Tags >> water
Oct 16
2009

Ecosystem Rights

Posted by Bruce Robinson in wildlife , water , trees , speaker , resources , protest , politics , policy , nonprofit orgs , Marin , legislation , land rights , justice , international , Ideas , government , environment , conservation , climate change , birds , author , animals , activism

Bruce Robinson

U.S. law gives constitutional rights to corporations. Now a countervailing legal theory is emerging that defines and defends the legal rights of the environment.

Mari Margill is Associate Director of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, based in their West Coast office in Portland, Oregon. But as she explains here, the organization's origins lie in Pennsylvania.


Obtaining legal standing for nature, says Margill, requires enacting new laws to spell that out, something that is beginning to happen in scattered local jurisdictions, but faces an uncertain future on appeal.

 

For more information about CELFD click here.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

Sep 15
2009

Sonoma Coast Wave Power

Posted by Bruce Robinson in West County , weather , water , technology , Sonoma County , resources , planning , ocean , fish , environment , design , conservation , community , coast , climate change , California , alternative energy

Bruce Robinson

Wave power off the Sonoma County coast is a potentially carbon-free source of electricity, but it faces big questions about environmental impacts and economic viability.

You can read more about the project on the Water Agency's website.The image at right shows one prototype of a low-profile generator which could be deployed in an array of dozens of individual units, as illustrated below, to power a sizable area.

The Sonoma County Water Agency's first informational meeting about the wave power studies was held in Gualala on September 9th. Most of the people there, reports Richard Charter, knew nothing about the project before that meeting.


Two other study projects on the Northern California coast have received permits from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), both issued before the Sonoma County Water Agency's application was approved. Cordell Stillman (left with Water Agency boss Randy Poole) says both sites were sought by PG&E, but other than that, they are quite different in status and approach.

While the entire concept of wave-generated electricity is in its very earliest stages, Richard Charter  (left) observes that it holds some benefits from an environmental perspective, but it is hardly a clear or easy solution to meeting future power needs.

 

Aug 31
2009

Greywater Rules Relaxed

Posted by Bruce Robinson in water , waste , Sonoma County , resources , public safety , legislation , Health , government , environment , construction , climate change , California

Bruce Robinson

Residential greywater systems are now legal in California, and most modest residential installations don’t ever require a permit. But exactly how the changed rules are being implemented remains a little murky.

 

Sonoma County PRMD deputy director Duane Starnes explains why diverting laundry water outflow to a greywater reservoir also requires some additional changes to the household’s existing plumbing, such as the diversion valve shown at right.

Art Ludwig, a long-time advocate for legalizing greywater systems, says the state’s new rules allowing them carry an almost symbolic significance that extends well beyond mere plumbing.

Ludwig's Oasis Design website has detailed and illustrated instructions on how to install a "laundry to landscape" greywater system.

The Bay Area's Greywater Guerrillas are another online resource.