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Apr 21st
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Environment

News - Environment

A Change of Plans

A Change of Plans

After Santa Cruz’s reset on plans for desalination, the Soquel Creek Water District assesses its options

The City of Santa Cruz has paused plans for desalination in the wake of community opposition, but the option could still be on table for the Soquel Creek Water District.

Looming threats of seawater intrusion in its aquifers have the district—which serves about 38,000 customers from Capitola to La Selva Beach—seeking a number of possible solutions to the problem of maintaining its water supply on a long-term level. There’s also the additional, ongoing threat of drought. These problems have prompted the district’s board of trustees to plan a series of public meetings over the next four months to explore its options.

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News - Environment

A Tarplant Tale

A Tarplant Tale

A look at the plant that took the spotlight during the Arana Gulch debates and what its well-being says about the area’s larger ecosystem 

In the middle of Arana Gulch, a 63-acre greenbelt of rolling meadow and oak woodland nestled between Live Oak and Santa Cruz's Eastside neighborhood, there are about a dozen tiny yellow flowers, each about the size of a nickel. And while they are small, mostly dried out this time of year, and aesthetically quite simple, the plants tell a much bigger story than their appearance suggests.

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News - Environment

Confronting the Future

Confronting the Future

Marine scientists gather for a hearing on top threats to the California coast

Many of the critical threats to the California coast and the ocean environment—such as sea-level rise, ocean acidification, and toxic run-off—are causing harm incrementally over the course of decades. Meanwhile, large-scale response and prevention initiatives by the government to these accumulating, long-term hazards—called “adaptation”—are substantially hindered, largely due to the relatively shorter time frames in which government and politics operate.

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News - Environment

Uniting the Community with Color

Uniting the Community with Color

The Mural Alleyway Project works to beautify the City of Watsonville

Although graffiti is sometimes considered art, it can also be a problem when it becomes a financial burden to property owners or breeds fear in a community.

Painting over the gang signs and tags and monitoring high-risk areas has been the solution for cities such as Watsonville for years. But recently, a band of local artists came up with a new way to abate the problem: murals.  

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News - Environment

Should the Rain Not Fall

Should the Rain Not Fall

The City of Santa Cruz reverts back to basics in confronting water supply issues and community engagement

When it comes to solving and engaging the public on Santa Cruz's water supply problems, it's becoming increasingly clear to local leaders that the way to begin is not by spearheading solutions, such as transfers with other districts, new conservation tactics, or the highly contentious desalination plant, but rather to start with the basics: what are the city's water sources, and what are the problems it faces?

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News - Environment

Burial Grounds

Burial Grounds

The state moves forward with funding for new veterans cemetery at Fort Ord

For the tens of thousands of veterans who have lived and passed away in recent years in the Monterey Bay Area, as well as their families, the nearest national veterans cemetery is almost a two-hour drive away in the San Joaquin Valley.

Some veterans' families, dedicated to burying their loved one in a state or national cemetery but reluctant to inter them in a place so far from home, have kept cremated remains and are waiting for a new veterans cemetery to open that won't require so much travel, says Arnold Leff, commander for the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post in Santa Cruz.

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News - Environment

Crop of the Future?

Crop of the Future?

California legalizes industrial hemp, setting the stage for hemp production should it become legal on the federal level

Hemp advocate Richard Dash, owner of the Dash Hemp Santa Cruz retail store, is quick to point out the irony in the federal government's longstanding ban on the cultivation of industrialized hemp.

The DEA, he explains, associates hemp directly with marijuana despite its non-psychoactive properties, while the sale of bagels with poppy seeds—the base source of opium—is perfectly legal.

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News - Environment

The Center Cannot Hold

The Center Cannot Hold

Why the environmental and social justice movements must come together

Reverend Deborah L. Johnson and author-entrepreneur Paul Hawken met about six months ago and realized they had a lot in common.

“We resonated a lot,” recalls Johnson, founder of Inner Light Ministries in Soquel. “I was particularly moved by Paul’s involvement in the civil rights movement. Most people know him as an environmentalist but he was a journalist during that time. I thought our voices combined could bring a unique perspective in helping the more progressive types come together.”

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News - Environment

Civil Conversations in Uncivil Debates

Civil Conversations in Uncivil Debates

How two of desal’s most vocal figures came to understand—and respect—one another despite their differences

In recent years, plans for a controversial seawater desalination plant in Santa Cruz landed retired electrician and environmental activist Rick Longinotti and former mayor and councilman Mike Rotkin on opposite sides of the aisle. Both became leading voices for their respective sides—Longinotti as the founder of opposition group Desal Alternatives, and Rotkin as a once-desal opponent-turned-supporter from years of looking at the issue. The men didn’t know each other well before the desal episode—in Rotkin’s words, their “first real connection was on different sides of this important local issue.” Yet, despite their roles in one of Santa Cruz’s most divisive and heated episodes, they say they not only managed to communicate well, but also grew to enjoy it.

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News - Environment

Bait, Trawl, Switch

Bait, Trawl, Switch

Environmental agencies and Monterey Bay trawlers propose exchanges between protected areas and fishing grounds

Bottom trawling is a traditional but controversial means of fishing that drags heavy nets along the seafloor, churning up and scooping in sand-dwelling fish like sand dab and halibut, along with everything else in its path. It has been described in some studies as being similar to a farmer plowing his fields.

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Smells Like Team Spirit

The organizers of TEDx Santa Cruz don’t just talk about this year’s theme, ‘radical collaboration’—they live it

 

Pluto Retrograde, Aries New Moon, Lyrid Meteor Showers

As the Lyrid meteors, radiating from the star Vega in the Harp constellation, begin showering heaven and earth with light, Pluto, planet of transformation (or die) turns stationary retrograde (Thursday, April 16), 15 degrees Capricorn. Retrogrades have purpose, allowing humanity time to review, reassess, research and reinvent while returning to previous situations. Retrogrades are times of inner activity, seeds sown in bio-dynamically prepared soil. Pluto retrograde is the most serious and resolute of retrogrades—a pure tincture, or, as in homeopathy, a “constitutional” touching the essences of all that matters. Pluto offers deep insight into confusion or puzzlement and areas where transformation is still incomplete. It’s valuable to have one’s astrology chart to follow what area of life the major planets— especially Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto—are influencing. These outer planets have long-term and lasting effects on our psyche, inner/outer life events, how people see us and how we see and process our world. Pluto, retrograde for five months (until Sept. 24) offers deep earthquakes of change, awakens humanity to the task of building (Capricorn) the new culture and civilization, flailing our inner world about, deepening us until we transform and do things differently. Pluto is an unrelenting teacher. New moon (29 Aries) is Saturday, April 18. With the personality-building keynote, “Let form again be sought.” Mars anchors the new creative fires of Aries into our world. The New Group of World Servers participates together in the new moon festival, while also preparing for the Taurus Wesak, Buddha Full Moon Festival (May 3). Join us everyone.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of April 17

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
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Latest Comments

 

Mighty Leaf

Radicchio from Dirty Girl Produce, wine etiquette fail, and a treat from Gayle’s

 

What would you like to see a TED talk about?

Hydrogen-gas cars that are coming this summer. Scott Oliver, Santa Cruz, Professor

 

37th Parallel Wines

I visited the Capitola Mall recently to check out the newly launched Third Fridays Walking Art Tour, and was surprised to find an impressive assortment of artwork from local artists.

 

New Bohemian Brewery

New Santa Cruz brewery focuses on European style lagers