and Sustainability News of interest

EV Driving on Road

Ride & Learn: Is an Electric Vehicle Right for You?

Tuesday, October 23

4:15 – 5:15 p.m.: EV Showcase

5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.: Panel Discussion

7:30 – 8:00 p.m.: EV Showcase


Mitchell Park Community Center


In partnership with the Stanford Health Improvement Program, the City of Palo Alto Utilities is sponsoring a panel discussion from long-time electric vehicle owners and experts in the industry. Get all your questions answered about driving an electric vehicle and test drive an EV.


The workshop is free and open to the public, but registration is required.


Register here. 

Got Water?

Attend a workshop on Saturday, Oct. 27 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Palo Alto Art Center Auditorium to learn how to identify, troubleshoot, and repair irrigation system problems to save water in your yard. You may qualify for rebates for upgrading your irrigation system and/or replacing high-water using landscape with native plants.

Register here.