Tuesday, July 29, 2008

3.1 Billion Water Bottles

California AG threatens lawsuit to block bottling plant
Associated Press, July 29, 2008

Attorney General Jerry Brown says he will sue to block a proposed water-bottling operation in McCloud, California, unless its effects on global warming are evaluated. Nestle Waters North America wants to pump about 200 million gallons of water a year from three natural springs that supply McCloud, a former lumber town located about 280 miles north of San Francisco.

Brown said the project's previous environmental review had "serious deficiencies", including failure to evaluate if the operation will contribute to global warming through the production of plastic bottles, the operation's electrical demands, and the diesel soot and greenhouse gas emissions produced by trucks traveling to and from the plant.

Read the complete story here: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2008/07/29/financial/f135206D79.DTL

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

WCI Partners' Plan to Combat Global Warming

Western Climate Initiative Cap-and-Trade Proposal
Matthew Yi, San Francisco Chronicle, July 23, 2008

California, six other Western states and four Canadian provinces will launch a market-based carbon trading system in a major North American effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions, according to a draft proposal released today. The proposal is a key component for the Western Climate Initiative, a partnership created in February 2007 among California, Arizona, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington. The group - which also includes Utah, Montana, and the Canadian provinces of Manitoba, Quebec, British Columbia, and Ontario - has set a regional goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent of 2005 levels by 2020.

When it officially begins in four years, the program will first target heavy polluters such as electric utilities, oil refineries, and large industrial and commercial facilities, which would be required to begin reporting emission levels beginning in 2011. The plan also includes an offsets system.

The WCI “Draft Design of the Regional Cap-and-Trade Program” builds on the draft recommendations released by the group in May. The Draft Design being released today will be discussed at WCI's third Stakeholder Workshop, which will be held in San Diego on Tuesday, July 29.

Read the complete story here: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/07/23/BAF511TSGO.DTL

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Transportation Survey

The results are in.

On behalf of the Green Team, Taylor surveyed the Oakland office to determine our commuting preferences, and the results look good.

Some snippets from our respondents:
- most regularly take public transportation, bike, or walk to work rather than drive their personal car

- most drive less than 5 days per month

- there is interest in carpooling or joining a car-share program to further minimize personal driving

Contact Taylor for more information, the full results (also posted in the kitchen), or if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Science Café

Science Cafe
Monday, July 21, 7:00pm-9:00pm
Atlas Cafe, 3049 20th St, San Francisco, 415-648-1047

Down to a Science presents Dr. Paul Blanc, Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at the University of California San Francisco, to share the hidden health dangers of many everyday products.

The presentation is free.

Down to a Science is a "Science Café", a casual forum where scientists discuss their research with the public. The mission is to promote civic discourse through scientific dialogue with a focus on science in the Bay Area.

Down to a Science also features a blog with content related to the topics. The next science cafe is titled "Robots and Representational Democracy".

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Green Building

California sets standards for green construction
Matthew Yi, San Francisco Chronicle, July 17, 2008

California became the first state to enact green building standards under a voluntary plan that cuts energy and water use. The plan adopted by the California Building Standards Commission calls for all new construction to cut energy use by 15 percent, water use by 20 percent, and water for landscaping by 50 percent. The code is scheduled to kick in starting July 1, 2009. The code will be voluntary while the commission works on a mandatory regulation, which the panel hopes to have in place by end of 2010 or beginning of 2011.

Read the complete story here: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/07/17/BAMG11R59J.DTL&tsp=1

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Support Your Local Farmer(s)

Consider joining a CSA!

A CSA (short for Community Supported Agriculture) is a nifty way for you to have a closer relationship with the food you eat by directly supporting a farm in your local area. Many farms offer produce subscriptions, where buyers receive a weekly or monthly box of vegetables, fruit, flowers, eggs, grass-fed beef, olive oil, milk, coffee...all sorts of delicious stuff. By making a financial commitment to a farm in advance, you become a member, shareholder, or subscriber of the CSA. Some CSAs also welcome (or require) members to work a small number of hours on the farm during the growing season.

There was a decent article in the NY Times today about CSAs.

Find a CSA that serves your neighborhood at Local Harvest.

And, joining a CSA is a great way to meet the 100-mile diet challenge (see Sarah White's July 8, 2008 email...thanks, Sarah!).

Feel welcome to ask me about my experience with CSAs too...I used to get produce from mariquita farms, and currently subscribe to eating with the seasons...and they're great!

Monday, July 7, 2008

What, Why, Where, When, and How of Recycling

Local information on recycling and product stewardship

Earth911 is a great resource for learning about recycling options in your ‘hood. Besides showing us local recycling options, the site has product stewardship info, provides periodic updates on federal, state, and local environmental laws, and links to up-to-date water quality conditions at local beaches…fun stuff!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Update from SuRF 7

Sustainable Remediation Forum (SuRF)
Maile Smith, June 10-11, 2008

The seventh meeting of the Sustainable Remediation Forum (SuRF) took place at BP's Houston, Texas office. The theme of this meeting was "How do we balance on-site cleanup with off-site impact? and who should decide?" A quick show-of-hands at the start of the meeting revealed that the mix of attendees included about 10-15 industry representatives, 10-15 consultants, 5 regulators, 1 academic, and 1 attorney.

Whereas I was assuming the theme was posed to get at the question of the societal and global benefit of sustainable remediation, there wasn't clear consensus amongst the group regarding what those two questions meant. Several participants envision "sustainable remediation" projects as having a much smaller sphere of influence, and decision-makers consisting solely of the project-specific client/consultant/regulator population. Others considered the questions from a more broad perspective.

What is clear, however, even after seven quarterly SuRF meetings, is that there is general agreement amongst RPs and regulators that cleanup projects should be as green as possible. It is also clear that there continues to be wide-ranging definitions of "green" and "sustainable" (as it relates to remediation), and ideas on how to implement those green and sustainable solutions. Regulators in attendence (e.g., US EPA, DTSC) are not yet at the point where they are committing to select or eliminate a remedy due to sustainability issues.

The DoD is tasking its various departments (Army Corps of Engineers, Navy, and Air Force) to frame and adopt sustainability criteria to help achieve federal mandates for green house gas reductions. The Air Force Center for Environmental Excellence (AFCEE), Navy, and USACE have funding proposals in the hopper right now for sustainable remediation initiatives. The next Federal Remediation Technologies Roundtable (FRTR) meeting will be on sustainable remediation. And the Interstate Technology and Regulatory Council (ITRC) Remediation Risk Management group currently has a proposal in to develop green/sustainable remediation guidance.

Several of the presentations from the meeting are available for review (feel welcome to ask via leaving a comment).