A recent announcement from the environmental Council of Sacramento described a workshop to enable people to learn about land use planning in Sacramento County. It suggested that "Many people who want to participate in local planning processes are unsure when and how to do so to have the greatest impact." I am a former ECOS president who spent some time after moving to Hawaii ten years ago in my own attempt to answer that same question. My 60+ page story, "What can one person do?" can be downloaded here. It is not just my story. The paper highlights important involvements many individuals have had in Sacramento environmental planning over the past twenty years.


What Can One Person Do? (Environmental Activism in Sacramento) -66 pages



To E-mail Tom Whitney






I invite your comments by email for now: whitneye001@hawaii.rr.com. We will work to set up a blog that could perhaps unfold in a space like this.
First, I would be very interested in any comments on my paper. There are many perspectives from which to view the issues that face environmentalists and the citizens of Sacramento who want to live in healthy neighborhoods,
and it is important for all sides to know all the arguments and problems.
By understanding one another we can arrive at solutions everyone will work to honor - such is my ideal, and what I worked for in Sacramento. Some may consider this a hopelessly naive idea in todays harsh political clilmate, but I consider it smart, and what reasonable people want to accomplish. I learned - that I have much to learn, and I sincerely welcome comments, which I hope to eventually turn into a book perhaps, with many co-authors: all of you readers and commenters who were involved in the activities described in the paper.

Protected 7-million-tire pile in California burned completely after a lightning strike back in 1999.

Even the best of intentions can come to no good end. In Westley, California, near Modesto many years an enterprising man had collected the largest tire pile in the world. Tires were trucked from all over California and stored in a huge pile that was protected from vandalism behind a high guarded fence. The pile eventually came to number more than 7 million tires at the time this picture was taken by me. One unfortunate day in September,1999, lightning struck and the tires ignited. It took thirty days to control the fire.

Electric and hybrid vehicles are the future.
I was an "early adopter" and purchased this sweet Danish "City El" electric vehicle when It became available. It was perfect for Sacramento. It moved at 35 m.p.h and handled mid-town travel for one passenger just fine. I joined the Electric Vehicle club at SMUD that Ruth MacDougal coordinated. The experience offered great insight as to how the auto industry evades regulation. General Motors developed their excellent EV1, they pre-empted the field, and then dropped it like a hot potato.

Travel to other lands brings important perspectives.
Travel is important for a mature view of the world. In Sacramento in the 1990s we were promoting transit-oriented development. For U.S. developers it was a new concept. This is why world travel can be important. You can see that transit villages exist in other parts of the world, as shown here in this photograph taken in Holland. Also remarkable was the lack of fences in agriculture areas, which as you can see here extended right up to the high rises. They do Western Civilization pretty well over there!

My travels to Paris and London helped get some state buildings efficiently located in downtown Sacramento! The subway maps from those cities show the routes in different colors. This inspired the map I created when the state was planning to consolidate its office buildings in the downtown Sacramento area in the most environmentally friendly manner. I showed each bus route into the downtown area in a different color. Regional Transit administrators at the time did not want to use my concept of multicolored routes into downtown because they were worried that it would seem that light rail was not being efficient. I had to obtain special permission to work after hours on my own time to create these maps.

Numbers matter when individual citizens propose alternatives. For years my job at Regional Transit had been to create the bus schedule books and route maps for Regional Transit. I was not employed as a planner. RT Planning gave testimony with vague generalizations. Using my schedule book I counted the number of times busses and light rail stopped throughout each day within three blocks of each proposed location for a state office site. The CalEPA building shown in the photograph here was ranked 2nd in my list. Also built was the building that ranked 3rd. My map and graph were reproduced in many of the proposals (which I allowed for free) for buildings that were high on my list.

The items above are discussed in the downloadable PDF "What Can One Person Do?".











The Dolphin Press motto is mine also: "Teamwork: Together we acheive the extraordinary."