Tags >> Sonoma
Jun 16
2009

Energy Efficiency Loans

Posted by Bruce Robinson in Sonoma , solar , legislation , housing , government , finances , environment , economy , construction , conservation , community , climate change , budget , alternative energy

Bruce Robinson

A new county program to help finance solar panels and other energy improvements for existing homes and businesses is up and running, and working out some early kinks in the system.

 

 One important aim of the Sonoma County Energy Independence Program, says John Haig, Sonoma County Energy and Sustainability Manager , is retrofitting the area's existing housing stock and other buildings to boost their energy efficiency.  You can read a general introduction to the program here.

How much will these projects reduce local energy consumption? There are a great many variables that go into that calculation, Haig explains.
 

Information, speakers and exhibits about solar energy and the county's retrofil program will be featured at the free Solar Sonoma County Solar Fair, Saturday, June 20, 11 am to 6 pm at the Finley Center in Santa Rosa. Click here for a full schedule of events.


 

 

Jun 08
2009

Green New Deal

Posted by Bruce Robinson in technology , Sonoma , solar , resources , politics , policy , planning , nonprofit orgs , legislation , jobs , Ideas , government , environment , employment , economy , community , climate change , carbon , business , budget , author , alternative energy , activism

Bruce Robinson

 Almost eighty years ago, President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal helped America climb out of the Great Depression. Now some North Bay activists are promoting a Green New Deal to respond to our current economic crises.

 They state their mission as follows:

The Green New Deal for the North Bay is a grassroots initiative to help transform Marin and Sonoma counties into a resilient community guided by environmental sustainability and economic equity.

During 2009 and early 2010, the Commission on a Green New Deal for the North Bay will seek answers to such questions as:

  • How can we create a sustainable green future that includes economic equity and social justice?
  • How can agendas for economic rights and environmental protection become more integrated and more successful?

To explore such questions, the commission held eight public forums in May and June 2009-in San Rafael, Mill Valley, Point Reyes Station, Novato, Santa Rosa, Sonoma, Sea Ranch, and Petaluma. 

 Having completed this first series of community meetings (notes from some of them can be seen here), Green New Deal co-commissioner Norman Solomon says the comments could be seen to reflect at least a few ideas that were widely shared throughout the region.

During the summer, the commission will assess that community input and schedule public hearings in fall 2009. In those hearings, the commission will hear testimony from experts on such issues as food, housing, water, energy, health care, and social equity.
 The difficulty in reconciling valid but competing interests may be the biggest challenge facing these Green New Deal commission, as those potential conflicts  crop up in such a wide range of issues and circumstances. Solomon cites a recent public meeting in Petaluma at which the hotly disputed new Dutra asphalt plant proposal was being debated as just one example.

 

The commission will communicate its findings, first in draft form and then as a final report, to the public, media outlets, and government officials. To effect change through community participation and public policy, the report will also offer overall specific recommendations for North Bay residents, businesses, community groups, institutions, and government entities.

 The 17  Green New Deal Commissioners who are working to carry out these tasks are:
Co-Chairs
Kiki La Porta
Sustainability Activist, Marketing Communications & Design
Lisa Maldonado
Executive Director of North Bay Labor Council
Will Pier
Water, Fisheries, Waste Management and Ecology Specialist
Norman Solomon
Author and Activist for Social Justice and Peace.

Commissioners
Caroline Banuelos
Olivia Beltran
Steve Burdo
Julie Combs
Rue Furch
Jonathan Frieman
David Keller
Jerry Mander
Judith Newton
Daisy Pistey-Lyhne
Peter Richardson
Ginger Souders-Mason
Carolyne Stayton


Jun 03
2009

Restorative Justice

Posted by Bruce Robinson in teens , Sonoma , public safety , nonprofit orgs , law enforcement , justice , jail , Ideas , government , families

Bruce Robinson

 The threat of punishment may deter crime, but when it doesn't, a new model called Restorative Justice works instead to create healing after the fact.

 There is extensive background information on the basic concepts at the Restorative Resources website,  including an outline of their restorative conference process.  One important outcome of these conferences, says Clifford Amos, can be an opening of awareness and even sensitivity in kids who often have had very little prior experience with such feelings.

 The community circle model that is widely used in restorative justice has its roots in various native cultures around the world, Clifford explains, but New Zealand was the first western culture to seriously attempt to integrate that concept.

 

 Clifford Amos and Restorative Resources will be awarded the 2009 Sonoma County Peacebuilder Award by the local chapter of the Peace Alliance/Campaign for a U.S. Department of Peace. The presentation will be made at"Creating aWorld Beyond Violence," a wine, cheese and chocolate reception to be held Saturday, June , 2-4 pm at the Power Squadron, 789 Hamilton Parkway in Novato.  Reservations and information at (707) 992-0367, evenings or Saturday morning.

 

 


 

May 13
2009

Land Paths

Posted by Bruce Robinson in wildlife , volunteer , Sonoma , resources , recreation , parks , nonprofit orgs , environment , conservation , community engagement , coast , agriculture

Bruce Robinson

The Sonoma County non-profit Land Paths, founded a dozen years ago to help connect urban residents to the natural world around them, is finding that goal taking them in some unexpected new directions.

Landpaths' mission is "to foster a love of the land in Sonoma County," a broad goal that underlies their many day-to-day activities. The common thread among them, observes Executive Director Craig Anderson, is a shared appreciation for the natural world, and a willingness to listen.

 LandPaths offers both a busy list of hikes and other activities , and a wealth of volunteer opportunities such as creating new hiking trails (below).

 They also have a lovely online photo gallery of scenes from Sonoma County's outdoors.