Environment

Hurricane Sandy and climate change

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I guess it's no surprise that most of the news media coverage of Hurricane Sandy was focused on the immediate -- when you have six million people without power and transit systems paralyzed and at least 38 deaths, you deal with that stuff first. There will be plenty of time later to talk about causes and preparadness and what to do next time.Read more »

CEQA: We Need It

The right of average citizens to protect their environment may be at stake

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OPINION Big business interests in California are waging a full-scale assault on the California Environmental Quality Act, known as CEQA, which has been loudly blamed for the slowdown in new construction in recent years.

But sluggish construction has been problematic nationwide and is far beyond CEQA's reach. The exaggerated attacks on CEQA parallel extreme Tea Party politics, where facts don't seem to matter and well-funded voices drown out reason. Attackers unfairly scapegoat a law that instead deserves great credit for far-reaching good.Read more »

Artificial turf project appealed as opponents decry use of kids as lobbyists

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As opponents of a controversial plan to install artificial turf soccer fields in Golden Gate Park appealed the project's approval to the Board of Supervisors – with a hearing set for July 10 – they criticized how a soccer coach inappropriately used children to lobby for the project and raised hopes that a new alternative plan would be supported by supervisors.Read more »

Restore Hetch Hetchy conjures corporate boogiemen

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The campaign for a ballot measure that seeks to create a plan for tearing down the O'Shaughnessy Dam – San Francisco's main source of clean water and power – and turning the Hetch Hetchy Valley into a tourist destination must be having a hard time collecting the 9,702 signatures it needs by July 9 because it is resorting to conjuring up unlikely boogiemen to win public sympathy.Read more »

Chevron meets amid angry shareholders, liability, and environmental disasters

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About 40 gathered outside Chevron’s San Francisco offices yesterday to mark its annual shareholder meeting. The demonstration was organized by OccupySF’s environmental justice working group, and used art and street theater to criticize Chevron’s involvement in hydraulic fracturing, a natural gas extraction process that may threaten parts of California’s water supply. Read more »

The Performant: The Secret to Life, the Universe, and Nothing in Particular

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“Celestial Observatories for Cyanobacteria” illuminate the knowledge gap at the San Francisco Arts Commission

“The purpose of our lives is to celebrate the grandeur of the cosmos" -- William Kotzwinkle, Dr. Rat

At the age of eight, possibly inspired by my first encounter with Madeleine L'Engle’s A Wind in the Door, the notion occurred to me that just as individual cells were undetectable (to the naked eye) in the human body, so were individual human beings virtually undetectable on the great organism that is the world, and just as the planet earth was virtually undetectable in the vastness of a single galaxy, that single galaxy was virtually undetectable within the infinite scope of the universe.

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Living the green dream

Conservation (and good storytelling) inspire Ann and Steve Dunsky

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FILM Bay Area filmmakers Steve and Ann Dunsky (2005's The Greatest Good) have a pair of documentaries making waves right now: Green Fire, about conservationist Aldo Leopold, which plays at the upcoming San Francisco Green Film Festival; and Butterflies and Bulldozers, an exploration of the decades-long fight to save San Bruno Mountain. Bulldozers screened at the 2011 Green Film Festival, and has a coveted slot amid the 20th anniversary programming at Washington, D.C.'s Environmental Film Festival later this spring. Read more »

Plastic bags banned from all SF stores

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The Board of Supervisors voted to expand a 2007 ban on plastic checkout bags to cover all retail and food establishments.

The law bans all businesses from providing plastic bags to customers. It also requires a ten cent fee for paper bags, to be pocketed by the store. With the ban, only paper bags, compostable bags, and reusable bags will be permitted at checkout. The city hopes to encourage shoppers to carry reusable bags.

Supervisors acknowledged that this ordinance could create confusion and inconvenience for business owners. Read more »

Are we green yet?

San Francisco's ambitious clean-power program moves toward approval

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rebeccab@sfbg.com

A contract agreement for San Francisco's innovative clean energy program, CleanPowerSF, could be approved by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors as soon as January, representing a major milestone for efforts to put the city in the retail electricity business.Read more »

Progressives split on bag ban, ex-cons

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A couple of interesting votes at the Board of Supes Dec. 6. Sup. Ross Mirkarimi lost two pieces of legislation -- a mandate that stores charge for bags at checkout counters and a tax credit for companies that hire ex-offenders.Read more »