Thursday, February 16, 2006

Environmentalism awakened

That is a bit of an stretch for a headline. Maybe the only thing that has awakened is the rest of us. Still, since I started to make some noice, is looks more is getting done, generally outside the Green Party or very quietly inside. Environmental issues had not been appearing on Green Party list, but they are now and that is goodness. It reminds us of where we have been. Let me give you a list beyond what Lisa has reminded us that they have been working on in Los Angeles.

Marc Soloman has posted to CalForum about a formal effort to get the SFGP to endores a resolution against HR 3924 (TESRA) and getting the SF Board of Supervisors to endorse a resolution on the subject. The San Mateo Board of Supervisors has already passed a similar one.

I found that there is a really big battle going on in Monterey County. The issue involves the differences between a new General Plan Update for Monterey County, 6 years in the making and a Community General Plan Initiative that supporters hope to have on the June ballot. If there were every a place where there is a clear battleground on the major issues of transportation, water resource management, sprawl, land use, etc., this is it. I would hope that the Monterey County Green Party is right in the middle. Note: I have not had the time to read through each side, so I don't have an opinion. It is just clear that this is where Green Values can make a big difference.

The Stockton Record reported today on the problems with salinity in the water of the California Delta. There is a requirement to clean up the problem. Pumping more salty water to the Metropolitan Water District (Los Angeles to San Diego) is part of the problem. It is hard to maintain the current level and keep the water fresh enough to use for irrigation. In this issue, the farmers of the Central Valley and environmental organizations are aligned together against the Water District.

Fixing this might require Southern California Cities to start paying people to plant cactus lawn like Las Vegas is doing. It might also required Central Valley farmers to change their normal cropping practices, replacing cotton with industrial hemp would be a start, as the hemp requires less nitrogen fertilizer and less water and both can end up as textiles. It will require everyone to give a bit, including LA. The delta is far away from there, but as long as LA keeps asking for more water to supply more people there will continue to be problems for the rest of the state.

Santa Monica's Sustainable City Plan calls for a reduction in resource usage.

Across all segments of the community:

  • Significantly decrease overall community consumption, specifically the consumption of non-local, non-renewable, non-recyclable and non-recycled materials, water, and energy and fuels. The city should take a leadership role in encouraging sustainable procurement, extended producer responsibility and should explore innovative strategies to become a zero waste city.

And when the evaluate themselves, they do not yet live up to the plan.

However, water and energy use and waste generation are on the rise in all sectors of the community. High daytime populations of workers and visitors to Santa Monica as well as the strength of the local economy and increased development have likely fueled these increases. It will require concerted efforts by residents, businesses and community institutions to reverse these trends in the coming years.

We all have a lot of work to do. I hope to hear more stories about what others are doing. Keep the comments coming.

No comments: