Environment

Ocean Divers Can Be Ambassadors for a Healthy Blue World

November 12, 2019 by Source

Diving into an Ocean Climate Action Plan

By David Helvarg

Fifteen years ago I was in Fiji on assignment for the book Feeling the Heat, a collection of dispatches from 10 journalists who traveled the world to report on the already visible effects of climate change. In the Somosomo Strait south of Vanua Levu, I saw my first bleached coral. Millions of heat-stressed coral polyps had expelled their symbiotic algae, turning about a third of the reef wedding-cake white.

“Did you see the bleached coral?” I asked one of the other divers after climbing back onto our boat. “Really? I thought they were supposed to be white like that,” she replied before excitedly pointing to a fruit bat flying overhead. I’ve more recently witnessed bleached and dead coral in the overly warm waters of Australia, Hawaii, Florida and Cuba, including during the massive global bleaching event of 2014-2017 documented in the film Chasing Coral.

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Last Summer’s ‘Mysterious’ Nuclear Explosion in Russia

November 1, 2019 by Michael Steinberg

Nuclear Shutdown News October 2019

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the nuclear power industry and highlights the efforts of those working to create a nuclear free world.

Last Summer’s “Mysterious” Nuclear Explosion

As this year winds down a nuclear weapons explosion last summer still begs for our attention. What does this incident, half way around the world in another country, have to do with the nuclear power plants in this country?

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Labor, Community and Environmental Activists Need to Find Common Ground for a Green New Deal

October 14, 2019 by Jim Miller

Labor and the Environment Panel – Wednesday, October 16th

By Jim Miller

In Naomi Klein’s new book, On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal, she outlines precisely how challenging it will be to respond to the climate crisis in the urgent fashion called for in the last UN IPCC report:

Pulling off this high-speed pollution phaseout, the report establishes, is not possible with singular technocratic approaches like carbon taxes, though those tools must be a part. Rather it requires deliberately and immediately changing how our societies produce energy, how we grow our food, how we move ourselves around, and how our buildings are constructed.

What is needed, the report’s summary states in its first sentence, is “rapid, far reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society”.

In the face of this daunting task, the answer to the question “What can I do as an individual?” is, Klein tells us, “nothing.”

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San Clemente Greens Urge San Diegans to Attend Coastal Commission Meeting on San Onofre at Chula Vista, October 17

October 10, 2019 by Source

Locals Encouraged to Oppose Edison’s Application

The folks in the anti-nuke watchdog group just to our north, the San Clemente Greens, are urging San Diegans to attend the upcoming California Coastal Commission hearing being held in Chula Vista later this month about what’s going down at San Onofre nuke plant.

The utility and majority-owner of San Onofre, Southern California Edison has applied for a permit to destroy its spent fuel pool as part of the onshore portion of decommissioning of Units 2 and 3.

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This House Design Is Completely Free to Download and Has a Net-Zero Footprint

October 4, 2019 by Source

Anyone can download the plans for this elegant three-bedroom home, which won Phoenix, Arizona’s competition aimed at jumpstarting energy-efficient construction.

By Evan Nicole Brown / Fast Company

A few years ago, city officials in Phoenix, Arizona, were looking for a way to address the need for more sustainable architecture in their hot, arid environment. Phoenix is the fifth largest city in the United States — and as a result, has a significant environmental footprint. But in 2016, officials debuted a road map designed to transform it into a completely carbon-neutral, zero-waste city.

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North County Climate Action Plans: A Tale of Two Cities With San Marcos and Carlsbad

October 2, 2019 by Source

By Richard Riehl / The Riehl World / October 1, 2019

A funeral was held last month at the site of Iceland’s Okjökull glacier. A century ago it covered nearly six square miles, measuring 164 ft. deep. Today, it’s less than one square mile, 49 feet thick. The shrinking sheet of ice can no longer be called a glacier. A tombstone plaque was placed at the site:

A Letter to the Future

This monument is to acknowledge that we know
what is happening and what needs to be done.
Only you know if we did it.
August 19, 2019

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Paddle for Clean Water – OB Pier – Sunday, Oct.6

October 1, 2019 by Source

Why We Paddle

Our signature awareness event, the Paddle for Clean Water, is the largest non-competitive surf event in California.

Each year, hundreds of participants paddle their surfboards, SUPs, kayaks and other paddle craft around the 1,971 ft. pier – the longest concrete pier on the West Coast – to raise awareness and funds to protect clean water and healthy beaches in San Diego County.

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The Ocean’s Plastic Problem Is Closer to Home than Scientists First Thought

September 25, 2019 by Source

By Ted Henry / The Conversation / Sept. 23, 2019

You’re probably used to hearing that the ocean is full of plastic, but scientists are puzzled by a rather different problem—there actually appears to be a lot less of it than there should be. Most large plastic debris floats, but observations of it on the sea surface offshore are far lower than what would be expected, considering that 8m metric tonnes of plastic is estimated to empty into the ocean from land each year.

Scientists assumed that the missing plastic has simply broken down into tiny microplastics and sunk to the sea floor.

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Student Voices from the San Diego Climate Walkout

September 23, 2019 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

Last Friday – Sept.20 – , students in San Diego joined millions of people across the world and participated in the youth-led Global Climate Strike. In the face of condescending calls from many adult “leaders” for gradualist political “realism” to address the threat of mass extinction, young people are standing up to demand solutions commensurate with the problem we face.

What stands out to me about the message these young people are delivering is how clearly they see what far too many of their elders fail to recognize: that the responsibility for the climate crisis does not just fall on “all of us” equally but is disproportionately being driven by the global elite. Along with that, young people see that what we need is “systemic change” not incrementalism. Their clear-eyed analysis and urgency should inspire us all to wake up and stop failing future generations with yet more political cowardice.

Inside are two local voices

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‘The Planet Is On Fire and Trump Fans the Flames’ – Global Climate Walk-Out – Sept. 20

September 19, 2019 by Source

In support of Greta Thunberg and the youth of the world, the Resister Sisters of Ocean Beach posted this message Wednesday, Sept. 18, over …..

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As Trump Sucks Money From California Donors – He Tells the Rest of Californians to ‘Go Suck a Tailpipe’

September 18, 2019 by Doug Porter

The Trump administration has decided to revoke California’s power to set its own standards for vehicle emissions. There are three reasons why this is happening.

The obvious reasoning for this move by the “Environmental” Protection Agency is to encourage the consumption of dirty energy commodities. Fossil fuel producers and refiners, most of whom support Trump, have the opportunity for continued profits, even as their products shorten the time we have to stabilize the planet’s climate.

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Global Climate Strike this Friday, September 20th

September 16, 2019 by Jim Miller

Find a San Diego Action to Support

By Jim Miller

It seems a day can’t go by without more dire news on the climate crisis. Last week as the President shamefully demonized climate refugees desperately fleeing the Bahamas in the wake of Hurricane Dorian, the UN warned that the climate crisis represents not just a threat to our environment but also to human rights. As the Guardian reported, UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet told the human rights council that, “The world has never seen a threat to human rights of this scope.”

Why? Because, as Bachelet explained, “The economies of all nations, the institutional, political, social and cultural fabric of every state, and the rights of all your people, and future generations, will be impacted.” Only two days after that, the Washington Post reported that “Dangerous new hot zones are spreading around the world” causing historically warm ocean temperatures that have prompted mass die-offs of marine life.

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The World We Want

September 13, 2019 by Source


The University of California Has Been Shaped by Market Value
By Niall Twohig

One thing I noticed in my decade studying and teaching at UCSD is that we—students, teachers, and our academic programs—rarely define the principles we want to live by in our university and society. By principles, I’m referring to what critic George Monbiot calls a “description of the world as we would like to see it.”

I see a risk in not defining our principles. If we do not describe the world we would like to see, we risk accepting the world we see as the only possible world. We risk accepting what is valued in that world as what is most valuable to us.

What is valued most in our current world is market value. This value is determined by how much profit one makes when one sells one’s product on the market. All that matters in the marketplace is whether

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Turning Greenhouse Gas into Pure Liquid Fuel

September 6, 2019 by Source

Lab’s ‘green’ invention reduces carbon dioxide into valuable fuels

Rice University / Science Daily / September 3, 2019

Summary:

An electrocatalysis reactor built at Rice University recycles carbon dioxide to produce pure liquid fuel solutions using electricity. The scientists behind the invention hope it will become an efficient and profitable way to reuse the greenhouse gas and keep it out of the atmosphere.

A common greenhouse gas could be repurposed in an efficient and environmentally friendly way with an electrolyzer that uses renewable electricity to produce pure liquid fuels.

The catalytic reactor developed by the Rice University lab of chemical and biomolecular engineer Haotian Wang uses carbon dioxide as its feedstock and, in its latest prototype, produces highly purified and high concentrations of formic acid.

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We Had the Bronze Age, We Had the Iron Age – Now, We Have the Plastic Age, Say Scientists

September 5, 2019 by Source

The Guardian
Plastic pollution is being deposited into the fossil record, research has found, with contamination increasing exponentially since 1945.

Scientists suggest the plastic layers could be used to mark the start of the Anthropocene, the proposed geological epoch in which human activities have come to dominate the planet. They say after the bronze and iron ages, the current period may become known as the plastic age.

The study, the first detailed analysis of the rise in plastic pollution in sediments, examined annual layers off the coast of California back to 1834. They discovered the plastic in the layers mirrors precisely the exponential rise in plastic production over the past 70 years

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Public Watchdogs Call for Court to Halt Burial of Nuclear Waste at San Onofre

September 4, 2019 by Source

On August 28, Public Watchdogs, a nonprofit advocacy group, requested an immediate court-order to halt the transfer of deadly radioactive nuclear waste at the San Onofre Nuke plant into “thin-walled” dry storage canisters.

The group filed a temporary restraining order (TRO) with the United States District Court, and is petitioning the courts to step in and protect the environment and the lives of more than 8 million people who live within the radiation plume zone identified by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

The attorney for Public Watchdogs, Chuck La Bella, stated:

“My immediate concern is for the health and safety of the millions of people who could be impacted by a toxic cloud being released from SONGS. The consequences of a nuclear accident are catastrophic and would last for generations.”

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Plastic Utensils Now Among Top 5 Beach Polluters, Ocean Conservancy Says

September 3, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

We’re all familiar with “the usual suspects of ocean and beach pollution”; years ago it was the plastic six-pack rings; more recently, plastic bags and plastic straws became enemies of the environment with massive movements to ban them around the globe.

Now – however – “the Ocean Conservancy is urging the public to focus on another type of plastic waste that’s an increasingly a significant concern: plastic cutlery.”

The nonprofit environmental advocacy group Ocean Conservancy has just released the results of its 2018 International Coastal Cleanup (ICC), and for the first time since being added as its own category in 2013, plastic cutlery ranked as one of the top ten most common items during the annual trash collection event. As a result, after encouraging people to “Skip the Straw” since 2014, the organization is adding a new initiative to its repertoire: “Quit the Cutlery.”

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Do Colder Waters Off West Coast Mean a Return to ‘Normal’?

August 28, 2019 by Source

By Deborah Sullivan Brennan/ San Diego Union-Tribune / Aug. 27, 2019

Record high Pacific Ocean temperatures recorded off the West Cost in recent years have receded to near normal, according to a report on the California Current.

That cool shift marks the end of “the blob,” the mass of warm water that dominated the West Coast, and of the El Nino event that followed. It’s unclear, however, what that means for fish and marine mammals, scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration stated in the 2019 ecosystem status report for the California Current Ecosystem.

“The big thing is that a lot of the physical conditions of the ocean here off of our coast are beginning to return to normal,” said

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Who Remembers This? Last August Ocean Water Temperatures Set Record Highs

August 23, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

Do you remember last August? So long ago, but last August 2018 saw the ocean water temperatures reach record highs.

On August 1, 2018, Scripps Pier recorded the highest ocean surface water temperature in its 102 history of taking measurements.

The water temperature was 78.6 degrees. Usually it’s around 68 that time of year.

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Is the Democratic Party Leadership Afraid to Have a Serious Debate on the Climate Crisis?

August 19, 2019 by Jim Miller

Will Dems Even Be Allowed Have a Debate on the Crisis in the Midst of the Sixth Extinction?

By Jim Miller

It’s no surprise to anyone who’s been paying attention that the Trump administration’s environmental policy is an out-of-control death train roaring down the tracks toward ecocide. The latest bit of insanity hit last week when the administration announced that it was significantly weakening the Endangered Species Act in the wake of the UN report last May warning that up to one million plant and animal species were at risk of extinction.

As the New York Times Editorial Board wrote of this decision:

Now comes what amounts to a thumb in the eye from the Trump administration: The Interior Department announced a set of rules on Monday that, far from enlarging protections, will weaken how the nation’s most important conservation law,

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On the Precipice: Scripps Study Identifies California Cliffs at Risk of Collapse

August 15, 2019 by Source

Originally published Dec. 20, 2017

Scripps News

A California Sea Grant-funded study provides the largest analysis of cliff erosion throughout the state and provides a new hazard index for determining which areas are at most risk

Danger – Unstable Cliffs – Stay Back

The yellow warning signs that pepper coastal cliffs from northern California to the US-Mexico border may seem overly dramatic to the casual observer. But actively eroding cliffs make up the majority of the California coastline, and sudden landslides and collapses have caused injuries and several fatalities in recent years. In addition, eroding cliffs currently threaten highways, houses, businesses, military bases, parks, power plants, and other critical facilities—all in all billions of dollars of development.

Research suggests that erosion rates will increase as sea level rises, further exacerbating these problems.

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San Diego’s Ocean Bluffs – Clear and Present Danger?

August 15, 2019 by Source

By Ry Rivard / Voice of San Diego / August 5, 2019

In the decades since [Swami’s] temple slid off the cliff (in Encinitas), more houses have been built along the coast, altering the landscape and, perhaps, endangering those who live there and below.

Of course, erosion has happened long before humans started building houses along the ocean. It’s caused primarily by wind and water. Some water is natural — waves and runoff, for instance. Other water is unnatural, like leaking water systems that weaken the ground, or the rising seas caused by human-made climate change. On Friday [August 9], the catastrophic consequences of cliff collapses again became clear when a bluff near Encinitas collapsed and killed three people.

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We’re Drowning in Plastic – the California Legislature Aims to Do Something About It

August 13, 2019 by Doug Porter

By Doug Porter / Words&Deeds / August 13, 2019

Three bills being considered by the California Legislature in coming weeks seek to change the economics of recycling, which–if you haven’t heard already–is in big trouble. It’s time to watch Sacramento closely, as corporate interests seek to protect their short range profits as damage to our health and the environment escalates.

The California Circular Economy and Plastic Pollution Reduction Act, a set of identical bills that started in the Senate as SB 54 (Ben Allen) and the Assembly as AB 1080 (Lorena Gonzalez) would require manufacturers to reduce waste from packaging and certain plastic products.

AB 792 (Assm. Phil Ting) requires manufacturers use sharply escalating percentages of recycled plastic in beverage bottles over the next decade.

Earlier this month rePlanet, a major collector of beverage bottles and cans, shut its 284 collection centers in California.

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California Has Its Faults – Big Quakes Shake Up All Things Nuclear Too

July 31, 2019 by Michael Steinberg

Nuclear Shutdown News July 2019

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the nuclear power industry in the US and beyond, and highlights the efforts of those working to create a nuclear free world.

San Francisco – October 17, 1989. It was my birthday. I was four stories up in Frisco, in my brother’s place, visiting while he was in New York. Looking south, I could see the Goodyear Blimp hovering over Candlestick Park, where the Bay Bridge World Series game – Giants vs. Oakland Athletics – was about to start as Friday rush hour approached.

Suddenly, and seemingly out of nowhere, a humungus concussion jolted everything,

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Some of Southern California’s Most Iconic and Popular Beaches Have Lost Nearly All of Their Biodiversity

July 31, 2019 by Source

by Sonia Fernandez, University of California – Santa Barbara / Phys-Org / July 31, 2019

To most people, a beach is a beach. You could likely take an image of almost any urban beach in Southern California—the flat, mostly featureless expanse of sand against blue-green water and blue skies—swap it with one of nearly any other urban beach in Southern California, and chances are that only a trained eye would notice the difference. Some of these differences lie just beneath the surface, however, and are actually quite important ecologically.

Dig just few inches into the sand on many beaches in Southern California—home to some of the most biologically diverse sandy beaches in the world—and you’ll find it teeming with life such as sand crabs, clams and beach hoppers. But for about a third of the sandy beaches extending from Santa Barbara to San Diego

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Summer Chronicles #6: Mourning the Passing of Animals from Our Lives

July 29, 2019 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

Anyone who has ever cared for small children knows how central the role of animals is for fostering imagination and compassion in young people.

In my family’s case, our son’s childhood was awash in stuffed animals—beavers, raccoons, skunks, elephants, badgers, bears, rabbits, and a plethora of other creatures — every one of whom had a name, relatives, and a full-blown set of connections with other animals as well as with our family and friends.

His little pals would come over and learn the stories of our animal friends as would our grown-up pals. All of these animals had different voices and personalities and origin stories. It was our own domestic mythology for an imaginary chain of being.

Of course, everything was heavily anthropomorphized,

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Fireworks – Cheap Thrills with Toxic Consequences

July 18, 2019 by Source

Pollution from Fireworks is an Unnecessary Risk to Our Personal and Environmental Health

From Back Country Attitude

Why celebrate those special occasions by polluting? Is poisoning the air and water a patriotic way to recognize the 4th of July?? Is unnecessary air pollution a good way to ring in the New Year??

Do you consider yourself environmentally conscious and responsible? You might not know that all those colorful explosives used to celebrate special occasions…. (your firecrackers, skyrockets, Roman candles and yes even those so-called “harmless” sparklers)… pose a serious environmental and health danger from heavy metals and other toxic firework fallout.

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Americans Are Pressuring EPA to Ban Round-Up While City of San Diego Still Uses It on Beaches, Playgrounds and Parks

July 11, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

Pressure is building on the Environmental Protection Agency to ban Monsanto and Bayer’s RoundUp, which is linked to cancer, with its glyphosate. For the last couple of months groups and companies have been petitioning the EPA to get rid of the dangerous herbicide.

Up until July 5, the EPA was collecting public comments for glyphosate’s proposed interim registration review, which could allow glyphosate to be used in the U.S. for another 15 years.

In late June environmental and consumer groups delivered more than 149,000 public comments to the EPA advocating for a ban on RoundUp. In early June, more than 100,000 Americans and 20 companies called on the EPA to significantly restrict the use of Monsanto’s weedkiller glyphosate ….

Meanwhile, pressure locally in Ocean Beach and Point Loma is growing as demands to the City of San Diego increase to halt its use of Roundup on parks, playgrounds and beaches.

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‘Another One Bites the Dust’ – Nuke Plant on Cape Cod Goes Down

July 3, 2019 by Michael Steinberg

Nuclear Shutdown News June 2019

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the nuclear industry in the US and beyond, and highlights the efforts of those working to create a nuclear free world.

Massachusetts Nuke Plant Goes Down and Out

At the end of May the 46 year old Pilgrim nuclear plant on Cape Cod in Massachusetts joined the growing list of outdated financial losers whose time has passed across the nation.

Located in Plymouth on Cape Cod Bay, only 50 miles from Boston, Pilgrim’s boiling water reactor has the same design as the three Fukushima reactors that melted down in Japan in 2011.

It’s original owner, Boston Edison, took three years to build this plant at a cost of $231 million. It began operating in 1972.

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City Council’s Campland Vote Ignores Will of San Diego Voters

June 26, 2019 by Source

By Colleen O’Connor / Times of San Diego / June 25, 2019

Who are these people on our City Council?

Did they just move here? Do they know nothing of the history of Mission Bay Park?

Don’t they realize that in 1987, 79% of the voters supported Proposition D to preserve Mission Bay Park from increased development, commercialization and loss of open space?

Here is the actual language of that three-decades-old charter amendment:

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