Tags >> nonprofit orgs
May 24
2010

Gray Whales

Posted by Bruce Robinson in water , Science , policy , ocean , nonprofit orgs , international , environment , education , current events , coast , climate change , California , animals , activism

Bruce Robinson

Once there were four types of Gray whales in the world’s oceans. Today, only the California Gray Whale survives in sustainable numbers, and its future is looking grim.

Gray whales are not just some of the largest creatures on the planet, says Sue Arnold, CEO of the Gray Whale Coalition, as a species they are also among the oldest.

Protecting the whales is not just an ecological and environmental issue, Arnold says, but there is an economic concern for California, too.

The whale hunting quota of 140 killed in each of the next ten years is now proposed in a “draft compromise” before the International Whaling Commission. But Arnold says the only current gray whale killing is happening in a remote area of Siberia.

Changing conditions in the arctic waters of the Bering Strait between Alaska and Russia/

May 18
2010

Prop 16 Protest

Posted by Bruce Robinson in technology , Santa Rosa , rights , politics , nonprofit orgs , news , Green , government , environment , election , economy , current events , climate change , carbon , California , business , alternative energy , activism

Bruce Robinson

The opposition campaign to PG&E’s big-budget backing for Proposition 16 took to the streets—well, actually the sidewalks—of downtown Santa Rosa yesterday (above, with Lady Liberty joined by Santa Rosa Mayor Susan Gorin and Healdsburg City Councilman Gary Plass), blasting the measure as “another bailout” for the utility.

The Yes on 16 campaign may have a much bigger budget, but the list of local governments and other groups who have lined up against it is impressive and growing. Ann Hancock, Executive Director of the Climate Protection Campaign, offered a sampling of that roster of opponents at the midday rally on Tuesday.

Healdsburg was among the founding members of the Northern California Power Agency (NCPA), a coalition of 17 cities that act as their own electric utility for their residents. ( Read their  statement opposing Prop 16 here.)  There are numerous other such operations elsewhere in the state. Expanding the service areas for any of them would be subject to the 2/3s vote requirement in Proposition 16, as would the creation of any additional local power purchasing entities, says Healdsburg City Council member Gary Plass. But while many cities oppose the measure, there is little they can do to directly combat it.

The lion’s share of the electricity used by the residents and businesses of municipal Healdsburg now comes from an array of renewable sources. Councilman Plass breaks it down for us.

Want to find our more about this measure? You can read an impartial analysis of Proposition 16  or to see the video ads against Prop 16 that won't be shown on television (due to no budget, not topical censorship), go here.

 

May 18
2010

Parenting Autism

Posted by Bruce Robinson in youth , students , Sonoma County , research , recreation , nonprofit orgs , medicine , lifestyle , jobs , healthcare , Health , families , education , children

Bruce Robinson

The incidence of autism is growing, now around 1 in every 110 births, a burgeoning epidemic that also carries huge consequences for the parents of those children.

Like many children diagnosed with autism, four-year old Peyton Price, shows few outward signs of the condition, which is most often expressed through unusual or unpredictable behaviors and difficulty with verbal communications. (Thanks to his mom, Jill, for sharing this photo.)

The CATS program at SSU offers several direct benefits to parents—trained child care, informational seminars, a directory of resources—but another asset is their opportunities to simply talk with one another, and learn from each other’s experiences. This father, who asked not to be identified, credits another mom with guiding his family into the complex world of specialized services for kids with autism.

With or  without huge medical bills, the demands of caring for a child with autism often require one parent to give up a job or career. And as these children grow older, their aging parents must also reconsider their own plans for retirement, a situation that now confronts Beth Farrar.

The following links offer additional information about autism:

The Autism Society of America

Autism Speaks

The Centers for Disease Control

The National Institute of Neurological  Disorders and Stroke

Autism.Answers.com 

 

 

 

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.