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Jun 18
2010

Natural Capitalism

Posted by Bruce Robinson in waste , speaker , Sonoma County , solar , Santa Rosa , resources , policy , Napa , Marin , jobs , Ideas , Green , environment , economy , current events , climate change , California , business , alternative energy

Bruce Robinson

Capitalism doesn’t have to be an economic system that devours raw materials with massive waste. An advocate of a variant termed “Natural Capitalism” contends it can deliver greater prosperity through increased efficiency and careful stewardship of natural and human resources.

Lovins argues that human productivity could learn a lot from Nature, which is powered almost exclusively by the sun, and leaves no waste that isn’t fuel for some other natural process.

Modern day free marketers often invoke Adam Smith and his “invisible hand” as the guiding principle behind the policies they advocate, including globalism and free trade. But Lovins counters that doing so is a distorted misreading of what Smith actually said.

Reducing or greatly eliminating the enormous amount of waste that is built  into our economy is not enough, but itself, to ensure long-term prosperity. But Lovins says it would be a good start.

Hunter Lovins will be among the speakers at the Solar Energy and Efficiency Fair in Santa Rosa’s Finley Park June 19,from 11am to 5pm. You can get more detailed event information here.

 

Jun 09
2010

Primary Election Results

Posted by Bruce Robinson in women , Sonoma County , politics , Napa , Marin , government , employment , economy , California , business , budget

Bruce Robinson

Mike McGuire and Jill Ravitch  were elected Supervisor and District Attorney  in Sonoma County last night, while the match-ups for November were decided in a number of other contests.

As Noreen Evans has moved up the political ladder, from the Santa Rosa City Council to the State Assembly, and almost certainly to the State Senate in November, she has had a larger population to represent at each step. Her pending move to the far-flung 2nd State Senate District adds a lot of geography, but she says the key issue throughout the area is a familiar one.

The full roster of results in Sonoma County can be found here. For state offices and ballot measures, go here.

 

 

Feb 10
2010

European Grapevine Moth

Posted by Bruce Robinson in vineyards , speaker , Sonoma County , news , Napa , invasive species , farms , environment , California , animals , agriculture

Bruce Robinson

A new foreign insect pest has been found in a north coast vineyard, and extensive trapping is underway to see how widespread the European Grapevine Moth may already be.

The European Vineyard Moth and the Light Brown Apple Moth have a very similar appearance, which isn’t really surprising. As Lucia Varela, an Integrated Pest Management specialist with the University of California Cooperative Extension, explains, both are members of the family of Tortricid moths, which is well known to California agriculture.

Non-native plants and animals that proliferate outside their usual range are often characterized as “invasive” species. Varela prefers the more neutral term, “exotics” to describe the moth pests, but concedes they may well come to be considered invasive, depending on how much of a threat to the area’s vines they become.

This picture shows two tell-tale signs of the European Vineyard Moth, the white “webbing” between the individual grapes, and the shriveled and wrinkled skin, which indicates that the worm has already eaten its way into the fruit.

 

For more information about the European Vineyard Moth, go to the UC Davis Integrated Pest Management website.

 

 

 

 

Jan 05
2010

Vineyard Frost Protection

Posted by Bruce Robinson in wine , weather , water , vineyards , Sonoma County , salmon , resources , policy , Napa , government , fish , farms , environment , conservation , agriculture

Bruce Robinson

Endangered salmon and vineyards vulnerable to frost are both depending on flows in local waterways to protect them, but there isn’t enough water available to serve both competing needs.

 The vines shown at left have been sprayed with water that then freezes around the budding greenery. This protects the vine by holding the enclosed plant material at exactly 32 degrees, when the surrounding air is colder and could damage the new growth.

Frost is usually not a concern to vineyardists in the fall, as the grapes are usually harvested before the weather turns cold. But in the springtime, explains Nick Frey, President of the Sonoma County Winegrape Commission, a cold spell can devastate the vines, leaving them looking like this.

Using stream water for vineyard frost protection is  problematic for local fisheries in several areas in California, says Jeff Miller of the Center for Biological Diversity, but the situation is especially acute in the Russian River’s watershed.

A series of presentations are planned over the next two weeks to alert vineyard owners and growers to the possibility of new rules on water use for frost protection, and begin collecting data on water use for that purpose.  They will be held:

  • Wednesday,  Jan. 6, 4 p.m., at the Kendall Jackson Wine Center, 5007 Fulton Rd. in Fulton
  • Thursday, Jan. 7, 4 p.m., Dutton Pavilion at Santa Rosa Junior College Shone Farm, 7450 Steve Olson Lane, Forestville
  • Friday,  Jan. 8, 10 a.m., Knights Valley Fire Department, 16850 Spencer Lane, Calistoga
  • Friday  Jan. 8, 4 p.m., Healdsburg Community Center at Foss Creek Elementary School, 1557 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg
  • Thursday, Jan. 14, 10 a.m., Dutton Pavilion (see Jan. 7, above)

A summary of the history of this issue, as monitored by the California State Water Resources Control Board, can be found here.

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