Education, Environment, Issues, News »

Textbooks not telling whole story on climate change

Posted November 25, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]

What’s causing climate change?
There’s broad agreement in the scientific community that greenhouse gases produced by human activity are the primary driver of rising global temperatures, but you wouldn’t learn that from textbooks used in California public schools.
A new report from Stanford University says that science texts used by students in elementary and middle school in the state are out of date because they explain …

Environment, News, Santa Barbara »

Southern California Prepares for El Niño

Posted November 20, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
El Nino 2

At a recent town hall meeting in the San Bernardino County community of Chino, residents packed an auditorium to hear from local, state and federal officials about the need to get ready for a very wet winter because of predicted El Niño storms.
“The bottom line is El Niño is here,” said Alex Tardy, a meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “It’s record-breaking already. …

Environment, Food, News, Santa Barbara »

Toxic algae bloom grinds crab industry to a halt

Posted November 17, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
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Scientists say they’ve discovered one of the largest toxic algae blooms ever recorded. It extends from the Santa Barbara Channel all the way up to Oregon and it is taking a financial toll on the California crab industry.
Down at the Santa Barbara Harbor, it was quiet this week. Crabbing boats are docked in their slips. Crab fisherman Mark Brubaker sat aboard his boat, working …

Environment, Issues, News »

Floating a plan for California’s first offshore wind farm

Posted November 9, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]

Is California the next frontier for offshore wind energy?
A Seattle company is proposing to build the state’s first ocean wind farm off of Morro Bay on the Central Coast. Trident Energy has filed early paperwork with the city of Morro Bay prior to seeking approval of the project, says the San Jose Mercury News.
Trident wants to build 100 floating turbines, some rising more than …

Environment, Food, Santa Barbara, Water and the Drought »

Growing grapes, four years into the drought

Posted October 28, 2015 by | 1 Comment | ]
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Santa Barbara County’s wine harvest is complete. Local winemakers are fermenting their last grapes, cleaning the presses and scrubbing down their gear after months of hard work.
“There are four words that describe the harvest,” says Lompoc winemaker Peter Work about this year’s yield. “It was early, short, light and the quality was amazing,”
That’s been a common occurrence throughout the county. Compared to last year’s bumper …

Environment, News, Santa Barbara »

Drilling along Los Padres

Posted October 27, 2015 by | 1 Comment | ]

A controversial decision was made in the town of Santa Paula last week. The Ventura County Board of Supervisors gave the green light to build 19 new oil wells and to continue operating 17 more.

In a 3-2 vote, the board voted to deny appeals by environmental groups and grant a 30-year permit modification for the project proposed by California Resources Corp. in an existing oil field along …

Environment, Issues »

An electric-powered cross-country road trip

Posted October 21, 2015 by and | 0 Comments | ]
Brian Kent's Nissan Leaf charging in Ohio. Photo credit: Brian Kent

What’s the conventional wisdom about electric cars? They’re quiet, they have nice pick-up, they’re good for getting around town, but, because of their limited range, they’re not suited to take on a long road trip.
Brian Kent wants to change that perception. Kent, 44, is a freelance writer based in Albion, New York. On Aug. 28 he set out on a 26,000 mile road trip …

Environment, News, Santa Barbara »

The local environmental movement, book-ended by spills

Posted October 16, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]

The timing is uncanny, and slightly distressing.
Paul Relis founded the Community Environmental Council in Santa Barbara after the 1969 oil spill wreaked havoc on the Central Coast. This year, Relis’ new book was published just a month before another oil spill hit the Central Coast. His book, Out of the Wasteland: Stories from the Environmental Frontier, documents the history of the environmental movement in …

Environment, Issues, News, Politics, Power and Water, Water and the Drought »

The dying Salton Sea and the plan to save it

Posted October 15, 2015 by | 3 Comments | ]
Floyd Hollinger as the Salton Sea Santa. “Santa Ski-In” started by Helen Burns, property owner at Salton Sea Beach, about 1960. (Photo courtesy of the Salton Sea History Museum)

The Salton Sea was once an oasis for the Hollywood elite. Today, California’s largest lake is not only an environmental hazard, it is also drying up.
“It was a playground for the rich and the famous, the Hollywood crowd used to go out there and cavort and water ski and fish,” said Tony Perry, San Diego bureau chief for the Los Angeles Times, who has …

Environment, Issues, News, Water and the Drought »

How does one house use 11.8 million gallons of water?

Posted October 2, 2015 by | 1 Comment | ]

It’s time for a little drought shaming, but anonymous drought shaming.
Now it stands to reason that the wealthiest among us would use more water – they have bigger properties, swimming pools and lots of cars to wash.
But a new report by the Web site Reveal, part of the Center for Investigative Reporting, shows that some of the most affluent residents of the state are …

Environment, Water and the Drought »

The drought is killing off Lake Balboa’s cherry trees

Posted October 1, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]

Lake Balboa – in the middle of San Fernando Valley – once featured more than 900 cherry trees, delighting park-goers with their annual pink and white blossoms.
But more than half of those trees have died in the past five years, according to the L.A. Daily News, falling victim to too little rain, warm winters and drainage issues in the Sepulveda Basin. Most of the …

Environment, Issues, News »

State pitching in to buy key piece of L.A. River ‘puzzle’

Posted September 28, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]

Plans to revitalize the Los Angeles River are getting a boost from the state of California.
Senate leader Kevin de Leon says the state will contribute $25 million to buy part of an old rail yard in Cypress Park that Mayor Eric Garcetti has called a “crown jewel” of the restoration plan. De Leon announced the funding yesterday at an annual Garden Party held by …

economy, Environment »

How the Prius became a cultural icon

Posted September 25, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]

Toyota just unveiled the new Prius, a third generation of a car that revolutionized the hybrid car market. Chances are you’re next to, or within eyesight of, a Prius at this very moment in the greater Los Angeles area. The Prius is more than a car – it’s become a cultural touchstone.
And for the even bigger enviro-car crowd, Toyota is about to announce a new hydrogen …

economy, Environment, Issues, News, Politics »

State is poised to act on long-delayed pollution rules

Posted September 25, 2015 by | 1 Comment | ]
Oil Pumps

State Air regulators today are expected to restore a climate change program that would require a 10 percent reduction in pollution from gas and diesel fuel emissions over the next five years.
The rule was first adopted years ago, but it’s been on hold amid a lengthy legal challenge by oil industry groups.
Environmentalists and some business groups have hailed the low carbon fuel standard as …

Environment, Santa Barbara »

How to fish a protected ocean

Posted September 25, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]

In 2003, California established thirteen Marine Protected Areas around the Channel Islands. Referred to as “MPAs,” they were designed to study and restore marine life. But, restoring meant banning all commercial fishing, or “fisheries,” from operating within the protected areas.
Scientists have gradually been collecting data about the impact of these MPAs. Last week, experts with UCSB’s Marine Science Institute released a comprehensive 10-year study.
By all …

Environment, Issues, News »

Impact of air pollution rules coming into clearer focus

Posted September 22, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]

Have you been breathing a little easier?
A new study by state air regulators says that risk of getting cancer because of toxic air in California dropped by 76 percent over a span of more than two decades.
The authors of the report say the decrease in pollution is due to stringent regulations on everything from trucks and gasoline vapors to emissions from dry cleaning businesses.
Air …

Environment, News »

No damage this time around, but tsunami risk is real

Posted September 17, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]

We got off easy this time. There are no reports of damage or flooding from a tsunami that rolled into Southern California this morning following a huge, magnitude 8.3 earthquake in Chile.
But the tsunami has affected tides and currents, and officials are asking boaters, swimmers and surfers to stay out of the water for several hours until things calm down.
The tsunami hit San Diego …

Environment, Issues, News, Politics, Water and the Drought »

U.S., Chinese leaders take on climate at L.A. summit

Posted September 15, 2015 by | 1 Comment | ]

Can local government leaders in the U.S. and China take the lead on fighting climate change?
We could find out over the next couple of days.
Gov. Jerry Brown will be delivering the keynote speech and Vice President Joe Biden will also be in attendance as officials from the U.S. and China open a two-day climate summit in Los Angeles today.
The goal of the summit is …

Environment, News, Water and the Drought »

Giant sequoias in the path of fast-moving wildfire

Posted September 11, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]

The largest wildfire of the year in California is now threatening one of the state’s natural treasures.
Flames from the stubborn Rough Fire have reversed course and are now closing in on Grant Grove in Kings Canyon National Park, The now-evacuated grove is named for the towering General Grant tree, which stands more than 260 feet tall and is the second largest tree in the …

economy, Environment, Health Care, Issues, News, Politics »

Brown’s climate change agenda hits Capitol roadblock

Posted September 10, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]

It’s been a hectic and eventful week at the State Capitol.
With lawmakers facing a deadline tomorrow to pass bills in the current legislative session, a slew of important measures have been considered, some making it to the governor, and others getting shot down.
One of the biggest stories to come out of the session is the setback delivered to a key component of Gov. Jerry …

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