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Oct 05
2009

Jellyfish

Posted by Bruce Robinson in weather , ocean , fish , environment , California , animals

Bruce Robinson

There may be a lot of beached jellyfish on the sand along the coast these days, but that’s primarily  an indicator of a productive year for the strange and ancient creatures.

 

 

Jellyfish occur in many parts of the world, from the tropics to much cooler northern waters, but there are specific types that frequent the northern California coast, such as the "sea nettles" pictured here.

Carl Menard, Director of Aquatic Resources at the U.C.Davis Bodega Bay Marine Laboratory,  says the rich upwelling of nutrients the jellies have been feeding on is not indicative of a possible El Nino in the coming winter, but because of other factors, that can’t be ruled out altogether.

Two other common types of jellyfish often found along the North Coast are the Moon jellies (below left) and the valella valella, which has a sort of "sail" that can catch the breeze on the surface of the sea to propel it. But if it happens to catch on onshore wind, it may end up stranded on a beach.

Oct 01
2009

The Greening of Greensburg

Posted by Bruce Robinson in weather , teens , speaker , solar , planning , housing , government , farms , families , environment , design , construction , community , climate change , carbon , business , alternative energy , activism

Bruce Robinson

Just two years after being leveled by a tornado, Greensburg, a tiny town in the middle of Kansas has become a model for green rebuilding.

Nearly 95% of the town's homes and other buildings were destroyed by the storm, as seen in this photo, taken a week after the tornado hit.

The green rebuilding of Greensburg, Kansas cannot be attributed to an unlikely enclave of progressive thinkers in the American heartland. Rather, says Daniel Wallach, (right) founder and Executive Director of Greensburg GreenTown, the fact this has happened in a small, deeply conservative town makes it even more significant.

FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) was quick to respond to the Kansas tornado that flattened Greensburg, in part to improve their public profile after the Gulf Coast hurricanes. But Wallach says the agency had to be persuaded at length to buy into the green vision that the community shared.

There's an extensive photo gallery of the damange caused by the tornado and the new buildings that have emerged in its wake on one page of the Greensberg GreenTown website. Another page hosts their design competition for eco-friendly homes. "The Chain of Eco-Homes"  has attracted 150 entries, which can be viewed and voted for online. The winnign design will be built as part of the town's ongoing effort to promote itself as "a living science museum" on green consrtruction and muncipal planning.

Sep 30
2009

The Deal for the Dump

Posted by Bruce Robinson in waste , Sonoma County , garbage , environment , conservation , alternative energy , air quality

Bruce Robinson

Even as amended by county supervisors this week, Sonoma County’s plan to sell its dump to a private operator will have to clear some huge hurdles before the deal is done.

If the privatization deal breaks down, says Mike Anderson, Chairman of the Sonoma County Solid Waste Management Task Force, it could open the way for the county to turn instead toward intensive efforts to set and reach a goal of generating zero net waste.

As part of the marathon public hearing on the issue Tuesday, county supervisors did make several amendments to strengthen the proposed contract, noted Brant Arthur, of the Climate Protection campaign.

Republic Services, based in Phoenix, Arizona, operates more than 230 other landfill sites across the United States, including several others in the greater Bay Area. They hope to have the agreement to assume control of the county's 300 acre Meecham Road dumpsite and resume operations there by 2012.

 

 

 

 

Sep 29
2009

Bill McKibben and 350.org

Posted by Bruce Robinson in water , waste , technology , Santa Rosa , resources , policy , ocean , international , Ideas , events , environment , climate change , carbon , author , alternative energy , activism

Bruce Robinson

Global warming has moved from a looming problem to an imminent crisis, warns environmental writer Bill McKibben, and the international campaign to demand action rests on a simple three digit number.

The urgency that underscores the 350 campaign is tied to the newly realized effects of the well-documented one degree increase in the temperature of the world’s oceans. Noted environmental writer Bill McKibben says that until recently, it was believed that was not enough of a difference to trigger the cascading changes that are now being documented.

 

Even if humankind is successful in tempering the worse effects of global warming, McKibben says it will take generations to bring atmospheric carbon levels back down to 350 or less.

 

  Bill Mckibben is the author of The End of Nature and numerous other books on environmental issues, including the newly published Bill McKibben Reader. He’ll be talking about the 350 campaign  on Friday, October 2 at Sonoma County Day School in Santa Rosa.