Tags >> design
Jun 10

Marin Recycling

Posted by Bruce Robinson in waste , technology , resources , Marin , environment , economy , design , conservation , business

Bruce Robinson

With 30-plus years of experience, Marin County is a leader in recycling. Which means they have done the easy things already and are now tackling some of the most challenging aspects of reducing the overall waste stream.


At the huge indoor Marin Recycling and Resource Recovery center, near the bay shoreline in San Rafael, a house-sized, Rube Goldberg-like system of interlocking machines ingests mixed recycleables (above). They are sorted and segregated mechanically as much as possible, before the final step (below), where work crews reach in to make the final decisions


 Recycling organic household waste is one of the next big challenges facing companies like Marin Sanitary, but spokeswoman Devi Peri says there are compelling reasons to work toward diverting those materials from landfills.


 Recycling has a long and progressive history in Marin County, which Devi Peri summarizes.



May 17

Transition US

Posted by Bruce Robinson in Sebastopol , resources , policy , planning , nonprofit orgs , Ideas , families , economy , design , community , activism

Bruce Robinson

In agriculture and business, the byword these days is sustainability. But for towns and communities, a new local non-profit, Transition US, is urging an emphasis on the parallel strategy they term "resilience."

 The process of creating these new Transitions begins with just a few people, explains Carolyne Stayton, and grows from there.

 Carolyne Stayton (right) is the interim Executive Director of Transition US. She is adept at aligning community activities towards unified goals, a skill honed from over thirty years of working with nonprofit organizations and educational institutions. She has successfully galvanized communities around various social issues and has particular expertise in program development, participative leadership and "learning" organizations. Her background includes serving as Director of New College's North Bay Campus for Sustainable Living, an innovative educational institution that promoted advanced studies in leadership, community-building and developed the nation's first "green" MBA program. Carolyne has a master's degree in Nonprofit Administration, resides in Sebastopol, California and is passionate about stewardship and protection of the natural world.

Creating transitional communities is a fairly new idea, Stayton says, with a correspondingly short history.

  There's a more detailed history here:


May 11

Affordable Foreclosures

Posted by Bruce Robinson in Sonoma , planning , nonprofit orgs , housing , government , finances , families , events , environment , design , construction

Bruce Robinson
 Residential foreclosures can pose an opportunity for local government and agencies to increase the amount of affordable housing in their communities.

 The federal government's one-size-fits-all approach to the mortgage meltdown will not work everywhere in the country, says Erik Sten (right), a former City Commissioner in Portland, Oregon. He believes a more diversified strategy will be required.

 Erik Sten was in Santa Rosa to speak at the Leadership Breakfast for the Sonoma County Housing Coalition, the kick-off event for their Affordable Housing Week . The Coalition has a full schedule of events planned throughSaturday, May 16.

Erik Sten's new enterprise is Further Development LLC, a start-up that is now gathering capital for a demonstration project to intercede and help overextended homeowners avoid foreclosure.



Apr 19

Sun Train

Posted by Bruce Robinson in transportation , technology , Science , Santa Rosa , policy , planning , news , Marin , jobs , Ideas , government , environment , economy , design , construction , climate change , carbon , business , author , alternative energy

Bruce Robinson

 The North Bay is finally on its way to getting passenger rail service rolling again. But what if it used solar and hydrogen fuel cell technology to be non-polluting and carbon-free?


This artist's conception of a future Sun Train was drawn by David Vasquez, who used it as the cover illustration for his book, Mr. Swan's Big Idea, which details and sets out a case for this forward-looking  update of passeger rail travel. He notes that building a new rail system is an expensive undertaking, but Vasquez urges putting the costs into perspective by comparing them highway construction.

America has a proud history of rail service reaching back more than a century, notes David Vasquez (right), but much of that has been forgotten as other modes of transportation took precedence.


Mr. Swan's Big Idea  is built on the concepts developed by architect and rail advocate Christopher Swann (left) , whose on recent book, Electric Water, concentrates on his vision of a future hydrogen-based economy.

   David Vasquez will present a multi-media slideshow about the Sun Train concept at Aqus Cafe in Petaluma , on Wednesday, April 22, 6:30 - 8:30 pm.



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