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Yahoo’s “greenest city” title eludes San Carlos

By rgordon
Thursday, June 7th, 2007 at 3:10 pm in Uncategorized.

Thanks to a promotion from Internet giant Yahoo!, San Carlos appears to be the second-most “green” city in the country.

Should they usurp the coveted number one spot from Pelzer, S.C. as “America’s Greenest City,” San Carlos will find itself the recipient of a new fleet of ten hybrid taxis. Emblazoned with the Yahoo! logo, of course.

They’re up against some tough competition, what, with the population of Pelzer being a whopping 1,000 – with 35 households and 26 families, according to the 2000 Census – and the town just 0.2 square miles big. San Carlos, you can do it!

The effort is backed by San Carlos Green, a community task force. But before you go running for the pom-pons to cheer them on, the Insider feels obligated to give you a reality check, lest you be misled.

There are no experts here making independent judgments against peer-reviewed criteria about which of America’s cities is undertaking the greatest effort, through reduced greenhouse gas emissions and what-have-you, to save the earth. This, like seemingly everything else in America these days, is a viral marketing scheme based on who can get as many of their neighbors as possible to make a few Web site clicks and try out a few products in the process.

Simply by registering and agreeing to take a pledge to “live a greener lifestyle,” you’ll earn your city 100 credits towards its “greenest city” ranking and get a free compact fluorescent light bulb. By signing up to be a citizen know-it-all for Yahoo! Answers, you’ll earn more credits if your ideas are deemed “Best Answers.” Download Yahoo! oneSearch – the company’s new Web interface for mobile phones – and use it to look-up eco-friendly terms, and voila! More points.

Not surprisingly, two other Bay Area cities have made the top 10. Mill Valley is ranked fourth, and Walnut Creek is ninth. San Francisco is not far behind at 13th.

The promotion lasts until Friday at 11:59 p.m. ET. We wait with bated breath for the results. And sorry, kids – Yahoo! says you have to be at least 13 to enter.

So if San Carlos residents are so good at getting their neighbors to go green use Yahoo! products that have little to do with actually saving the planet, the Insider is curious to know how they’ll figure this one out, should they come out on top:

Who, exactly, is going to drive this fleet of Yahoo! taxis? If you earn San Carlos the most credits, does that mean you become the designated driver, at the beck and call of your neighbors who need a lift?

Or better yet, here’s a question for the green folks of Pelzer:

Why does a town of 0.2 square miles need a fleet of taxis? Wouldn’t it just been more environmentally responsible of all of you to walk?

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