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How to make Claremont the ‘coolest’ California city

The CoolCalifornia Challenge, a competition between California cities to motivate and reward residents for reducing their carbon footprints and to build more sustainable communities, just got a little more competitive.

Claremont is currently in first place, but the lead is narrowing. Our friends at Sustainable Claremont encourage residents to “help us stay ahead and increase our share of the $150,000 purse. It’s easy, interesting and takes just a few minutes.”

Every household and business in Claremont can join the CoolCalifornia Challenge by registering at www.CAChallenge.org. As one of the smaller cities in the competition, the points earned will be doubled for Claremont’s overall city points as a population adjustment.

With 22 cities vying for the title of “Coolest California City,” nine mayors and city officials upped the stakes by filming rousing videos to promote the challenge and encourage participation among residents.

Mayor Corey Calaycay did his part to get Claremont residents riled up as he gave suggestions of ways to improve sustainability in Claremont. To see Mr. Calaycay’s video, simply google “Cool California Challenge Corey Calaycay.”

At the end of the challenge on March 30, the city with the highest sustainability points will be crowned “Coolest California City.” The winning city will be recognized during Earth Week, April 21.

All participating cities will receive a portion of a $150,000 prize to support local sustainability projects. The prize money will be given to Sustainable Claremont, our local nonprofit committed to helping Claremont become a more sustainable city.

This year’s participating cities include Claremont, San Mateo, Buellton, Indio, Burlingame, Long Beach, Elk Grove, San Carlos, Lynwood, Martinez, South Pasadena, Redwood City, Huntington Beach, San Pablo, Benicia, Corte Madera, Mill Valley, Sausalito, El Cerrito, Fairfax, Larkspur and Richmond. Current standings of the cities can be found by visiting the challenge website at www.CAChallenge.org.

To get started, visit www.cachallenge.org and click “sign up now.”

When you sign up, you will be asked to enter your name and Claremont address. Be assured that this information will be used only for the challenge and not shared with others. You will also be asked for your email address and a password. Internet Explorer sometimes doesn’t work for sign-ups. Browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, Safari have not had this problem.

Participants earn 250 points just for signing up. Gas and electricity use can be entered immediately after signing up or the information can be entered later. You will need the therms and kilowatt hours used and bill dates for each month reported from October 2015 through March 2016.

You can also enter the type of vehicles you have and odometer readings. If you don’t do that at the time of sign up, the option will be gone when you log in later. It can be restored later by clicking the “Update My Basic Info” tab.

Here are some steps residents and businesses can take to gather up quick points:

1. Report gas and electricity used, and car mileage each month through March 2016. Participants can enter information retroactively to October 2015.

When you log in, you will be taken to the “My Dashboard” page and a box showing Claremont’s rank and the individual points you have earned. Under that box, click on “Update My Usage Info” to enter monthly dates and therms of gas used, kilowatt hours of electricity used and vehicle odometer readings (not miles driven during the period).

2. The easiest way to earn lots of points quickly is to “Make an Action Plan.” The “Things You Can Do” tab offers ways to earn lots of points. There are more than 140 things to do, and you’ll earn you 50 points for each one checked “Completed.” Some are easy things everyone can do, like vowing to take shorter showers. Or you can click on “Review” and write about an action to earn 150 points for each review. Uploading pictures will get you 75 points for each image.

There are many steps to registering but once you get used to the website layout, it’s quite simple to participate.

For help in registering, call (909) 625-8767 ext. 238 or email to info@sustainableclaremont.org. A volunteer at Sustainable Claremont would be more than happy to walk you through the process.

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