Editorial: Officials and residents striving to keep Lake Tahoe blue-green | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Editorial: Officials and residents striving to keep Lake Tahoe blue-green

Keep Tahoe Blue.

Or is that Green?

These days, it is a lot of both.

Lake Tahoe Community College, the Lake Tahoe Unified School District, the city of South Lake Tahoe and area builders all have jumped on the environmental bandwagon.

Kudos to all of them.

The college will offer a spring-quarter class called “Introduction to Green Building and Green Living.” According to LTCC Wilderness Education Director Rosie Hackett, the class will introduce students to green lifestyles by teaching them to make choices with environmental consequences in mind.

Hackett dismisses the notion that the green movement might just be a trend: “It can’t be a trend,” she said recently. “Our resources are depleting, and we need to do something different.”

Students in the innovative class will learn to think critically about their choices. As they shop, for instance, they’ll need to consider where products originate, production methods and how products were transported.

As college officials gauge the success of this first class, they’ll consider offering a green program in the future.

The school district has proposed its own green curriculum. The South Tahoe High School Green Academy project would focus on teaching students trades in green construction, auto mechanics and technology.

The project – which would cost $12 million, with $6 million from matching-grant funds – could become reality if two-thirds of voters approve Measure A on the June ballot. A property tax of $38.70 per $100,000 of the assessed value of a property would fund much of the project.

Not to be outdone, the city is vying to grab a big chunk of money from the state of California to develop “sustainable communities.” City officials are compiling a list documenting the city’s efforts to be environmentally conscious and how it wants to continue the process in the future.

The city can point to plans for expanding the South Tahoe Refuse recycling operation, its stormwater master plan and its proposal to improve 56 acres of public land in the Rufus Allen Boulevard area.

Among available state funds are $90 million for land-use planning through Proposition 84, which voters passed in 2006.

Local builders are promoting green-building concepts in a big way. Environmentally-conscious builders contend that homes built using green techniques use less energy, fewer natural resources and fewer toxic chemicals – and are indistinguishable from traditionally built homes.

According to most estimates, though, green construction techniques and sustainable building materials can add from several hundred to several thousand dollars to the price of the home.

But certified local green builder Geoff Clarke, who owns Natural Energy Designs Inc., offered options during a presentation last week at an environmental open house with El Dorado County Supervisor Norma Santiago.

The Tahoe Business Expo this week also will emphasize green building. Attendees will learn about local green services and products and hear speakers address topics relating to business and the environment.

The expo is from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday at MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa.

See you there.

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