Tags >> environment
Feb 17
2010

Electric Mail Trucks

Posted by Bruce Robinson in transportation , Sonoma County , Science , research , legislation , government , go green , gadgets , environment , design , conservation , Congress , carbon , business , alternative energy , air quality

Bruce Robinson

While the major automakers are getting ready to roll out the next generation of electric cars, a North Bay company is demonstrating how that technology could be applied to such utilitarian vehicles as mail trucks.

Zap—the name is an acronym for “Zero Air Pollution”— recognizes that they are not positioned to compete with major American and international carmakers who are readying electric models for the broad consumer market. But company founder Gary Starr says they are setting their sights on a specific sort of vehicle, and the mail truck prototype is a strong step in that direction.

Zap founder Gary Starr (right) explains the mail truck  gas-to-electric conversion project to North Bay Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey at the company's Santa Rosa workshop on Tuesday, as CEO Steve Schneider (left) looks on. The array of lithium batteries that will power the vehicle instead of a gasoline engine are on the platform in the foreground. (Photo by Margot Duane)

 

 

Feb 16
2010

Project GROW

Posted by Bruce Robinson in youth , volunteer , trees , teens , students , Science , resources , open space , nonprofit orgs , jobs , Green , farms , environment , education

Bruce Robinson

It may take a lifetime to see the results, but students replanting a native oak forest near Glen Ellen are taking the long view.

   Bouverie Preserve 

   Sonoma Valley High School

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Feb 04
2010

Post Carbon Institute

Posted by Bruce Robinson in Sonoma County , Santa Rosa , resources , politics , policy , planning , nonprofit orgs , news , legislation , international , Ideas , Green , government , food , environment , economy , climate change , carbon , business , alternative energy , agriculture , activism

Bruce Robinson

When the Post Carbon Institute was started in 2003, the idea behind its name was a philosophical ideal. Seven years later, it’s become a imminent necessity—one with an accelerating deadline.

Moving into a post-carbon world will require all kinds of changes in the way people live, especially in our high-consumption culture. But Asher Miller (left), Executive Director of the Post Carbon Institute, believes that the necessary adjustments may not prove to be as difficult or disruptive as they may appear at this point in time.

This is Miller's Open Letter to President Obama, in response to his 2010 State of the Union Speech.

Dear President Obama,

Your State of the Union speech last week laudably referenced clean tech and renewable energy several times. We ask that you follow your words with action, by leading the transition to a post-carbon economy and a healthier world.

You also spoke of our need to face hard truths.

Hard truth: Our continued, willful reliance on fossil fuels is making our planet uninhabitable. We are evicting ourselves from the only paradise we’ve ever known.

Hard truth: No combination of current and anticipated renewable sources can maintain our profligate energy usage as the global supply of fossil fuels heads for terminal decline.

For the recently released Searching for a Miracle, Post Carbon Institute Senior Fellow Richard Heinberg conducted a “net energy” analysis of 18 different energy sources (including nuclear and “clean coal”). He concluded that the amount of energy available after accounting for the energy used in extraction and production of those sources is—at our current and anticipated rates of consumption—insufficient to get us “over the hump” to a post-carbon world.

Our 29 Post Carbon Institute Fellows—experts in the leading economic, energy, and environmental issues of the day—all agree that this "net energy" deficit is just one of many interrelated crises shaping the 21st century. Each crisis alone creates formidable challenges; in combination, their complexity admits no simple solution. But given their direness, inaction risks tragedy.

Mr. President, we respect you and your advisors and appreciate the enormity of the dilemmas you and all of us confront. When a great leader frames a great challenge, a resilient people will rise to meet the opportunity. And so we ask, Mr. President, that you tell the American people that we must:

1. Face reality. In a carbon-constrained world, true prosperity comes not from heedless growth, but from shared security, community, and liberty.

2. Prepare for the future. Conservation, with an emphasis on building a green economy and revitalizing struggling communities, offers cost-effective “found” energy, and the most immediate and long-term return on investment.

3. Lead the way. A substantial investment in renewable energy, with an emphasis on distributed solar and wind, offers the best hope for moving to a sustainable economy and environment.

Mr. President, lead us in creating a future worth inheriting. Post Carbon Institute and our Fellows will support you and your team in whatever capacity we can. We believe that the American people, and the world’s people, will support you as well.

With hope,
Asher Miller
Executive Director
Post Carbon Institute

Click here to comment on the letter to President Obama. You can also see the complete list of fellows on the Post Carbon Institute website.