In 1969, Santa Barbara suffered a devastating oil spill that affected 35 miles of coastline and killed thousands of marine animals. As a direct consequence, California banned new offshore drilling for 16 years and passed stronger environmental laws. In light of the recent events in the Gulf of Mexico, Santa Barbara's spill may still have lessons to teach us. Forty-one years later, have things changed?
A November ballot initiative would add an $18 surcharge to vehicle license fees to fund the State Parks. In return, California citizens would get free day-use access to any park, and the parks would have a stable source of funding. California's 278 state parks have been in a long period of decline, culminating in a critical point over two years ago when Governor Schwarzenegger proposed closing 48 parks.
I want you to get involved in Chapter activities. Here are some ideas. Inner City Outings leads trips that take inner city youth, those who think of a vacant city lot as 'the outdoors,' out into the real outdoors. This and other ideas are in the article.
Are you a good fit for the Chapter Executive Committee? The Sierra Club is the largest volunteer-driven environmental organization in the country: the volunteers are in charge. If you have a head for organizing things, perhaps this is for you.
Over residents' objections Mayor Jeff Ira and the Council voted unanimously at the May 24 Redwood City Council meeting in support of starting the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) process for the Cargill Saltworks Project. This approval of the next step in the review of the Saltworks Project commits the Redwood City Council to spending the time and money to investigate this flawed proposal further.
The Chapter's first Environmental Hero Award will be given to Congressman Pete McCloskey. The award is to honor individuals who personify our mission of advocacy for the environment. You can attend the award presentation and hear Pete McCloskey speak October 2.
In Silicon Valley, buildings are the second largest source of emissions. The Chapter's goal is to encourage retrofits that make buildings more energy-efficient or even convert them to producers of renewable energy.
Home-energy remodeling is the latest way to go green and the Chapter's Black Mountain Group is getting into the act. The group's next workshop, The Truth About Solar, will take place on July 27 at the Belmont Library. The workshop is free and open to the public. So come and learn how to evaluate the costs and benefits of making this change for your home.
Partners in Reading (PAR) helps English-speaking adults and their families to improve their basic literacy skills, reach their goals, and function more effectively at home, at work, and in the community. The Chapter is working with PAR to promote global warming emission reduction ideas in the communities of PAR clients.
In 2007 the average total vehicle miles traveled per weekday in the Bay Area was 154,172,000 miles, the equivalent of 323 round trips to the moon. This extensive driving not only contributes to global warming, it increases stress, decreases time with family, and forces people to pay for gasoline and car maintenance. The Chapter is working to offer people other choices.
Outdoor irrigation accounts for roughly half of the water consumed by a typical California household. The State Department of Water Resources recently adopted the updated Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance required by AB 1881. The goal of the Model Ordinance is to eliminate inefficient irrigation and it applies to most commercial new and rehabilitated landscapes and to homeowner-installed single-family construction over 5,000 square feet.
Almost all Santa Clara residents rely on state or federal systems for their water and the average resident uses 100 gallons of water per day. Fortunately, homeowners already have the beginning of a home water storage system because of their roofs. Find out how to capture the rain landing on your roof and efficiently store it, while reducing the stress on California's water systems.
Landscaping adds value to our lives by beautifying our environments, moderating temperatures, providing refuge and helping to clean our air. One of the quickest ways to reduce irrigation is to replace high-water landscapes like turf grass with drought-tolerant and native plants. The Santa Clara Valley Water District offers audit programs, rebates and educational resources to achieve these goals.
Did you know that the amount of CO2 kept from the atmosphere when you select a vegetarian meal instead of a typical meat-based meal would fill 600 party-size balloons? Learn about the Chapter's Green Food Team, how they are working to facilitate sustainable-food choices and how to join in.
After you have saved all the water you can inside the house, take a good look outside the window and contemplate your yard. Learn how growing California native plants can drastically reduce and eventually eliminate your garden water use. Five plants are highlighted for their ability to thrive in the summer with little or no irrigation.
Read about Congressman Honda's argument for our need to make renewable technologies affordable and accessible. And, ultimately, these technologies need to be in use by households and institutions and not just utility companies. He believes that colleges and universities must lead the way in creating alternative energy solutions and showcases the award-winning Refract House at Santa Clara University for its 100% solar-powered design.
In California, the high-speed rail project lurches and chugs slowly through badly-thought-out planning, a shaky business plan, inadequate risk management, and improper tracking and oversight by the California High-Speed Rail Authority. Read about the many issues impeding progress and the growing number of parties that are becoming involved in its planning.
Unique among the Bay Area transportation agencies, Caltrain receives no dedicated funding of its own. With revenues reduced from both regional partner contributions and a decline in ridership, Caltrain faces a $12.5 million deficit, a deficit large enough to threaten its existence. Read more about the issues facing Caltrain and their potential impact to the future of this commuter railroad.
Does hiking, picnicking, swimming in mountain lakes and stargazing sound like fun to you? If so, the events planned for the 6th annual fundraiser for the Clair Tappaan lodge sound ideal for you. Read more about the event as well as how to sign up.
For those who saw Avatar and can still conjure up the dramatic imagery of this movie, indulge yourself with this wonderful essay by one Chapter member who discusses how the film resonates with many of her own beliefs and inspirations. Are you ready to be a Na'vi?
San Mateo County has over 200 miles of trails in its 17 County parks and two historic sites. In late summer or fall, the County will hold public meetings to solicit comments about the update to the County Trails Master Plan. Read more to find out about the goals for the Update and how to participate.
Peter Fish has selected the works of forty-one journalists, novelists, and poets, from the mid-1800s to the present, who deliver their stories, poems, and essays on what it means to live in California. Whether you are a history buff or a poet, a native Californian or a newcomer, this anthology pulls the vastness of California's beauty and culture together into a cohesive and satisfying experience.
Some of you know David Scouffas through his volunteer work for the Club, but did you know that he is working toward a career as an art photographer? Or that his email address includes "free_radical" in the wording? Get to know more about David, his Club involvement and his efforts on the San Carlos Cool Cities team.