Tags >> environment
May 14
2010

Energy Bills & Climate Protection

Posted by Bruce Robinson in waste , transportation , speaker , Sonoma County , resources , politics , policy , nonprofit orgs , Green , government , go green , events , environment , economy , Congress , climate change , carbon , California , alternative energy , activism

Bruce Robinson

There’s a legislative brawl brewing over national energy policy and climate change. The 6th annual Climate Protection Everybody Profits Conference in Sebastopol laid out a preview of where those battle lines are being drawn.

Since 2005, every local government in Sonoma County has signed on to a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 25% below 1990 levels by 2015. But progress toward that goal has been elusive. And while a comprehensive local plan to move this county in that direction has been developed, Ann Hancock (left) , Executive Director of the Climate Protection Campaign, points out that local actions alone will not be effective.

The graph below breaks down where those local emissions are coming from. As solar photovoltaic systems and other measures bring down the shares attributable to residential and commercial energy use, the relative proportion of transportation emissions has increased.

The CLEAR (Carbon Limits and Energy for American Renewal )Act was introduced jointly by Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Susan Collins (R-ME) in 2009, an indication of early bipartisan backing for the “cap and dividend” measure. Peter Barnes, Senior Fellow at the Tomales Bay Institute in Point Reyes Station sees multiple reasons why that approach could find further support from Republicans in Congress.

May 13
2010

"Traveling Blind"

Posted by Bruce Robinson in recreation , nonprofit orgs , lifestyle , Health , environment , disability , author , animals

Bruce Robinson

The gradual loss of her vision changed Susan Kreiger’s way of being in the world. So, she discovered, did the guide dog who is now her constant companion.

Susan Kreiger’s degenerating vision has forced her to gradually adjust to the absence of abilities she once took for granted, a profound self-redefinition that forms the foundation of her memoir, Traveling Blind, Adventures in Vision with a Guide Dog by My Side.

Blindness is not an all-or-nothing condition, Kreiger explains, and in her case, the vision losses have been especially irregular.

Having lived and worked with her dog for some time now, Kreiger says they have formed a bond unlike any she has had with other dogs in her life.

Susan Kreiger  will read from her book, Traveling Blind, at Book Passage  in Corte Madera on Sunday afternoon at 4 pm. You can read excerpts here. Further information about guide dog schools can be found by visiting Guide Dogs for the Blind and the guide dog schools page of the American Council of the Blind.

Apr 22
2010

Luther Burbank's Farm

Posted by Bruce Robinson in volunteer , trees , Sonoma County , Sebastopol , research , parks , nonprofit orgs , history , food , farms , environment , California , agriculture

Bruce Robinson

Luther Burbank’s greenhouse is an icon of Santa Rosa, but the famed horticulturalist actually did most of his ground-breaking work at another site—his 18 acre Goldridge Farm in Sebastopol.

Burbank is justly renowned for his botanical innovations, but not everything he worked with was a success. In fact, explains horticultural historian Bob Hornback, Burbank also is the source of two highly conspicuous “escapees” that are now ubiquitous in our local landscape, including the one shown here.

The Open House at Goldridge Farm this weekend is part of the annual Sebastopol Apple Blossom Festival, which primarily celebrates the area’s Gravenstein orchards. Hornback says that was one variety of apple that Luther Burbank didn’t do much with, although he did create the later-ripening Winterstein variety (seen in photo).

With hundreds of new fruit varieties, vegetables and ornamental plants and flowers to his credit, Burbank’s farm (including the cottage, as seen in this drawing) was the scene of constant multiple experiments, graftings and new hybrids. During so much required maintaining detailed records, says Hornback, which is something Burbank doesn’t get enough credit for doing.

 

 

Mar 30
2010

Proposition 16 and Local Electricity

Posted by Bruce Robinson in solar , politics , nonprofit orgs , Green , environment , election , climate change , carbon , California , alternative energy

Bruce Robinson

Buried among the ballot measures in California’s June 8th primary election is one that could define the future of electricity in our state.

Finding land for sprawling solar trough farms, such as the one seen below, is often less difficult than securing routes for the transmission lines to carry the electricity from the generation site to the population centers that need it.

The electoral process is only beginning to unfold, but as the power behind placing Proposition 16 on the ballot, PG&E is certainly prepared to spend big to get it passed. Ann Hancock, Executive Director of the  Climate Protection Campaign notes that the utility has not been bashful about funding similar moves in the past.

Marin County Supervisors voted narrowly last month to create the Marin Energy Authority, a new and hotly debated distribution entity. that the and Other cities or counties would be blocked from creating such a clean energy facility if Proposition 16 passes, Ann Hancock warns, and MEA’s ability to operate could be severely constrained.

 

Learn about greening our electric supply and the impact of Prop. 16
Wednesday, March 31st from 5:30 to 7:30 PM at the Glaser Center:
547 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa. This event is free and open to all.

Renata Brillinger (left)  of the Climate Protection Campaign will describe ongoing  efforts to green Sonoma County's electric supply and the impact of Proposition 16 - if passed. Proposition 16 will be on the June 2010 ballot. It  would enact a constitutional amendment requiring a two-thirds vote of any community before spending public money to investigate or implement non-profit power options such as municipalization or Community Choice Aggregation.  Co-sponsors: Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Santa Rosa - Seventh Principle Working Group and League of Women Voters Sonoma County

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