By Matt Wilson, @WilsonSTComms

Let’s face it; Earth Day should be a much bigger deal than it really is. Given that it’s a celebration of the thing that sustains every single one of our lives and every single thing we see, touch, eat and glance at, I’d say it should be a full-blown holiday (with holiday pay and doorbuster sales at Macy’s, perhaps?).

Over here in the world of public transit, we’ve been a little bit more contemplative than usual lately about our planet. Here are just a few of the highlights from this week in the run up to the Earth’s big day on Sunday.

APTA Sustainability Award Announcement:

On Monday, April 16, The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) recognized SamTrans and Caltrain with Silver-Level status in the APTA Sustainability Commitment Program for the agencies’ continued achievements in sustainability. Only 12 other transit agencies and businesses nationwide have received this recognition.

As signatories to the program, SamTrans and Caltrain have pledged to implement processes and actions that create continuous improvements in environmental, social and economic sustainability.

You can read the full highlights about what both agencies have done to earn the recognition in our news release.

Resilient Transit Districts:

Also on Monday, April 16, the San Mateo County Transit District got a lunchtime lesson about the importance of preparing for sea-level rise. We were visited by Jasneet Sharma from the County Office of Sustainability and Eliza Berry from SF Bay Conservation & Development Commission (BCDC).

They spoke in the District’s auditorium for an hour about how rising sea levels would impact the county, especially our community assets and transportation infrastructure.  As an agency and as residents, the panel of experts provided opportunities to be more involved and better prepared.

The whole discussion, titled Resilient Transit Districts: Preparing for Sea-Level, can be viewed here.

Commuter Challenge 2018:

Commute.org is suggesting Peninsula residents this spring embrace a “Green Commute.” This doesn’t mean riding around exclusively in green automobiles or, God forbid, replicas of the Griswold Family Truckster, rather as Commute.org puts it a “Green Commute means going to or from work/college using alternate modes of transportation other than driving alone. Alternate modes include walk, bicycle, transit, shuttle, vanpool, carpool, ferry and/or telework. Green commuting reduces personal carbon footprint and traffic congestion.”

And if helping the planet wasn’t motivation enough, people who join the challenge and commute to, from or through San Mateo County using alternative modes of transportation will be eligible to win weekly prizes and one of five grand prizes. Folks can also follow Commute.org on social media and discover additional ways to win prizes. You can share commute photos and stories too.

The challenge is a little over two weeks old and runs through May 31, so there is still plenty of time to win some of those sweet prizes. Register here.

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