Each year, SLO Climate Coalition honors a local individual whose work has impacted climate solutions. The 2021 Climate Champion Award was recently granted to a power couple – Janine Kennel Rands and Barry Rands.
Transportation and waste are two of the largest challenges in decarbonization. Barry and Janine Rands truly exemplify climate champions by their consistent and tireless work over many years in their areas of expertise: Electric Vehicles and Zero Waste.
Barry Rands is one of the original members of the SLO Climate Coalition and leads its Green Transportation Team. He has worked with SLO City on an Electric Mobility Roadmap, placement and functionality of chargers, and cycling infrastructure.
Barry has been the lead organizer of National Drive Electric Week events in San Luis Obispo for the past four years. In the early days of the pandemic in 2020, Barry produced a series of virtual events. This past year, Drive Electric Week included both virtual and in-person events. There was a series of bilingual webinars, a SLO Farmers Market Electric Vehicle (EV) Showcase, and a Ride & Drive EV event at Madonna Inn. Barry works closely with national, regional and local partners, bringing in sponsors and grants to make these events free to the public. He arranges for the speakers and orchestrates publicity.
Barry is an EV mentor, assisting those interested in buying an EV, keeps up to date on the various incentives and rebates available, and guides buyers through the process.
Barry has driven electric vehicles for eight years. He is also an avid cyclist and Board member of the SLO Bike Club.
Janine Kennel Rands is a staunch advocate for zero waste and has been key to changing our local plastic policies. She promotes regulations to limit single-use disposables and polystyrene at city, county, and state levels. When an ordinance comes up for public discussion, Janine is able to generate a roomful of people – and/or numerous emails – to provide public comment. When ordinances are passed, her work is not over. She spreads the word to businesses and follows up to assure compliance.
Janine has been successful at reducing the sale of single-use commodities, but she also works to reduce the demand for these items. Janine started “Tableware Share – Lend A Dish” service in 2018 which provides washable plates, glassware, cutlery, and linens for group events. The host thus avoids the expense and waste of throw-away tableware.
Another of Janine’s passions is assisting people with the set-up of composting worm farms. Personal kitchen waste creates organic fertilizer.
Janine is a Santa Lucia Chapter Sierra Club Board member and serves as the zero waste liaison. She is also a member of the SLO Bike Club and SLO Skiers, helping to make events zero waste. In 2019, she was given the Environment Award by the Far West Ski Association for her zero waste advocacy in club activities and at the ski resorts.
Janine and Barry are avid naturalists who think and act consistently in conscious awareness of their carbon footprint. This electrifying couple deserves this award for their years of effective activism in our corner of the world!