Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Eco-Culture Events - Extra

Be part of the story
from Matias Viegener,

We want your fruit stories!

As part of our participation in "The Gatherers" at Yerba Buena, Fallen Fruit will be holding "in-sessions" in which we'll be gathering stories and data on people's fruit histories. We came upon this idea this spring when we were told of a 1920s cottage complex in Oakland in the middle of which is an ancient lemon tree that arrived as a young plant with the grandmother of the original owner; she carried it from Italy in her corset, and everyone who lives there shares the lemons. We'll be meeting with YBCA visitors, with questionnaires, conversations and video interviews to learn about their own history or family legacy of fruit and homeland. We'll also be doing field work, visiting you to document sites like the lemon tree in Oakland.

This project has the working title of "The Colonial History of Fruit," and we're going to take it around the globe. We're interested in juxtaposing two kinds of history: the "objective" history of how the fruit we eat came from a specific place and ended up on our tables, through specific economic, historical and political forces, and the "subjective" history, the anecdotal tales of how we find new fruits, rediscover old ones, or carry along others from distant places. We think of this in the light of colonialism because of the colonial origins of fruit and the variety of personal and familial histories of various immigrants, colonizers and colonialists.

So please come talk to us!
Our dates at Yerba Buena are:
Sunday Nov 2, 12-5pm
Friday Nov 7, 12-5pm
Saturday Nov 8, 12-5pm

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Eco-Culture Events

Two upcoming eco-minded events at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

The Gatherers: Greening Our Urban Spheres
October 31, 2008–January 11, 2009

Opening night party: Thursday, October 30, 6:00 to 9:00 pm

The Gatherers is an exhibition combining art and cultural activism to explore how we ensure sustainability for our growing urban populations. The Gatherers explores the differences and similarities of different cultural attempts to green urban spaces. The exhibit touches upon a broad range of interlinking matters, from environmental issues to urban spatial justice, through interactive programs, urban interventions and public dialogue.

Artists and artist collectives in the exhibition include:
Fallen Fruit, Amy Franceschini with Wilson Diaz, The National Bitter Melon Council, Oda Projesi, Marjetica Potrc, Public Matters, Ted Purves and Susanne Cockrell, Rebar, roomservices and Åsa Sonjasdotter.

More about The Gatherers.

Community Conversations: What Does it Mean to be Green?
November 11, 2008
6 pm, Grand Lobby, Free (Tickets required. Call YBCA Box Office at 415.978.2787)

A lively public conversation exploring the complexity and contradictions around greening urban environments.

Conversationalists include:
Matthew & Terces Englehart, Founders, Café Gratitude
Lynda Grose, Eco-fashion Instructor, California College of the Arts
Eliza Thomas, Editorial Director for
Common Ground Magazine/Lime Network
Casey Harre,
Slow Food Nation curator
Nwamaka “Maka” Agbo, Ella Baker Center’s Green Jobs Corps

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Bike to Work Incentive

Bailout gives tax break to bicycle commuters
Rachel Gordon, SF Chronicle, October 9, 2008

Starting in January, workers who use bicycles as their primary transportation mode to get to and from work will be eligible for a $20-a-month, tax-free reimbursement from their employers for bike-related expenses. In return, employers will be able to deduct the expense from their federal taxes.

Section 211 of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 allows for a "qualified bicycle commuting reimbursement" for "reasonable expenses incurred by the employee during such calendar year for the purchase of a bicycle and bicycle improvements, repair, and storage, if such bicycle is regularly used for travel between the employee’s residence and place of employment."
Other transportation-related items in the bill include credits for biofuels and other "alternative" mixtures, plug-in electric vehicles, and - so no one's left out - benefits for oil and natural gas producers too. Another section includes incentives for green construction and renewable energy production.

Read the complete Chronicle story here:

And, if you're really brave, read the complete bailout bill here:

Schwarzenegger Signs SB 375, Sustainable Land Use Planning Bill

Objective is to reduce greenhouse gases by planning cities with more transit options

On September 30, 2008, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed SB 375, which provides a plan for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through strategic land use and development. The bill directs the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to set regional caps for automobile and light truck emissions that would help the state achieve its GHG emissions cap of 1990 levels by 2020. The bill also sets forth a “Sustainable Communities Strategy,” which directs metropolitan planning organizations to examine land-use patterns and create long-term housing and transportation plans that can be used to achieve the regional caps.

SB 375 will:

- Require the regional governing bodies in each of the state’s major metropolitan areas to adopt, as part of their regional transportation plan, a “sustainable community strategy” that will meet the region’s target for reducing GHG emissions. These strategies would get people out of their cars by promoting smart growth principles such as: development near public transit; projects that include a mix of residential and commercial use; and projects that include affordable housing to help reduce new housing developments in outlying areas with cheaper land.

- Create incentives for implementing the sustainable community strategies by allocating federal transportation funds only to projects that are consistent with the emissions reductions.

- Allow home builders some streamlined environmental reviews under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) if they build projects consistent with the new sustainable community strategies.

The Governor also signed SB 732, which will provide a comprehensive statutory framework to implement new programs under Proposition 84, the $5.4 billion initiative voters passed in 2006 for safe drinking water, water quality and supply, flood control, natural resource protection, and park improvements.

Read the complete bill here:
Read the governor's press release here:

Carbon Footprints of Six Everyday Items

Everybody's talking about it. But what exactly is a carbon footprint? And how is it calculated?
Jeffrey Ball, Wall Street Journal, October 6, 2008

What are the carbon footprints of some of the common products we use? How are they calculated? And what surprises do they hold? The Wall Street Journal looked at six everyday items -- cars, shoes, laundry detergent, clothing, milk and beer -- and the numbers that go with them.

The CO2 equivalent emitted by the manufacturing, shipping, storage, and use of the following items:
Car (Prius?) - 97,000 pounds
Timberland's Winter Park Slip On Boot - 121 pounds
Tesco Laundry detergent - 31 pounds
Patagonia Talus jacket - 66 pounds
Aurora Organic Dairy 1.2 gallon milk - 7.2 pounds
Six-pack of Fat Tire Amber Ale - 7 pounds

To help you put it in perspective (from the International Energy Agency):
The US emits the equivalent of about 118 pounds of carbon dioxide per resident every day.
Annually, that's ~20 metric tons per US citizen.
The average US citizen emits about five times as much CO2 compared to citizens of the world at large.

Read the complete story here: