Tags >> speaker
May 14

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 10

Affordable Housing Week

Posted by Bruce Robinson in speaker , Sonoma County , policy , planning , nonprofit orgs , legislation , housing , homeless , government , finances , families , economy , construction , Congress , California , business , budget

Bruce Robinson

  It isn’t getting any easier to build affordable housing in California. But the need for it is continuing to grow all the same.

Cities across Sonoma County have done an admirable job of meeting their goals for creating affordable housing, as specified in the Housing Elements of their respective General Plans, Diane Spaulding (left)  told the Sonoma County Housing Coalition on Monday.  But a close examination of those housing numbers reveals that, even with good intentions and political will, building units for low and very low income families remains difficult.

Finding funding for affordable housing in the California budget will be especially challenging this year, but the demand for it is continuing to grow. In a “new normal” world, Spaulding suggests, the solution may lie in creating ways to mesh the housing need with other social goals.

Diane Spaulding is the Executive Director of the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California. She spoke at the kickoff breakfast Monday for the Sonoma County Housing Coalition's annual Affordable Housing Week.  See the full list of Affordable Housing Week activities here.  You can read the Coalition's  annual Housing Progress Report for 2009 here.





May 06

Hospital Safety

Posted by Bruce Robinson in toxic , speaker , public safety , Petaluma , nonprofit orgs , medicine , healthcare , Health , families , drugs , corporate responsibiliyt , children , author , activism

Bruce Robinson

Even in the controlled environment of a hospital, human error is always a danger, too often a fatal one. That’s what Sorrel King is fighting to reduce.

As the mother of four young children, Sorell King was involved in every step of her daugther’s care when 18-month old  Josie was badly burned by a faulty water heater. Even that wasn’t enough to prevent the breakdown in communications that resulted in a fatal dose of methadone, the tragic mistake that abruptly turned King into a determined advocate for increased patient safety and better hospital procedures. It’s that painful personal experience, she says, that makes the medical personnel hear what she has to say.

King has documented her own first-hand experience with this wrenching issue in her book, the autobiographical Josie’s Story, which in turn led to the creation of the Josie King Foundation, through which she pursues her advocacy work. It’s a role she hopes to be able to pull back from sometime, but that day doesn’t appear to be coming any time soon.

Sorrel King believes that the number of near misses, when potentially fatal mistakes are caught just in time, or corrected before they have tragic consequences, is far higher than the actual number of deaths that occur. So she pushing hospitals to adopt procedures to report and track those near misses, too.

The seventh annual Gene and Evelyn Benedetti Leadership Award celebrationn honors Nancy Corda (right)  at  6 p.m. on Friday May 7 at the Sheraton Petaluma. Proceeds will be used to purchase a mobile ultrasound machine for Petaluma Valley Hospital. Information: 778-2796.


May 06

Buckeye Gathering

Posted by Bruce Robinson in speaker , sacred , nonprofit orgs , music , lifestyle , history , education , California , agriculture

Bruce Robinson

Pre-industrial skills (such as friction fire-making, show at left) are making a comeback at the first annual Buckeye Gathering, an event that has drawn more than 200 neo-primitive students to an isolated hilltop above the Russian River.

The California Buckeye, namesake plant for the event, was chosen as an especially apt symbol of their intentions for the Gathering, says co-organizer Russell Sparks.

Genine Coleman, a co-organizer of the Buckeye Gathering, says it represents the realization of a growing desire to hold this kind of a “skill share” event somewhere in northern California.

Their site selection process finally settled on the Indian Education Center at Ya-Ka-Ama, near Forestville.

Here are some pictures from the gathering: A group decorating a rawhide parfletch, basket weaving materials, Mayan weaving, and the central arbor. Photos courtesy of Genine Coleman and the Buckeye Gathering.





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