Ample Wants to Swap Your EV Batteries, Menlo Spark!, Four Good Christian Responses to “Code Red for Humanity”

by | Nov 18, 2021 | Podcasts, The Climate Daily

Menlo Park? You mean, Menlo Spark! Plus it’s time to Ample battery-swapping technology, the Jiffy Lube for EVs? And Four Good Christian Responses to the IPCCC “Code Red for Humanity” Report.



Did you know that small communities—those with populations between 10 and 100 thousand people are responsible for up to four times more GHG emissions than cities with populations of greater than half a million?

That shocking statistic motivated citizens of Menlo Park, CA to form Menlo Spark. It’s a nonprofit collaboration of local government, businesses, and residents helping Menlo Park become climate neutral by 2025. The concept is based on the premise that the quickening pace of climate change is harming community health, finances and its natural spaces.

Menlo Spark’s vision “combines financing of what already makes economic sense, piloting forward-thinking approaches and changing incentive for every business and resident to help ourselves succeed.”  

Alex McIntyre, Menlo Park City Manager said, “To the extent that we can be that community that achieves its climate action plan goals, that’s tremendous.”

Diane Bailey, Menlo Park Executive Director, added, “I think this is an incredible opportunity to prove that small cities like Menlo Park can really be a part of the change that we need.” 

How does Menlo Spark do it? It worked with the city government to adopt a Zero Waste Ordinance in 2017. It is working with Menlo Park citizenry and Peninsula Clean Energy to assist homeowners replace natural gas heating and appliances with clean electric models.

As Menlo Spark takes shape, so do its successes. And this is why Menlo Spark matters to us. It achieved installation of solar panels on over 800 roofs, reduced community energy use by 13%, and helped the community purchase over 850 electric vehicles. The website even has webpages dedicated to stories of local Menlo Park climate action heroes. In other words, it’s a great template for other small communities to adapt.

Oh, and a special shout out to my college classmate and The Climate Daily listener, Sandy L.C. from Menlo Park who shared Menlo Spark with us!

DEEPER DIVE: Menlo Spark, MSProspectus, Carbon Free Palo Alto


Ample is a San Francisco startup focused on electric vehicle battery swapping. Ample’s mission is to accelerate the transition to electric mobility by offering an energy delivery solution that is as fast, as convenient, and as cheap as gas while being powered by 100% renewable energy.

It does so by deploying battery swap technology. Now instead of having to find a charging station and enjoy a book while your vehicle recharges, Ample’s concept uses modular battery swapping technology. The idea is to drive your EV into an Ample station, just like old combustion engine vehicles drive into say, a Jiffy Lube. But instead of an oil change, it’s a battery swap.

The company claims its combination of people and machines can deliver 100% charge to any EV in under 10 minutes. And once discharged battery modules are removed from the car, they are placed on shelves so that they can be charged and ready for the next vehicle.

And this is why Ample, the company, matters to us: A quicker way to an all EV future is to standardize batteries and to make them swappable. There’s a precedent for that—way back in the old days, car-makers had to standardize their motors to accept a limited range of fuels. That led to widespread adoption of the gas fueling station networks in existence today.

People believe in the concept. And by “people,” I mean folks like the ride services company Uber. The two have partnered up to offer battery swapping services initially to Uber drivers in California, with plans to expand the partnership to Europe. It also is entering the Japanese market in partnership with Eneos, a Japanese petroleum company. Clearly they see the writing on the wall.

Big name venture capitalists are getting in on the deal, too. We’re just waiting for Tesla and Audi and Toyota and GM and Ford and Volvo to get on board….

DEEPER DIVE: Ample, Ample Series C, Reuters, Charged EV Magazine



When I think of Joliet, IL, two images come to mind–Joliet Prison and The Blues Brothers. Well, Jake Blues was released from Joliet back in 1980, and the prison itself closed permanently in 2002.

So thanks to ShaRon (not sharon, ShaRon) in Joliet, we’ve got a new thing to associate with Joliet, IL–the Forest Preserve District of Will County–aka

The mission of the Forest Preserve District is protecting, conserving, enhancing and promoting Will County’s natural heritage for the educational, recreational and environmental benefit of present and future generations.

Will County’s Forest Preserve District comprises 5 facilities throughout, so it’s pretty extensive. One way the website connects Will County, IL’s natural world with residents and others farther afield with nature is through its Virtual Programs webpage. I was particularly fond of, “I Am a Monarch (butterfly): I Speak for the Pollinators.” There’s also a monthly FB/YouTube nature show, “Our Buzz.”

Why does matter to us? Well, it’s in the name. Thanks to the internet we don’t have to book a flight to discover the beauty of other areas of the planet…yes, I know as soon as I said it, how it sounded… but you get my drift. The more we know about the natural world near and far, the more likely we’re to become invested in saving it.

DEEPER DIVE:, I Am a Monarch…



At The Climate Daily, we understand that climate change affects everything—our work, our lives, our psyches, our environments, even our religion and spirituality.  That’s why we look for people and organizations taking action to help us deal with climate change responsibly everywhere.

One such place was in Premier Christianity magazine, “The UK’s leading Christian magazine,” according to its website. An opinion piece written by Ruth Valerio and Charles Bakolo describes “four things Christians must do” in response to the IPCCC report’s recent “Code Red for Humanity” pronouncement.

Here’s why this matters to us. The four responses Valerio and Bakolo outline are four things worthy of all of us doing, regardless of our faith, or lack thereof.

They are:

  • Respond with lament—offering this response is an offer to let people feel fully the nagging, uncomfortable, subconscious ache arising from many simultaneous emotions. For example, Solastalgia—the loss of sense of place while having not left that place—think the weirdness you might feel when it’s November and it still feels like late summer in your neck of the woods; or confusion from inability to comprehend a heat dome over the PacificNorthWest, followed by a cyclone/hurricane a few months later in the PNW—a place where such a thing has never happened, ever.
  • Respond with repentance—Valerio and Bakolo remind Christians that climate change is an “outworking of a global system built on overconsumption and greed,” and choosing to step away from the old ways and follow Jesus “who created this world.” Our point is other faiths, agnostic or atheist can all take this response to remember we share the Earth with every living thing on it. It’s not ours to destroy as we please…even if we don’t please…
  • Respond with action—IOW, we must live responsibly and intentionally; we must act as if we are all the same family, we must lift all of us up together, and most of all…
  • Respond together—we must compete together, working on the belief that our actions have good consequences and lasting effects.

DEEPER DIVE: Premier Christianity, Climate Emergency Toolkit