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KQED in San Francisco Goes Carbon Neutral

As of March 5, KQED has made environmental history as the only broadcaster in the country to be carbon neutral. On April 21, KQED will conduct a ‘green’ pledge day to support the station’s effort to neutralize the entire year’s worth of carbon emissions, as a first step to eliminating its negative climate footprint.

“The way KQED serves the community has evolved greatly over its 50 plus year history,” Don Derheim, executive vice president of Northern California Public Broadcasting, said. “Being carbon neutral is another way of serving and better sharing the planet with KQED audiences, members, volunteers, and staff.

“Public media has a responsibility to distribute programs, thoughts and ideas that may not be popular or commercially viable. In the same way, our stand as the first carbon neutral broadcaster will resonate with some and may not with others. Like everything we do at KQED, being green isn’t prompted by popular opinion or short-term economic viability.”

KQED has established a baseline reading of its carbon emissions, by determining the amount of energy used in is daily operations, from its production vans, to its transmitter towers, to the electricity used in its building. Carbon credits of the same amount were then purchased from the Chicago Climate Exchange, to promote energy efficiencies in other companies, or to be used towards renewable energy sources like wind power and bio-gas.

In addition to going carbon neutral, KQED has implemented responsible environmental practices for several years. With a daily shuttle for employees that runs between KQED and the nearest BART station, KQED encourages the use of public transportation. A charter member of the Business Energy Coalition since 2005, KQED was recognized by PG&E and The Energy Coalition as a leader in demand response for San Francisco and California.

Since 1991, the organization’s direct mail notices have been printed on recycled paper—a standard practice for KQED’s mailings whenever possible. KQED’s internal Green Team has led the way, partnering with Friends of the Urban Forest to plant trees around the building to provide shade in 1994, encouraging recycling throughout the KQED facility, as well as working with vendors to decrease the amount of paper being used in the building. KQED’s newest generation of copiers, for instance, allows users to scan and email directly to recipients, instead of the usual duplication and distribution.

KQED seeks donations and matching challenge grants from “green” companies during this pledge day. Every member gift or company donation encourages the station to continue exploring new, environmentally friendly methods of operating. With contributions from companies such as Elephant Pharmacy in Berkeley, Worldwatch Institute, Environmental Magazine, and, KQED heralds the beginning of “green memberships” and all-green pledge gifts. Special KQED hemp/cotton shopping bags will be made available for those pledging over $40. New members will be sent the green KQED cling sticker to show their support of our environmentally friendly public broadcasting.

KQED will continue to bring even more information, resources, examples, and products that encourage environmental responsibility to our members and audiences. Climate change and global warming are some of the topics explored on KQED through radio and television programs like QUEST, Jean-Michel Cousteau: Ocean Adventures, Science Friday, and Forum with Michael Krasny. From Sunday April 15, to Sunday April 22, KQED will extend its Earth Day celebration with over a week of environment-related television and radio programming. For more details, please visit For more information on reducing and offsetting carbon emissions and purchasing carbon credits, visit Bay Area nonprofit DriveNeutral at