1. Community meeting on Navy's plans for Hunters Point Shipyard's Parcel E2
2. Enhancement of Presidio's Outdoors: the year ahead, July 12
3. Weed beautiful Owl Canyon on San Bruno Mtn, Satur/save date for pancake breakfast
4. The Amazing Leatherback Migration to California July 12
5. Save the Park, Save the Dark, support birds - latest on GGP soccer fields
6. Regrouping on Knowland Park
7. Big Deal: Discovering the Higgs boson
8. Support requirement for labeling GM foods
9. I'm working on the world - Wislawa Szymborska
10. Supervisors increase funding for SF RecParks
11. Feedback: New thought on wildlife feed/foraging/Central Subway v mass transit
12. Can dogs really show empathy towards humans?
13. Why internet scams seem so obvious
14. Gregory Orr: Let's remake the world with words...but with a purpose
15. Marin Water District events, July 7 and 21
16. SciAm potpourri: climate changed brought down cultures/volcanoes cooled climates
17. How the taste of tomatoes went bad (and kept on going)
18. Marketplace host gets grilled on Mother's Day - and carbon footprint
19. Planning & Conservation League receives bequest
raging monster upon the land is population growth. In its presence,
sustainability is but a fragile, theoretical concept.” Edward O. Wilson
1. Community Meeting on the Navy’s Plans for the Hunters Point Shipyard’s Parcel E2
July 10th 6pm Dinner, 6:30pm Meeting
Bayview Opera House, Third and Oakdale.
Fellow Members of the Bayview Community, San Franciscans and Concerned Stakeholders:
sites are often divided into Parcels to make coordination of cleanup
easier. Located on the Shipyard’s southwestern shore across from Double
Rock is the portion of the Hunters Point Shipyard known as Parcel E2,
believed by many to be the most contaminated portion of the most
contaminated property in San Francisco.
Most San Franciscans became aware of the Shipyard as a Superfund site as a result of the Parcel E2 Landfill fire in 2000.
the Navy issued a Draft Record of Decision “ROD” focused on how to
address the contamination in Parcel E2. The ROD will become the legally
binding agreement between the regulators and Navy governing the method
and standards for Parcel E2’s “cleanup.” The Navy’s decision about what
to do with the Hunters Point Shipyard’s Parcel E2 and its landfill/ dump
will go final sometime in the fall/winter of this year.
Navy and the Regulators have decided to do some hot spot removal from
Parcel E2’s landfill but otherwise leave it intact under a cap it will
construct to prevent the escape of pollution and the public’s/
environment’s exposure to it.
On the other hand most (but not
all) residents of Bayview Hunters Point and District 10 we’ve talked to
have told us they are very skeptical about the capping plan and want the
This decision may well be what’s best BUT:
because of the extreme importance of this decision to the Bayview
Hunters Point Community and District 10 we have proposed and the EPA and
the Navy have agreed to allow Arc Ecology to coordinate a completely
independent peer review of their plan for Parcel E2.
of this project is to provide the Bayview Hunters Point Community,
USEPA, and Navy with a completely neutral, technically based evaluation
of the Parcel E2 ROD before the Navy produces its final Record of
Decision later this year.
The objectives of this project are:
1. To set aside all pre-existing perspectives about what should be done about Parcel E2’s landfill.
2. To take a hard look at the Navy’s ROD and the analysis supporting it.
To provide the BVHP community, EPA, and Navy with the benefit of an
entirely objective outside evaluation of the ROD and its supporting
4. To determine if: 1) the Navy has done the work
necessary to make a recommendation about a final remedy for Parcel E2’s
landfill; and 2) whether the Navy’s recommendation is appropriate for
the site and the community.
5. To ensure the BVHP Community has the opportunity to engage in this review.
6. Report these findings back to the BVHP Community, EPA, and Navy.
Ecology is the community technical advisor for the India Basin
Neighborhood Association (IBNA) Technical Assistance Grant (TAG) from
the USEPA. The Parcel E 2 Independent Review is being held under the
auspices of the IBNA TAG program.
The Review is completely
independent. Neither the EPA, the Navy nor Arc Ecology will provide
anything other than direct technical/ data information and background on
analysis to the consultants we have hired for this review. The Navy and
EPA will be able to answer questions from the consultants but they are
to refrain from attempting to influence their findings. The EPA has
reviewed the resume’s of our consultants to determine if we have met
professional standards but have otherwise had no input into the
selection process. To ensure independence from even our own point of
view, Arc Ecology has not briefed our consultants about or long standing
point of view or comments regarding Parcel E2.
has hired three scientists with no prior experience at the Shipyard
although each has had extensive experience with the types of issues the
E2 ROD addresses. A toxicologist/ health risk assessor; a geologist/
landfill expert; and a radiation specialist/ health physicist will
review the ROD and report back to the community whether or not the
Navy’s proposal is appropriate and is supported by the data they have on
hand. To ensure transparency Arc Ecology will be posting their resume’s
online on the IBNA and Arc Ecology websites.
To ensure the
BVHP Community has the opportunity to engage in this process we are
organizing two public meetings at the Bayview Opera House, the first is
on July 10th and the second is on August 8th. Both meetings start at
6:30pm with a dinner served earlier at 6pm. Our comments on the
Proposed Draft ROD are due August 10th. Arc Ecology will make this
report public and present it to the public at our August 8th meeting.
The goal of the July 10th meeting is to:
· introduce the review project,
· introduce our team of consultants, and
· have them hear the community’s opinions about what should be done with E2.
The second meeting will focus on reporting our consultants findings and how they line up with the community’s input.
meetings will be catered so you can focus on the issue and not worry
about dinner (O’ James Bayview BBQ but vegetarians also welcome).
come. This is your opportunity to give our technical team the benefit
of your perspective on what should be done about this site. Please let
your neighbors know about this important event. Feel free to make
copies of the attached flyer and distribute them to your neighbors.
2. Enhancement of the Presidio’s Outdoors: The Year Ahead
Thursday, July 12th
5:30 – 7 p.m.
El Polín Spring
about the enhancements of the Presidio’s outdoors in the year ahead?
Park staff will briefly explain the projects taking place now through
summer 2013, including forestry, native plant restoration, trails
improvements, and environmental remediation.
Following the presentations, join us for a 45 minute tour showcasing the recent transformation at El Polin Spring.
Help us plan for seating by sending an RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (415) 561-4449.
For location visit http://www.presidio.gov/Calendar/Pages/open-space-update-2012.aspx
Come out and help us weed in Owl Canyon on San Bruno Mountain
Saturday July 7th - help restore the habitat of the Mission Blue Butterfly in Owl Canyon
We will meet first at the Mountain Watch Office at 44 VISITACION AVE, Suite 206, Brisbane
Workdays start at 10:00 AM and go to 12:30 PM with a ten minute break with snacks provided.
Bring a liter of water - Gloves will be provided.
QUESTIONS? 415-467-6631 or email: email@example.com
Save the date
Gourmet Pancake Breakfast & Native Plant Sale
Popular annual fundraiser for San Bruno Mountain Watch
Sunday 29 July, 8.30 am to 11.30 am
Mission Blue Native Plant Nursery
4. San Francisco Naturalist Society
Thursday, July 12
The Amazing Leatherback Migration to California.
Chris Pincetich, of the Sea Turtle Restoration Project, will tell us
about leatherback biology, ecology, and conservation challenges. Come
learn about the new 70,000 sq. km protected critical habitat off
California and the Leatherback Watch Program.
Dr. Pincetich also
studies shoreline marine debris at Point Reyes National Seashore and
into SF Bay, collecting detailed density data on plastic pollution and
discovering treasures along the way! His research dovetails into a
habitat assessment for leatherback feeding areas offshore (plastic is
deadly!) and will be a great baseline dataset for Japan tsunami debris
and America's Cup waste pulses.
Randall Museum Theater, 199 Museum
Way, San Francisco CA 94114. 7:30-9 pm. For more information, go to
www.sfns.org or contact Patrick Schlemmer at JKodiak@earthlink.net or
(415) 225-3830. Free and open to everyone.
GOLDEN GATE PARK SOCCER FIELDS
the San Francisco Board of Supervisors not to replace grass soccer
fields that support birds and wildlife with artificial turf and
60-foot-tall light towers!
Come to hearing on July 10/Write Mayor and Supervisors now
6. Dear Knowland Park Supporters,
Independence Day! Today is a good day to remind ourselves that our
right as members of the public to challenge the “powers that be” is
something we can never take for granted. That right has to be exercised,
like a muscle, or it will be lost. It’s also a good day to get out and
stroll our lovely Park (admittedly looking a little bare-bones after the
goats came through, but still a peaceful place) or watch the sunset
Thanks to all of you, including some who came through at
the very last moment, I’m happy to report that we MADE OUR MATCHING
GRANT! This means a total of $6000 generated in just the last few weeks.
I’m working on another foundation grant application right now, and I
can tell you from experience that being able to show that we have this
kind of solid support from our membership really impresses funders. They
don’t want to give money to organizations if the organizations’ own
supporters don’t give. That has certainly never been true for Friends of
Knowland Park—we have kept coming through, time after time.
course we are disappointed that we lost our lawsuit (and still
discussing the possibility of an appeal—your thoughts on this welcome).
But we are not giving up the fight to save our park—and to reduce the
destructive impact of this expansion on core wildlife and plant habitat.
Our efforts are clearly having an effect: the zoo is reinforcing its
“kindly conservation organization” image by talking to the media about
allowing wild animals to eat at the zoo (see the San Francisco Chronicle
piece published 6/27/12. This puff piece—especially the last line,
which reads as though lifted straight out of a zoo press release--is
clearly a response to our very reasonable, persistent critique of the
authenticity of its commitment to conservation.
means protecting the habitat that is essential for wildlife and
plants—not building restaurants and gift shops on top of it.
Conservation means approaching development in the most conservative
way—using already disturbed land, not untouched rare chapparal.
Conservation means walking the talk. Unfortunately, despite many efforts
to persuade the zoo that better alternatives are possible, its
executives remain determined that their bloated, grandiose vision of
conservation will be built atop one of the most beautiful pieces of
remaining open space in the East Bay Hills.
Only the public can
stop this—by exercising our rights to speak out against it in every
forum. Please continue to educate your neighbors who may have never
heard about the Park. And watch for updates as we move into the next
Very few events
count as historic. Finding the Higgs boson is one. Broadly, particle
physics is to the universe what DNA is to life: the hidden principle
underlying so much else. And the significance of the Higgs is
massive—literally. Without the Higgs there would be no mass. And without
mass, there would be no stars, no planets, no atoms—and certainly no
human beings. In most of our editions we celebrate this great leap
forward on our cover. But in Britain we look at the price-fixing scandal
in the City of London—and its gathering global impact. We think this
could be finance's tobacco moment.
(JS: I studied physics
in the 1980s at the California Academy of Sciences Adult Education (now,
sadly, discontinued), and we were excited about the Higgs boson.
However, at that time it was thought helpful if the Higgs existed, but
it was not considered essential. That changed in a few years and there
was fear that if it were not found it would strike a crushing blow to
particle physics, a very serious matter. Although this find is far from
definitive, it has definitely caused many people to feel more
comfortable that they're probably on the right track. Exciting times.)
8. Please support the California Right To Know Act - on the ballot this November.
Sign the petition here: http://carighttoknow.org/
Volunteer locally (coastsiders) by emailing Leta at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tell your friends
act will make it a requirement that Genetically Modified "Foods" - GMOs
- be labelled as such. It was put on the ballot with a million
signatures; 90% of Americans support labelling of food. Why would anyone
not want to label food? It's a "no-brainer" - right?
It is food -- isn't it? Should we have to question a banana as to its banana-ness?
ballot initiative has two main provisions. The first requires "labeling
on raw or processed food offered for sale to consumers if made from
plants or animals with genetic material changed in specific ways." The
second provision bans foods from being labeled "natural" when they
contain genetically-altered ingredients. Some exceptions will apply to
certain foods such as, "certified organic; unintentionally produced with
genetically engineered material; made from animals fed or injected with
genetically engineered material but not genetically engineered
themselves; processed with or containing only small amounts of
genetically engineered ingredients; administered for treatment of
medical conditions; sold for immediate consumption such as in a
restaurant; or alcoholic beverages."
A National Poll done in March
2012 by the Mellman Group shows that over 90% of Americans favor
labeling for genetically engineered foods—an unusually high number in
today’s increasingly polarized political climate. A survey done in the
State of Vermont confirms similar public opinion. California voters will
get the opportunity to decide for themselves in November, so go do some
research, and get your pens ready!
There is no good health reason
for not labelling food -- and what is life if we can not trust that the
produce we purchase is just produce - not produce with chemicals
engineered into it? GMO food often does not produce viable seeds.
Union of Concerned Scientists summarizes: "... Finally, the scientific
evidence available to date, while encouraging, does not support the
conclusion that genetically modified crops are intrinsically safe for
health or the environment. ... " Or read the whole report here
I'M WORKING ON THE WORLD
I'm working on the world,
revised, improved edition,
featuring fun for fools,
blues for brooders,
combs for bald pates,
tricks for old dogs.
Here's one chapter: The Speech
of Animals and Plants.
Each species comes, of course,
with its own dictionary.
Even a simple "Hi there,"
when traded with a fish,
make both the fish and you
feel quite extraordinary.
The long-suspected meanings
of rustlings, chirps, and growls!
Soliloquies of forests!
The epic hoot of owls!
Those crafty hedgehogs drafting
aphorisms after dark,
while we blindly believe
they are sleeping in the park!
Time (Chapter Two) retains
its sacred right to meddle
in each earthly affair.
Still, time's unbounded power
that makes a mountain crumble,
moves seas, rotates a star,
won't be enough to tear
lovers apart: they are
too naked, too embraced,
too much like timid sparrows.
Old age is, in my book,
the price that felons pay,
so don't whine that it's steep:
you'll stay young if you're good.
Suffering (Chapter Three)
doesn't insult the body.
Death? It comes in your sleep,
exactly as it should.
When it comes, you'll be dreaming
that you don't need to breathe;
that breathless silence is
the music of the dark
and it's part of the rhythm
to vanish like a spark.
Only a death like that. A rose
could prick you harder, I suppose;
you'd feel more terror at the sound
of petals falling to the ground.
Only a world like that. To die
just that much. And to live just so.
And all the rest is Bach's fugue, played
for the time being
on a saw.
~ Wislawa Szymborska ~
(Poems New and Collected, trans. by S. Baranczak and C. Cavanagh)
10. From SF Parks Alliance
week the Board of Supervisors adopted a budget for the City that
included about $120 million in operating funding for the Recreation and
Parks Department. This includes roughly $30 million in funding from the
City's General Fund - less than 2% of that fund. While this funding
level continues the chronic pattern of underfunding our park system, it
could have been worse.
And, it also just got a little bit
better. The Board voted a supplement to the budget (called an
"add-back") that restores $420,000 in this fiscal year, plus $665,000 in
the next fiscal year beginning July 1, 2013. This extra funding will be
devoted to hiring additional park patrol officers and gardeners, and
will directly address two of our most pressing problems in our parks -
curtailing vandalism and providing for more grounds maintenance.
Parks Alliance engaged in an array of advocacy efforts last week to
support this add-back. Thanks to all of you who contributed by
contacting your Supervisor! We're gratified we've been able to have a
positive impact on making this small but important step in the right
direction in funding our parks. Supervisor Scott Wiener was the leading
voice on the Board in favor of this add-back, and it was his leadership
that made this win possible.
I am very sorry not to be able to make Josiah Clark's talk (I'll be out
of town). I would be very interested in any tidbits of info you could
pass along: perhaps in your next newsletter? One wildlife-resources
thought I have been having is that people are always planting flowers
for pollinators, or putting out feeders for birds, but what about
planting specifically for seed production, like letting plants go to
seed for seed-eaters? Or nurturing a variety of insects for
insectivores? Why focus on butterflies or bees? I was thinking maybe we
could leave garbage in our yards and breed flies and gnats and ants for
the birds to eat. In fact, the heck with grey water: think of all the
wildlife that would be supported by a nice fly-infested blackwater pond
in the yard! Or carrion..how cool it would be to see a turkey vulture
feeding on fido (or grandma) in the garden!
to garbage in the yard--Steve, you may be ahead of your time, like by a
century :-) And for stagnant water to breed flies, gnats,
&c---hmm. Mosquito Abatement may have other ideas.
tempted to post your feedback to my newsletter. Boy oh boy, I can see
the vociferous folks trying to destroy the Natural Areas Program getting
charged up over this. They won't have to endlessly repeat their same
old same old--here's some new fodder for them. Maybe you'll make the
New York Times..
Jake, Well, of
course I'm joking, but there was an element of seriousness there. I
really have been wondering about encouraging bugs and seeds, though I'm
afraid the garbage would just draw rats, and I'm kind of squeamish about
more rats. Especially if they beat the vultures to Fido.
Your very thought-provoking LTE [to Bay Nature on "foraging"] was
answered by Dan Rademacher and I couldn't help thinking what your
reaction was to his response. I got the impression that he was defending
foraging because he didn't want to appear contrary to the magazine, or
maybe he really does believe that foraging field trips are attended by
people who want to learn about ecosystems. The people I have encountered
who constantly ask "Is this edible?" are only interested in just that.
Couple that with hikes that are aimed at exposing people (especially
kids) to what is edible and you have a perfect storm of constant grazing
phenomenon is catching fire in the Bay Area and is fueled by locavore
chefs and foodies who tweet a time and location for a pop-up dinner
featuring wild foods. One was featured on Anthony Bourdain's Travel
Channel show called "Layover" when he was in SF. He was with a local
forager gathering fennel pollen at McLaren Park for just such a
gathering. It does seem to fascinate the younger crowds, and
well-educated ones at that!
I am scratching my head at Rademacher's awkward final question and I find it frustrating that he didn't attempt to answer it.
find it easy to forgive politicians, editors, and others who depend on
voters, subscribers, et al. Actually, I thought Dan's thoughts are OK.
Bear in mind that there are positive sides to "foraging", and I don't
blow those off. Considering today's urban people's understandable
ignorance about nature, any contact with nature should be taken as an
advance. Does that balance the other aspects of foraging? I don't
know; I keep open about this, at least for the time being until I know
The important thing is that there is publicity and debate.
Two weeks ago I received an email from Slow Foods--whose aims I support
and want to further--and it contained an item labeled Foraging, but
without elaboration. I hit the Reply button and asked them to expand a
bit on the word. I received a courteous response, but no explanation. I
asked again, and didn't receive a reply. So I deleted that from
newsletter posting. Another confirmation that humans aren't inclined to
give much consideration to other species.
"Recognize your phylogeny. You are a Great Ape. We're more related to gorillas than most warblers are to each other."
Audrey Schulman; Three Weeks in December; Europa; 2012.
On Jul 3, 2012, at 4:54 PM, Laarry Brown wrote:
I certainly share Savemuni's objection to the Central Subway, the
Transportation Bill that has been passed is a disaster for alternative
transit in general. All public transit, bicycle and pedestrian funding
has been cut dramatically. And without the specific allocations of the
previous bill it allows states to opt out of spending for alternatives
entirely. It's nice to think that California might reallocate Central
Subway funds to more productive transit uses but I fear that those funds
would just dry up completely.
sure you're right, Larry. I know who runs the House of
Representatives, and I know their motives and shenanigans. What I don't
know is the Congressional processes and how they work. I am opposed to
the ill-conceived Central Subway and look for possible ways to defeat
This is one move in a complicated dance and I have no idea
how it plays out. We may still get the Subway through the maneuverings
of Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, et al. In the meantime, if the GOP can
contribute to its defeat I'll be happy. This move may mean nothing,
just another step in the patterned choreography which we're all so weary
for including the Mammoth Bone clip in your newsletter. I have
several of the bones including one that fits perfectly into one of Ian's
leg bones. It is a pretty exciting find!
Gasp! You mean Ian is closely related to mammoths? :-)
Like Ian and I say, you never know what you will find when you pick up litter!
Hope you are well. I am looking forward to our August adventure.
She's talking about our Pedro Point combination field trip and work party on Sunday, August 26. Save the date.
12. Animal cognition
Man’s best friend
Can dogs really show empathy towards humans?
Jun 30th 2012 | from The Economist (excerpted) I feel your pain
quickly become part of the family. Tales abound of dogs celebrating joy
in a household or commiserating when tragedy strikes. This may not seem
surprising after 15,000 years of co-evolution. But what hard evidence
is there of dogs’ empathy with humans? A new experiment suggests that
behind all the waggy tails there really is something deeper going on.
experiments have hinted that animals can feel sympathy. Rats and
monkeys had been found to forgo food to avoid delivering electric shocks
to relatives. Similarly, apes have recently been documented consoling
one another after conflicts. However, all these experiments and
observations were demonstrating an animal’s sensitivity to distress in
other members of the same species. Deborah Custance and Jennifer Mayer
of Goldsmiths College, London, set out to see if dogs could detect the
emotional state of humans.
To do this, (researchers) conducted an
experiment to study the response of dogs when a nearby human suddenly
began to cry. The researchers knew that interpreting responses would be
difficult, since dogs tend to whine, nuzzle, lick, lay their heads in
laps and fetch toys for people in distress. Although such actions hint
at a dog wishing to offer comfort, they could also be signs of
curiosity, or suggest that a dog is simply distressed by seeing its
discoveries suggest that dogs do have the ability to express empathetic
concern. But although the results are clear enough, Dr Custance argues
that more work needs to be done to be sure that such behaviour is true
empathy. It is possible, she points out, that the dogs were drawing on
previous experiences in which they were rewarded for approaching
distressed human companions. Dog-owners, however, are unlikely to need
any more convincing.
13. Online fraud
Blatancy and latency
Why internet scams seem so obvious
Jun 30th 2012 | from The Economist
FAULTY English, the e-mail describes vast riches in search of an owner.
Your new pen pal just needs your bank account to park the money—and
will pay richly for the favour. In fact, the fraudsters will empty your
account, or sucker you into paying fees for cash that never
Though Nigeria is well known as the source of such
tricks (called 419 scams after the relevant paragraph in that country’s
criminal code), many crooks make puzzlingly little attempt to hide their
origins. In a new paper*, Cormac Herley of Microsoft Research has used
maths to show why: blatancy is a means of weeding out all but the most
He argues that scammers are rational
actors. A big cost for them is the time they spend coaxing fully into
their net those who show initial interest. So they need to select the
most promising targets, rather than timewasters or the wary. “By sending
an e-mail that repels all but the most gullible, the scammer gets the
most promising marks [victims] to self-select,” he says. But the absurd
stories and rum prose are not necessarily works of art. Scammers may
simply reuse the e-mails that work best.
Officials are intrigued
by Mr Herley’s conjecture. According to Basil Udotai, who was formerly
the cybersecurity director at the office of Nigeria’s National Security
Adviser, “There are more non-Nigerian scammers claiming [to be] Nigerian
than ever reported. Even when Nigerians relocate to other West African
countries they retain the Nigerian status, addresses and operational
bases in their e-mails for competitive reasons.” But he suggests that
this has another motive: it is Nigeria’s dreadful reputation for
corruption that makes the strange tales of dodgy lawyers, sudden death
and orphaned fortunes seem plausible in the first place.
Burrell, who studies online scams and is at the University of
California, Berkeley, says many African fraudsters are now pretending to
be non-African to look more credible. Eve Edelson, the author of
“Scamorama”, a book about baiting the fraudsters, says African criminals
use many methods: not only fake-sounding e-mails but realistic ones,
But some empirical evidence backs up Mr Herley’s broader
point about the fraudsters’ incentive to filter out discerning targets.
Eric Park of Symantec, a computer-security firm, notes that advance-fee
scams that purport to offer cheap loans have begun to change from
appearing very official and asking for information, to looking amazingly
louche. That suggests that these scamsters too are trying to attract
idiots, rather than serious-minded borrowers.
One implication of
Mr Herley’s work is that a little bit of public-spirited
scam-baiting—wasting the fraudsters’ time by pretending to be a
potential victim—can increase the scammers’ costs and undermine their
business model. For those with some time to spare, joining a cyber-posse
may offer an amusing way to make the world a safer place.
* “Why do Nigerian scammers say they are from Nigeria?” research.microsoft.com/pubs/167719/ WhyFromNigeria.pdf
Let's remake the world with words.
Not frivolously, nor
To hide from what we fear,
But with a purpose.
As Wordsworth said, remove
"The dust of custom" so things
Shine again, each object arrayed
In its robe of original light.
And then we'll see the world
As if for the first time.
As once we gazed at the beloved
Who was gazing at us.
~ Gregory Orr ~
Marin Municipal Water District
Saturday, July 7, 9 AM to 2 PM
us to improve tread and drainage plus trim vegetation along the Upper
Miller Trail. Meet at 9 a.m. at the turnout at the top of the Miller
Trail on East Ridgecrest Blvd. If you reach East Peak parking lot you
have gone too far.
San Geronimo Creek Stabilization
Saturday, July 21, 9 AM to 2 PM
This event is a collaboration with the AmeriCorps Watershed Stewards Project.
help us restabilize a bank on San Geronimo Creek by removing invasive
blackberries and English Ivy and planting native riparian plants.
will meet at Lagunitas School District parking lot at 1 Lagunitas
School Road in San Geronimo at 8:45 a.m. and will walk to the site at
Breakfast snacks will be provided and volunteers
should bring their own lunch. Ice cream will be served at the end of the
To pre-register or for more information about the
above volunteer events, call 415-945-1128 or e-mail
email@example.com or visit our Volunteer page on our
NEWS: Thanks to Plants, We Will Never Find a Planet Like Earth
Earth's flora is responsible for the glaciers and rivers that have created this planet's distinctive landscape
OBSERVATIONS: Climate Change Has Helped Bring Down Cultures
NEWS: Volcanoes May Have Sparked Little Ice Age
simulations show that several large, closely spaced eruptions (and not
decreased solar radiation) could have cooled the Northern Hemisphere
enough to spark sea-ice growth and a subsequent feedback loop
CLIMATEWIRE: New Study Calculates Years of Life Lost to Extreme Temperature
analysis of health data from Brisbane suggests humanity may struggle
with the heat waves and cold snaps brought on by climate change
How The Taste Of Tomatoes Went Bad (And Kept On Going)
NPR's All Things Considered, June 28, 2012
story: Growers selected tomatoes that ripened uniformly and didn't
have what they call "green shoulders" - green areas which were deemed
less appealing to shoppers. (JS: Not to this shopper, as I like the
flavor of the green and transitional areas and have always sought them
out when I have a choice.) Only now have they discovered that the gene
that produces the uniform color is the same gene that adversely affects
Garrison Keillor: "Tomatoes they strip-mine down in Texas."
So Heirloom tomatoes is what people who have bemoaned the fate of
tomatoes turned to. AND 'Early Girl'. Yum yum, and it's time for them
to show up at my farmers market any day now, pant pant. As I remind
people every year, if they can find dry farmed Early Girls there is no need to go to heaven; it's here.
Interview with Stephen Dubner
Marketplace for Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Ryssdal: Time now for a little Freakonomics Radio. Every two weeks,
we're talking with Stephen Dubner, co-author of the books and blog of
the same name, about the hidden side of everything. Dubner as always,
good to talk to you.
Stephen Dubner: Great to be here Kai. Hey, seems like you talk about your mom on the show quite a bit, am I right?
Ryssdal: I don't know, maybe.
Dubner: And it sounds from what I hear, you have a fairly loving relationship, I'm also right on that?
Ryssdal: No. 1, she's listening, so watch yourself. And No. 2, yeah, we get along, me and mom.
I'm just thinking, with Mother's Day coming up, two Sundays from now,
I'm guessing you're thinking about maybe sending her some flowers. Yes?
OK, two things: 1) It's all I can do to remember to get my wife flowers
on Mother's Day, let alone my own mother; and 2) The dirty secret which
I will deny if you repeat it -- my wife actually does the flowers for
Dubner: Ah, but she gets something?
Well, she is not alone. Every year in the U.S., we spend about $12
billion on cut flowers alone -- Mother's Day is obviously a huge part of
that. But here's something you may not know, Kai: about 80 percent of
these cut flowers are imported, mostly from equatorial countries that
get 12 hours of year-round sunlight.
Mario Valle is a flower wholesaler in Los Angeles; he handles about two million flowers a year. Here's how they get to him.
Valle: Anything that's coming out of South America is generally
air-freighted into Miami, then it's trucked over to California.
Ryssdal: Really? They fly to Miami and then drive it to here?
And I do not want to rain on your mother's parade or anybody's mother's
parade, but there is something going on here. We live in a day and age
where people are obsessed with "food miles" and the carbon footprint of
everything we consume. So if that's the way we're going to be, here's
what I want to know: Where is the outrage over these globe-trotting
Mother's Day flowers? I mean, if you ship food across the planet, at
least we eat it -- it's our sustenance. But flowers? You look at them
for a couple of days and then plop, into the trash!
this is you up on your high horse here, you are now killing all the joy
and glory that is Mother's Day and cut flowers in this country?
Kai, it is not my nature to scold. I hope you know that by now. But I
do find it curious that cut flowers have somehow escaped the
environmental scrutiny that accompanies what we eat, how we transport
ourselves. It may be a halo effect from the flowers themselves -- I
mean, how can you hate on roses and tulips, they're so pretty!
So here's the thing -- if I don't, well let me rephrase that -- if my
wife doesn't send my mother flowers for Mother's Day, then I'm in deep
and serious trouble.
Dubner: I don't want that to happen. It's
the last thing I want to happen. So let's look to a different holiday
for a potential solution: Christmas. Every year, we buy about 35 million
Christmas trees in this country, about $2 billion worth. Again, we're
talking crops that are harvested and transported solely for our viewing
but not eating pleasure. But every year, the share of artificial
Christmas trees rises -- and now we're up to about 40 percent fake
Christmas trees. Meaning there's no need to grow and transport another
tree next year, or the year after.
Ryssdal: Wait now, stop -- I'm not doing a fake Christmas tree, I'm just not going to do it.
Let me try to persuade you of a little something. Kai, you have a
little package there in the studio. We sent you something. It's a good
time to open it up.
Ryssdal: OK. No. 1, I'm a little disappointed
because it's clearly not beer, but all right, that's fine. Is this a
corsage? Or something equally sensitive?
Dubner: What do you think? How do they look?
Ryssdal: They look lovely. They're yellow roses.
Dubner: And what are they made of?
Ryssdal: Yeah, they're not real.
They're plastic flowers. And they're beautiful, right? They do
wonderful things with plastic these days. So here's the thing, we may
associate flowers with nature and plastic with the opposite, but is in
fact a very simplistic view of how the world actually works.
Susanne Freidberg, she's a Dartmouth professor and author who's been
studying how carbon footprints are calculated. Here's what she thinks of
the idea of giving plastic flowers instead of real ones.
Freidberg: They're so lightweight, they wouldn't need to be flown
anywhere. They wouldn't decompose and produce greenhouse gases in any
landfill. There's the endless lifespan, so the possibilities for
So Kai, listen: If you really love your mother --
and I'm not implying you don't, by the way -- I want you to think about
sending her, or having your wife send her some plastic flowers this
year. If you want, you can even regift this bouquet, like Prof.
Freidberg suggests. Because I know you're a bit of a cheapskate as well.
(JS: No, I'm not promoting plastic flowers. I'm not promoting anything, just sharing a fun and provocative POV.)
19. Planning & Conservation League receives charitable bequest
Planning and Conservation League announces a generous bequest to our
organization from the Estate of Scott Fleming. We would like to thank
the Fleming family for this generous donation which is especially
critical in these challenging economic times.
Mr. Fleming, an
ardent conservationist, was involved in founding both the Planning and
Conservation League and California Native Plant Society. He and his wife
Jenny always enjoyed the outdoors; the two cultivated a backyard
botanical garden containing many rare native species at their home in
North Berkeley. Scott’s passions also included white-water kayaking,
hiking and camping.
(I post this because Scott and Jenny were
friends of mine, and were well known to many readers of this
newsletter. We should all love PCL and be happy about this bequest.)