Tags >> Sonoma County
Jan 08
2010

After Copenhagen

Posted by Bruce Robinson in youth , waste , technology , Sonoma County , resources , research , protest , politics , policy , nonprofit orgs , news , media , international , Ideas , Green , government , go green , events , environment , employment , education , climate change , carbon , business , alternative energy , activism

Bruce Robinson

A Santa Rosa social activist has returned from the climate summit in Copenhagen eager to implement some new ideas, and with a deeper appreciation for Sonoma County’s actions on the issue.

In addition to the most visible benefits of her trip, Evelina Molina says it also served to reinforce an important message for the youth she works with at the North Bay Institute of Green Technology, which she recently co-founded in Santa Rosa.

Seeing what other nations and local communities around the world are doing to address climate change was inspiring, says Molina. But it also changed her perspective on what is being done here at home.

Evelina Molina, Kevin Danaher,  and Sean Holt will be part of a panel, moderated by Norman Solomon, that will report back to the local community on the experience and outcomes of the Copenhagen Climate Conference. The free public session will be at the Finley Community Center (2060 West College at Stony Point) in Santa Rosa on Saturday, Jan 9, 2-4:30 pm.

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.

Jan 04
2010

Elder Financial Abuse

Posted by Bruce Robinson in Sonoma County , seniors , rights , public safety , poverty , nonprofit orgs , news , Napa , Marin , law enforcement , justice , finances , families , education , economy , California , aging , activism

Bruce Robinson

The recession can be a triple threat to the financial security of seniors. Not only are their savings shrinking, family members may have crucial needs, while unscrupulous predatory sales operations that target elders are on the upswing.

The Elder Financial Protection Network has collaborated with NBC Bay Area to create the television documentary “Be Wise, Be Aware,” which was first broadcast on Jan 3, 2010. Much of that program’s power comes from its first-person case histories, but Jenefer Duane, the EFPN’s founder and CEO (below), says it isn’t easy to find such people who are willing to come forward and tell their stories.

Duane founded the Elder Financial Protection Network in 1999, but she’s been working on senior advocacy issues much longer. It’s a calling she traces back to her childhood, growing up in Corte Madera.

A good resource for finding assistance when you suspect instances of senior abuse or fraud is the National Eldercare Locator. There are additional resources here on the EFPN website.

The North Bay Report previously reported on this issue on October, 2008.

Dec 23
2009

Vanishing Soundscapes

Posted by Bruce Robinson in weather , Sonoma County , Science , research , open space , media , environment , education , climate change , birds , art , animals

Bruce Robinson

The sounds of the natural world are changing, and not for the better. Bernie Krause (left)  has tapes that document that trend.

While Krause has been recording and tracking the changes in aural environments around the world over the past several decades for his business, Wild Sanctuary, he has also been observing the concurrent changes in the soundscape around his Glen Ellen home. And he’s been astonished by what he’s found.

Just as the soundscapes have been changing over time, so has the recording equipment Krause uses. Digitization, he says, has made his professional life much easier.