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United States

Berkeley lead in California marketing push

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Seven Episcopal churches in the San Francisco area are now committed to buying green power. The governing board of All Souls Episcopal Church of Berkeley, about 15 miles east of San Francisco, voted unanimously late last month to buy power for its church from Green Mountain Energy Resources. Last year the Episcopal Diocese in the San Francisco area voted to recommend that all parishes and churches conserve power and buy green electricity. The Diocese now organises the effort through its Regeneration Project. Also in Berkeley, the University Students' Co-operative Association (USCA) is switching its facilities to 100% renewable electricity, also from Green Mountain. The association, the largest college student housing co-operative in North America, is the first student group in California to start buying green electricity. It houses 1700 students in 17 houses and three apartment buildings. "When we purchase power from power plants that burn coal or generate radioactive waste, there are health costs and global environmental consequences that we usually do not see or recognise as consumers," says Sarah Robinson of USCA. "Since the USCA is organised democratically, student members get the opportunity to actually vote -- translating our concern for the environment in a real, practical way." The USCA has also pledged to educate other student organisations and co-ops across California about the importance -- and simplicity -- of switching to a green electricity provider.

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