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Jan 28th
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Environment

News - Environment

Biodiesel Revisited

Biodiesel Revisited

The Green Station keeps hopes for biodiesel alive in Santa Cruz
Whatever happened to biodiesel? Once—not so long ago—it was hailed as an immediate and sustainable way to alleviate dependence on oil and reduce CO2 emissions. But lately biodiesel seems to be living in the shadow of other green technologies, like spotlight-stealing electric cars. However, the absence of fanfare hasn’t deterred Santa Cruz’s Kings of Biodiesel, Green Station owners Bill Le Bon and Ray Newkirk, from continuing the fight. While forced to lease U-Hauls out of the Green Station lot to make ends meet (and sell some of those sly electric cars, which they also agree are great eco-choices), they remain committed to keeping the biodiesel pumps alive and accessible for Santa Cruz.

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News - Environment

Green Eggs, Hold the Ham

Green Eggs, Hold the Ham

UC Santa Cruz dining goes meatless on Mondays
San Francisco and New York City do it; every school in the Baltimore City School District does it; Sir Paul McCartney does it; and now, like four other UC schools, UC Santa Cruz does it, too.

We’re talking about Meatless Monday—a growing movement to cut meat consumption by 15 percent (one day a week), thereby helping to reduce serious environmental stresses, health problems, and resource shortages. Organizations like Meatless Monday and Meat Free Monday (the latter was founded by McCartney and his daughters) are spearheading the campaign, and reminding the world’s omnivores that, according to the United Nations, livestock are the single largest contributor to global warming—spewing even more greenhouse gases than all of the world’s transportation combined.

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News - Environment

Smart Meters

Smart Meters

How can something so intelligent cause such uproar?
California is tangled up in a controversy involving Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E)’s latest energy-monitoring gadget, the SmartMeter.
The SmartMeter is PG&E’s way of "connecting the energy business with the 21st century” by using wireless technology to read electric and gas usage. The SmartMeter is able to report usage data to PG&E every hour, eliminating the need for meter readers and enhancing their ability to access updated account information.

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News - Environment

Something in the Water

Something in the Water

UCSC scientists win grant to study toxic algae blooms along California coast
A curious event happened in the summer of 1961.  One foggy night, birds began acting confused, suicidal, even violent. Hundreds of sooty shearwaters are said to have crashed into buildings and power lines across Capitola in the middle of the night. Residents who ventured from their homes found themselves attacked by some of the birds who seemed drawn by their flashlights. The next morning streets and rooftops were found littered with the bodies of the birds, and those avian creatures that survived the night filled the streets, noticeably confused and disoriented.

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News - Environment

Ocean Advocacy Goes Federal

Ocean Advocacy Goes FederalExecutive Order creates Clean Ocean Act
You don’t need to tell a Santa Cruzan how important the ocean is. From our economy to our natural beauty to our hard-fought-formoniker as “Surf City,” Santa Cruz is defined by its relationship to the ocean as much as Colorado is to its Rockies. So when President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order on July 19 creating a national ocean policy for the first time in history, it was like hearing about a big break for an old friend who’s been going through a tough time lately.
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News - Environment

Solving Global Warming at Home

Solving Global Warming at Home

New rebate programs provide incentives for home energy efficiency
When talking about sectors of the economy hit hard during the recession, it’s hard to compete with construction. According to the latest job report put out by the U.S. Labor Department, construction unemployment remains around 20.1 percent, or 1.8 million people still looking for work. No matter how you spin it, that’s a lot of people.

Last week, the Green Careers Partnership held a workshop at Cabrillo College aimed at helping Santa Cruz contractors move out of that figure and into the emerging economy of energy efficiency retrofitting for homes. Around 60 contractors sat in attendance at the event, which featured presentations highlighting new rebate programs for green home retrofitting, useful credentials and software for the green home sector, and attempts to create a network of green-minded builders.

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News - Environment

Thinking Outside the Bomb

Thinking Outside the Bomb

Anti-nuclear weapons activists take on Santa Cruz
Beneath a magnolia tree in the parking lot behind the Resource Center for Non-Violence, a group of five young adults pulls a makeshift puppet show out of a dust-covered white Astrovan. A puppet in a lab coat steps out in front of a meager audience—five people, including the press, sit on chairs and a tattered gray couch and watch as “Dr. Lab” learns a nightmarish lesson about the detrimental and lasting effects of his work in a nuclear laboratory. A deformed frog tells the doctor that nuclear waste has poisoned his frog family; a visitor from 30,000 years in the future informs him that the effects of nuclear radiation and waste continue to poison and frighten the world’s residents; and a pile of uranium canisters dance and chant about the cancer they will inevitably spread to surrounding residents.

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News - Environment

Why We Need a Single-Use Bag Ordinance

Why We Need a Single-Use Bag Ordinance

In April of this year, the Board of Supervisors made a significant first step in addressing an area of major environmental concern when we initiated the process to enact a county ordinance banning single-use plastic carry-out bags and reducing use of paper carry out bags. The action taken by the Board is only a first step in what will be a lengthy process.

Last year I was contacted by local environmental groups who provided information about other jurisdictions in California that have taken action to reduce the litter and pollution caused by plastic and paper single-use bags. Plastic bags are a petroleum product that not only consume enormous resources during their production, but also tend to be casually discarded, causing significant damage to the environment. Statewide, only 5 percent of these plastic bags are recycled. The production of paper bags adds to deforestation and uses large amounts of energy and water.

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News - Environment

From Land to Sea

From Land to Sea

Blue Marble Planet lover Lea Haratani dives deep
“A lot of people attack the sea. I make love to it.” —Jacques Cousteau
Lea Haratani has had a lifelong passion for the ocean, and every day she tries to show it. Some days, it means not eating fish. Other times, it’s all about taking a walk on the beach—or diving off the coast of Belize with Jim Simon, the vice president of one of the nation's largest ocean conservation organizations, Oceana. She might also be found circulating petitions against offshore drilling with her children at Bookshop Santa Cruz, or organizing a fundraising event for Oceana at the Saint Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco.

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News - Environment

Keeping Cool

Keeping Cool

One UCSC student’s project will save energy in campus apartments
“The Boardwalk’s going to be gone,” says Jennifer Helfrich, a freshly graduated UC Santa Cruz environmental studies student. “It’ll be underwater.”

While she isn’t talking about tomorrow, next year, or even this lifetime, studies do predict that sea levels will have dramatically risen by the end of the century.

“Climate change is happening,” she continues. “A lot of people are going to die and a lot of people are going to be hurt. There’s probably going to be some violence over it, and ecosystems are going to change. A lot of species are going to die but new species will evolve and some will move around. The environment will be fine; it always has been. It changes. The question is whether humans will be OK.”

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Force of Nature

Santa Cruz’s Carlie Statsky brings her love of the natural world to the hyper-personal art of wedding photography

 

Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius

The magical time of Mercury’s retrograde cycle is here once again, until Feb. 11, and then some. The Mercury retro cycle actually lasts eight weeks when we consider its retrograde shadow, giving us six months a year for review. We know the rules of Mercury retro: Be careful with everything; cars, driving, money, resources, friends, friendships, groups, interactions, thinking, talking, communications. Avoid big purchases, important meetings and important repairs. Mercury retrograde times are for review, reassessment and rest. Our minds are overloaded from the last Mercury retro. Our minds need to assess what we’ve done since October—eliminating what is not needed, keeping what’s important, preparing for new information in the next three months (till mid-May). Mercury in Aquarius retrograde … we reinvent ourselves, seek the unusual, we don’t hide, we’re just careful. We live in two worlds; outer appearances and inner reckonings, with both sides of our brain activated. Yet, like the light of the Gemini twins, one light waxes (inner world), the other (outer realities) wanes. Like Virgo, we see what’s been overlooked—assessing, ordering and organizing information. It’s an entirely inner process. When speaking we may utter only half of the sentence. We’re in the underworld, closer to Spirit, eyes unseeing, senses alerted, re-doing things over and over till we sometimes collapse. Because we’re in other realms, we’re wobbly, make mistakes, and don’t really know what we want. It’s not a time for decisions. Not yet. It’s a time of review. And completing things. Mercury retro: integration, slowing down, resolution, rapprochement.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of January 23

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
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Bye Bye Benten!

Benten closing, plus Award-winning gin, a massive burrito and chocolate review

 

Trout Gulch Vineyards

Scanning the shelves of Deluxe Foods of Aptos, which carries an impressive selection of local and imported wines, I picked up a bottle of Trout Gulch Vineyards Chardonnay 2012, described as “a local favorite” by the busy market.

 

Cremer House

What’s old is cutting-edge again in Felton

 

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Spread more kindness and compassion.