December 2, 2012 (El Cajon) -- Cuyamaca College, known throughout the state for its longtime commitment to the green movement, is hosting its third annual Sustainability Symposium Thursday, Dec. 13, at the college’s performing arts theater.
This is the first year the 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. forum will be followed by a Green Vendor and Networking Fair from 1:30-3:30 p.m. In another first, the event doubles as a scholarship fundraiser for students pursuing careers in green or sustainable industries.
November 29, 2012 (El Cajon) – A Native Plant Garden Tour will take place in the Water Conservation Garden at Cuyamaca College, 12122 Cuyamaca College Dr. West, El Cajon on December 1 at 10:30 a.m. The Native Plant tour, guided by Garden Docent, Jan Tubiolo, explores the lifestyle of the Kumeyaay Indians in southern California and the tremendous role native plants played in every aspect of their lives.
November 27, 2012 (San Diego) – Arbor Day in Mission Trails is being celebrated at the Kumeyaay Lake Campground day use parking lot on December 1. Everyone is invited to take part in the planting of oak trees. Volunteers may help with the planting, or as act as cheerleaders for those that are.
Volunteers are also need to pull weeds and help with general landscape maintenance of the area. Some shovels will be available. Gloves and shoes are recommended.
By Terry Weiner, Desert Protective Council
November 23, 2012 (San Diego)—There is a real danger that Production Tax Credits (PTCs) for industrial wind projects will be extended. They are due to expire at year’s end, but Congress may vote soon on a proposal to extend those credits. Extension of PTCs could be surreptitiously attached as a rider to the upcoming congressional budget bill.
If you want to protect our mountains, deserts, scenic and rural areas, wildlife and Native American cultural sites, please join me immediately in asking your members of Congress not to renew tax credits for these large-scale projects remote from places where the energy will be used.
There are much cleaner, less destructive, more efficient ways to meet our nation’s energy needs!
November 25, 2012 (Santee) – The Santee Lakes Foundation, in concert with San Diego State University, SDG&E and the Santee Lakes Preserve presents the inaugural “Lighting at the Lakes – 2012” December 8 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Lake One under the new Pavilion.
SERIES ON WIND TURBINE NOISE AND INFRASOUND ISSUES PUBLISHED BY INTERNATIONAL GROUP SHOW PROBLEMS 25 MILES FROM WINDFARMS
By Miriam Raftery
November 22, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – European Platform Against Windfarms (EPAW) has published the first two in a three-part series on infrasound and low frequency noise problems reportedly caused by windfarms.
By Lori Abbott, California News Service
November 17, 2012 (San Diego)-Congress returned to Washington, D.C., to begin its lame-duck session, but a veterans' group has not given up the fight for legislation to protect parts of the California desert. A bill by Darrell Issa (R-San Diego) would designate as wilderness more than 21,000 acres of Beauty Mountain and Agua Tibia in northern San Diego County.
By Miriam Raftery
November 12, 2012 (Boulevard)—At the latest Boulevard Planning Group meeting, community members including Native Americans shared heart-wrenching stories of how the nation's quest for renewable energy is upending their lives, dividing their communities,imperiling their health, and threatening their futures.
As in Ocotillo, where a wind project has anguished tribal members and residents with destruction of cultural and environmental resources, the community of Boulevard now faces an onslaught of massive "green" energy projects on public, tribal and private lands.
By Miriam Raftery
November 10, 2012 (Ocotillo) – North American Development Bank has announced that it has approved a 20-year, $110 million construction loan for completion of Pattern Energy’s Ocotillo Express wind energy facility. The bank, which is capitalized by both the U.S. and Mexican governments, funds projects within 62 miles of the international border.
SDG&E has signed a 20-year purchase agreement for power from the project, which is on track to become the first renewable energy project to tie into the Sunrise Powerlink, bringing electricity from Imperial Valley to San Diego.
E - The Environmental Magazine
Written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss
Dear EarthTalk: What is the Burrowing Owl Conservation Network and why is it so important to put so much effort into saving one species? -- Ginny Bateman, Portland, OR
November 9, 2012 (California) -- Western burrowing owls (Athene cunicularia) are tiny, long-legged members of the owl family, native to the Americas and preferring open landscapes where they can dig new holes or use existing ones (such as abandoned prairie dog, skunk or armadillo homes) to nest and rear their young. Unlike most other owl species, these small but charismatic birds are more often seen out and about during daylight hours, but they are most active and do their primary feeding at night, preferring a diet of small rodents and large insects.
November 9, 2012 (San Diego) -- Fans of modern design are invited to explore some of the most notable modern residences in San Diego this fall when the Dwell Home Tours (www.dwellhometours.com) come to America’s Finest City for the first time.
The San Diego Tours take place on November 10 and 11 showcasing ten amazing modern homes through the East County, North County and Central San Diego areas ranging from stunning new constructions to brilliant renovations.
"Ask the Experts" and the most diverse water-wise plant sale in the County
November 8, 2012 (Rancho San Diego) -- Considering fall and winter as, “prime gardening months” would be scoffed at in many parts of the United States, but not in San Diego.
With its Mediterranean climate, characterized by mild-to-cool wet winters, and warm-to-hot dry summers, the Fall Garden Festival, held at the Water Conservation Garden from 10am-4pm on Saturday, November 10, 2012, helps San Diegans make the most of the region’s fall-to-spring planting season…and save water while they do it!
E - The Environmental Magazine
Written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss
Dear EarthTalk: What is currently being done in the U.S. to ensure the wise use and safety of our nation’s groundwater? --Kevin Orr, Baton Rouge, LA
November 5, 2012 (San Diego) -- Keeping fresh water safe and abundant is a challenge for all societies. In the U.S., about half of the country’s drinking water comes from groundwater sources. Many rural areas derive all of their drinking water from groundwater, which also provides 40 percent of the irrigation needs of American farmers.
November 3, 2012 (El Cajon) – Brotherhood Lions Club is holding a free e-waste recycling event at the El Cajon Home Depot that ends Nov. 4. The event is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 298 Fletcher Parkway, El Cajon. Unwanted, obsolete or broken televisions, computer monitors, LCD’s or laptops turned in to e-waste collection are eligible for a chance to win prizes. The prizes include 10 $25 Home Depot gift cards, 10 $25 VISA gift cards and 20 $10 VISA gift cards.
November 3, 2012 (San Diego) -- Dear EarthTalk: I heard that the Arctic summer sea ice is at its lowest level since we began recording it. What are the implications of all this melting? -- Jo Shoemaker, Bowie, MD
It is true that on September 16, 2012 the world reached a new low: The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) reported that the extent of sea ice across the Arctic was at its lowest since satellite record-keeping began in 1979. On that date the sea ice reached its summer minimum, 1.32 million square miles, half of what the average size of summer ice was between 1979 and 2000, and almost 20 percent lower than the previous record minimum of 1.61 million square miles set on Sept. 18, 2007. NSIDC added that, despite especially warm conditions in 2007 being much more favorable for sea ice loss than this year, the thinning of sea ice due to climate change has made the ice more vulnerable to breakup and melting.
Tule Wind project’s turbines on ridgelines will be “deadly” for Golden eagles in San Diego County, wildlife biologist predicts
October 29, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – Wildlife biologist Jim Wiegand, vice president of Save the Eagles International, has sent a letter to Bureau of Indian Affairs’ regional director Amy Dutsche warning that the Tule Wind project will be “deadly” for eagles in our region.
October 30, 2012 (Ramona) – County of San Diego Departments of Public Works and Environmental Health are holding a Recycling Event and Reuse & Repair Fair in Ramona, at 1401 Hanson Lane on Nov. 3 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Local experts will be on hand to demonstrate how to repair and reuse questionable or broken items.
October 26, 2012 (La Mesa)--Are we ready for the next 100 years? At this upcoming Centennial event, the City of La Mesa will be showcasing a variety of environmental topics, technologies and activities at the "Sustain La Mesa" Environmental Festival "Our Planet, Our Home" K-12 Environmental Literacy and Art Contest, Saturday,October 27.
This event is presented by the La Mesa Environmental Sustainability Commission and takes place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Harry Griffen Park, 9550 Milden Street, La Mesa.
Dept. of Energy grant will turn a theory and a lab model into a full-scale testing device.
October 22, 2012 (San Diego) – For the last few years San Diego State University engineering professor Fletcher Miller has been working in his campus lab to prove a theory about a more efficient way to produce solar energy. Thanks to a U.S. Department of Energy grant of $3.9 million, he will now be able to test his theory in a more realistic scenario.
The grant, from the SunShot Initiative, will enable Miller and his team of graduate and undergraduate student researchers to take a lab-scale model and, over the next four years, develops a full-scale model that will be tested at the National Solar Thermal Testing Facility in New Mexico.
October 21, 2012 (La Mesa) -- Not only does their creativity bring a smile, but the breadth of ideas, ages and techniques will make a lovely, rounded exhibition. It is exciting each year to see what the students will come up with for the "Our Home, Our Planet" K-12 Environmental Literacy and Art contest.
Awards will be handed out by Mayor Art Madrid on the Festival Stage of the "Sustain La Mesa" Environmental Festival at 10:00 a.m. on October 27 at Harry Griffen Park.
By Miriam Raftery
October 20, 2012 (Washington D.C) – H.R. 3409 has been called the worst environmental bill ever Congress by SustainableBusiness.com. Deceptively titled the “Stop the War on Coal Act”, the bill in fact repeal major public health and environmental safeguards, even overturning Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act protections.
Duncan Hunter and Darrell Issa, both Republicans, voted for the bill, Congresswoman Susan Davis, a Democrat, joined with Republican Brian Bilbray in voting no. Bob Filner did not vote.
October 17, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – Nearly 50 industrial-scale renewable energy projects are planned in San Diego’s East County and neighboring Imperial County. San Diego Supervisors will vote Dec. 5 on a wind ordinance that could open vast tracts of scenic areas and rural communities to skyscraper-sized wind turbines to harness renewable power. There are costs, however, to ther environment and risks to health and safety of residents, including heightened fire danger.
On Thursday, Oct. 18, ECM editor Miriam Raftery will be the guest speaker at the East County Democratic Club, making a presentation on impacts these big energy projects pose for on our region. The meeting is open to the public and will be held at the Coco’s Restaurant, 1025 Fletcher Parkway in El Cajon. Program starts at 7 p.m., if you wish to purchase dinner, arrive at 6 p.m.
If you would like a presentation on wind energy issues to your organization, contact email@example.com to arrange for a speaker or a Powerpoint presentation that you may use.
East County wind projects among hot topics discussed by candidates for Congress, Assembly and Mayor
Story by Miriam Raftery, videos by Paul Kruze
View ECM’s videos from the San Diego Green Candidates Forum:
October 14, 2012 (San Diego)—November's election has big impacts for our region, our nation and our world--with San Diego poised to be a leader in the emerging green economy.
Should our region’s needs be met by rooftop solar or industrial wind projects in our backcountry? Should the San Onofre nuclear reactors be shut down? How can we fuel San Diego’s economy and create green jobs? In what ways should transportation and water issues be addressed—and what about global climate change? These were among the topics of lively discussion at the San Diego Green Candidates forum on October 4, where candidates for Congress, Assembly, Mayor and Supervisor shared their ideas on these important issues and more.
By MIriam Raftery
October 16, 2012 (San Diego's East County)--Over 50 industrial-scale "renewable" energy projects may soon change forever the face of our region in San Diego's East County and neighboring Imperial County.
Many are on formerly protected federal lands. Nationally, 370 million acres of public lands are targeted for big renewable energy projects -- twice the size of Texas!
ECM editor Miriam Raftery has prepared a Powerpoint presentation for organizations that wish to educate their members about the impacts of these projects--and the alternatives. To view our Powerpoint presentation, click here.
Update January 28, 2013: Our original presentation raised questions on wind speeds in Ocotillo. Following the project's completion, six weeks of videos document the lack of wind. An ECM investigation found this is not unusual; many projects around the world have failed to live up to wind speed claims and some countries are now revoking subsidies. Yet surprisingly, the Bureau of Land Management says it does not require energy companies to provide proof of energy production levels after projects are built. This revelation further casts doubt on the wisdom of destroying public lands with public monies.
College awarded two of nine grants funded by state chancellor’s office
October 11, 2012 (El Cajon) – If Cuyamaca College grant writers were members of a college sports team, they would be basking in the glory of a triple-season winning streak. You’ve heard of the Dream Team? Meet Cuyamaca’s Green Team.
Since June 2009, the crew has had had every one of its 39 grant proposals funded for a total of $7.3 million to train hundreds of students for solid-paying, dependable jobs, including those in up-and-coming green industries. The grants have also funded pilot programs, which have since been expanded and modeled by other colleges.
By Jim Pelley
Editor’s note: For months, ECM award-winning photographer and Ocotillo resident Jim Pelley has been documenting clouds of choking dust at Pattern Energy’s construction site for Ocotillo Express wind energy, where citizen monitors have routinely reported construction without water trucks present and twice resulted in fines on the developer for dust violations. In this editorial, Pelley asks why the problem continues, raising serious questions for public officials who are supposed to protect public health. The closest turbine is just 1500 feet from Pelley’s home.
October 9, 2012 --I have been told that they can make dust on this project site as long it is not over 20% opacity for three minutes. If there are a hundred trucks making 15% opacity dust all long day long I don’t understand why this is acceptable, because at the end of the day there are large amounts of dust in the air, it’s very easy to see.
By Chris Thomas, Public News Service
October 7, 2012 (Washington D.C.)-- After a decade of legal challenges, the "roadless rule" landed on the U.S. Supreme Court's doorstep, and on Monday, the court opted to leave it in place rather than hear the latest appeal.
The rule doesn't allow new road-building on millions of acres of national forest land in three dozen states, including California.
By Miriam Raftery
October 1, 2012 (Ocotillo) – “This project is completely wrong and it’s unethical,” said Anita Nicklen, one of dozens protesting on National Public Lands Day to draw attention to the destruction of public land in Ocotillo. “It’s our land and they’re building on public land. The desert is crying and weeping and bleeding.”