Green Scene

GET THE JUMP ON GOING GREEN:  FEDERAL INCENTIVES FOR RENEWABLES AND ENERGY EFFICIENCY

April
10, 2009 (Washington D.C.) - Looking for your own version of a bail-out?  How
about a federal incentive to make your home, business or community more energy
efficient and/or powered by renewable energy such as wind, solar or biomass? 

Here are some handy links to tax credits and grants available for homeowners,
businesses and local governments to apply for funds under the Obama administration’s
economic stimulus program. 

SDG&E PARTNERS WITH NISSAN TO GET SAN DIEGO ‘PLUG-IN’ READY

New, Zero-Emission Electric Vehicles to Reach San Diego
Next Year

April 1, 2009 (San Diego) – San Diego County will become one of the nation’s
first “plug-in” ready green regions and start the transformation into a clean
transportation community with San Diego Gas & Electric’s landmark partnership
announced today with Nissan Motor Co. and the Renault-Nissan Alliance.

CA DEMOCRATIC PARTY TO CONSIDER RESOLUTION TO PROMOTE ON-SITE RENEWABLE POWER GENERATION AS ALTERNATIVE TO NEW TRANSMISSION LINES, MASSIVE WIND OR SOLAR FARMS

March 20, 2009 (El Cajon)—The East County Democratic Club has adopted a resolution calling for local, on-site generation of solar and wind power as alternatives to massive wind and solar farms, which would require new transmission lines including Sunrise Powerlink. Advocates hope to persuade the State Party’s Resolutions Committee to allow the measure to be considered by delegates at the California Democratic Party convention in Sacramento in late April.

DRY TIMES: WATER-SAVING LANDSCAPE ADVICE

April 4, 2009 (San Diego)—With water districts urging consumers to cut outdoor water usage by 40% amid the drought, homeowners are left wondering how to maintain an attractive yard without being water hogs—and paying hefty prices to be levied against heavy water users. The California Landscape Contractors Association (CLCA) offers some recommendations for consumers to make smart choices and protect the environment even with mandated water reductions.

GROW THE GREAT PUMPKIN: VALLEY CENTER FARMERS’ MARKET HOSTS PUMPKIN GROWING CONTEST—FREE SEEDS IN APRIL!

April 8, 2009 (Valley Center) - Remember Charlie Brown's quest to grow the Great Pumpkin? Now you can grow your own jumbo-sized jack-o-lantern. The San Diego County Farm Bureau is putting on the first Valley Center Pumpkin Growing Contest at the Valley Center Certified Farmers’ Market. Anyone interested in participating can pick up free pumpkin seeds from the farmers’ market manager, Lorrie Scott, at the Thursday markets during the month of April.

COMPOSTING IS EASIER AND MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOU THINK

By Rachel Hutman

April 1, 2009 (San Diego's East County) - Sure, you recycle, but do you compost? You probably know a little about composting and have heard it’s important for the environment. However you have always pushed it into the back of your brain saying “maybe someday” or “I don’t know how to start.” However composting is much easier than you think, and there are many nearby resources available to help you. The most important reason to start now is the positive difference you will be making in the environment by recycling valuable organic materials. It’s estimated that 50% of your everyday waste can be composted and reused.

TAKING ROOT: VICTORY GARDENS SPROUT IN SAN DIEGO

April 2, 2009 (San Diego)--San Diego Roots, in coordination with several grassroots food and gardening groups, announces the formation of Victory Gardens San Diego. The group’s mission is to encourage and assist in the development of sustainable, healthy, Earth-friendly home, community and school food gardens throughout the San Diego area. The movement aims to foster appreciation for the taste of fresh healthy food grown locally. Participants are invited to share with family, friends, and community while teaching children about healthy food and where it comes from.

GET YOUR HANDS DIRTY: INTRODUCTION TO FARMING WORKSHOP SERIES AT LA MILPA FARM IN ESCONDIDO STARTS APRIL 4

April 1, 2009 (Escondido)—San Diego Roots and La Milpa Organica are pleased to announce a new educational program for our community. Whether you are a beginning gardener or experienced farmer, this program will take you full circle through a seasonal planting and harvest on a farm.

LOCAL GROUPS FILE APPEAL, ASK BLM TO REVERSE POWERLINK APPROVAL

March 24, 2009 (Boulevard) — An appeal to the U.S. Department of the Interior over its Bureau of Land Management (BLM) approval of San Diego Gas & Electric’s Sunrise Powerlink transmission project was filed Monday by three local organizations in San Diego County. The appeal notice to the Interior Board of Land Appeals is the first step to a court appeal.

SPRING GARDEN FESTIVAL APRIL 25: CONSERVATION IN BLOOM

March 26, 2009 (El Cajon) - If you haven't yet experienced the Spring Garden Festival, be sure to mark your calendars for April 25th. The annual event drew more than 7,000 people last year and is quickly becoming one of East County's premier attractions. Live music, Native American dancing, arts and crafts, food, plant sales, water-wise gardening, tree-care advice from experts, and special tours for children are among the activities slated at the event hosted by Cuyamaca College.

BILBRAY COAUTHORS BILL TO EXEMPT SOLAR FARMS FROM ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW; FEINSTEIN SEEKS TO BLOCK DESERT SOLAR FARM DUE TO SEVERE ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE

By Miriam Raftery

March 23, 2009 (San Diego)--Congressman Brian Bilbray (R-San Diego) has coauthored H.R. 964, a measure that would exempt any solar energy project on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands from Environmental Impact Report requirements. Sempra Energy, Bilbray's third largest campaign contributor, seeks to import power from desert solar farms on BLM lands.

 

MORE THAN PLANTS AT WATER-WISE PLANT FAIR

By Miriam Raftery

Flowering perennials from Daylily hill
Maic Palmiere of Crest displays baskets and jewelry made from pine needles

March 14, 2009 (El Cajon) — Birdhouses, eco-friendly jewelry, and water-saving wizardry awaited visitors at the Water-Wise Plant Fair, held today at the Water Conservation Garden at Cuyamaca College. If you thought low-water landscaping means gravel and cacti, think again. An abundance of flowering plants and shrubs on sale offered visitors a wide array of beautiful yet water-saving alternatives to water-hogging plants and lawns.

IT'S NO LONGER SANTEE, BUT MORE LIKE SANTREE

By Karla Moran

(Karla Moran)

March 14, 2009 (Santee) —The working power of a city makes a difference--as evidenced at the 8th annual SanTree Fest and Earth Day Celebration. Sponsored by the City of Santee, this year's event had its best turn out yet. The community worked together to improve the environment and create a cleaner tomorrow. Parents and children shared time together hiking a riverside trail, planting trees, and potting flowers at Mast Park in Santee, where live bluegrass music and free food welcomed volunteers and visitors. Guests even took home free trees as souvenirs! For videos and photos of this eventful day, be sure to check our slideshow at www.youtube.com/watch?v=_EfQpcpS1IU.

POWERLINK MEETING DRAWS PROTESTS IN ALPINE; PARENTS OPPOSE HIGH-VOLTAGE LINES NEAR ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

By Miriam Raftery

Megan Werland, right, worries about health effects of Powerlink on children including her 5-month old daughter, Eleanor

March 10, 2009 (Alpine) — Children and parents staged a protest rally outside the Alpine Community Center, where SDG&E held a public meeting on Sunrise Powerlink. Holding signs that read "Class 1 Fire Risk" and "Save the Cleveland National Forest", dozens of residents voiced opposition to 230-kv lines slated to run through the heart of this community. Approved by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) in December, Powerlink is slated to include a $92 million section of undergrounded lines along a two-mile stretch of Alpine Boulevard, where Alpine Elementary School is located.

CUYAMACA COLLEGE HOSTS ITS FIRST SUSTAINABLE URBAN LANDSCAPE CONFERENCE

2-day event to be followed by plant fair open to the public March 10, 2009 (El Cajon)--Cuyamaca College is hosting a conference featuring leading landscape professionals and bus tours of eco-friendly sites Thursday and Friday, March 12 and 13, a precursor to it becoming among the first community colleges in the nation to offer a degree in sustainable urban landscaping.

SANTREE FEST AND EARTH DAY CELEBRATION MARCH 14

March 10, 2009 (Santee)--Santee invites the public to participate in "SanTree Fest," an Earth Day celebration from 9:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 14th at Mast Park, located at 9125 Carlton Hills Blvd. Festivities begin at 9:45 with a nature walk departing from a trail entrance at the northwest side of the Wal-Mart parking lot. A community tree planting event follows at 10:15. Live bluegrass music by Virtual Strangers, kids' crafts, pot-a-plant with Lowe's, environmental and informational booths will also be available.

WATER-WISE PLANT FAIR MARCH 14

March 10, 2009 (El Cajon)--Cuyamaca College hosts a water-wise plant fair on March 14th from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. A large selection of water smart perennials, shrubs, trees, grasses, cacti and succulents, and more will be on sale from Southern California vendors. Now you can shop for water-wise plants--and support public education in an era of dwindling funds. Activities include lectures, ask the experts, kids' activities and a raffle that includes a home landscape redesign as grand prize.

SUSTAINABLE JULIAN: IS IT POSSIBLE? MARCH 21 WORKSHOP WILL UNVEIL AMBITION COMMUNITY PLANS

Kathleen Beck and Jeanette Hartman
(Brian Kramer)

March 8, 2009 (Julian) — Julian residents and environmentalists are embarking on an ambitious plan to make this historic mountain town energy-self-sufficient using renewable resources. Starting with a wind demonstration project at the library, the plan calls for 200 homes in Julian to become self-sustaining through wind and solar energy.

"The more that Julian becomes renewable energy self-sufficient, the more control its residents and businesses will have over the supply and price of the energy they need to survive," says environmental designer Jim Bell. Ultimately, Julian could also create a positive cash flow to boost its economy by producing its own clean, green energy, program proponents believe.

LEARN TO GO GREEN AT CUYAMACA COLLEGE ON MARCH 7

By Pari Sanati

Before & After

March 1, 2009 (San Diego)— For many of us, recycling and watching energy and water consumption are now regular practices, far from the days when all these were new and perhaps daunting concepts. As the world makes the inevitable "greening" shift, environmentally conscious home and business owners are looking for new and interesting ways to continue contributing to a sustainable world.

Good Earth GreenScaped Buildings is helping quench the thirst for sustainability with its commitment to promoting green roofs and restorative buildings. Owner Jim Mumford says the current economic climate is actually a good one for going green. "One positive aspect we're seeing from our economic downturn and global warming fears is the need for bigger strides in low-impact development," Mumford said. "It's the retrofitting of older buildings, and also the building of new ones when the market picks up. Not only do green roofs have an aesthetic benefit, but their environmental and financial benefits can be significant."

WATER SAVING REBATES AND CONSERVATION TIPS TO WEATHER THE CRISIS

By Miriam Raftery

February 27, 2009 (San Diego's East County)--Area residents must cut water consumption by at least 20% or face stiff financial penalties, local water authorities warn following a state declaration of emergency today due to the drought. Fortunately, there is help for consumers seeking ways to reduce their water usage.

"Sixty to 70 percent of water use in residential is out of doors," said Mark Robak, Otay Water District member.

DON QUIXOTE BATTLES WINDMILLS – AND SO DO THE FOLKS IN BOULEVARD

Crane
(photo courtesy of AWEA)

Part III of a three-part series:   HEALTH, SAFETY, AND ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS OF WIND FARMS 

February 22, 2009 (Boulevard) — Our country has jumped on a high-speed wind-energy bandwagon, as if the costs of developing and producing wind energy are as invisible as the wind itself. Are benefits commensurate with the costs? Can developers mitigate any risks and impacts? Our panoramic look at wind-farm issues continues, rendering potential fire risks, alleged health hazards, and environmental impacts of wind-development more visible, alongside wind energy’s better-known projected benefits.

DON QUIXOTE BATTLES WINDMILLS -- AND SO DO THE FOLKS IN BOULEVARD

PART II in a three-part series:  WHY BOULEVARD?

By Gayle Early

Pristine vale in McCain Valley slated for transmission lines, including Sunrise PowerLink. (photo by Gayle Early)

February 16, 2009 (Boulevard) — Iberdrola Renewables and other parties have had their fingers in the wind, testing for the past three years and more.

“If you link the windy areas in San Diego County to the transmission, it restricts you to very few areas. McCain Valley—and a small area around Julian—is one of the few areas in San Diego County that has wind anywhere near transmission,” said Andy Linehan, Permitting/Environmental Director of Iberdrola.

The quality of wind here might be questionable. Alan Ridley, Professor at Cuyamaca College and enthusiastic expert on renewable wind energy said, “I remember 10, 15 years ago a former Sempra employee told me they just can’t do wind energy in East County, because it’s the wrong kind of wind. I had a lawyer tell me that ‘Kumeyaay Wind project is good, but it’s not great.’

FILNER SEEKS TO AMEND CLEAN WATER ACT: REQUIRE DOD COMPLIANCE WITH EXISTING ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS

February
9, 2009 (San Diego) —
Congressman Bob Filner introduced the Military
Environmental Responsibility Act, H.R. 672, which would require the Department
of Defense (DOD) to fully comply with Federal and State environmental laws.

"Military exemptions from environmental requirements harm human health by
polluting our water, air, and soil. Communities around military bases should
be protected equally from harmful waste and by-products, just like any other
American town," said Filner. "Cleaning up after ourselves is the responsible
course of action."

DON QUIXOTE FIGHTS THE WINDMILLS—AND SO DO THE FOLKS IN BOULEVARD

by Gayle Early

(photo by Miriam Raftery)

February 10, 2009 (Campo)--Editor’s Note: Should wind turbines hundreds of feet tall –higher than the existing Kumeyaay wind farm turbines—be allowed in the rural McCain Valley/Boulevard region in East County? Does the nation’s critical need for “green” energy outweigh the concerns of residents seeking to preserve the rural character of their backcountry communities? With new industrial-scale wind farms proposed across America, East County Magazine’s Gayle Early set out on a quest to explore these issues in depth for our three-part series on wind energy.

PART I: BACKCOUNTRY RESIDENTS BATTLE SPANISH WIND GIANT

As they were talking, they saw thirty or forty of the windmills found in that countryside, and as soon as Don Quixote caught sight of them, he said to his squire:

“Good fortune is guiding our affairs better than we could have desired, for there you see, friend Sancho Panza, thirty or more enormous giants with whom I intend to do battle and whose lives I intend to take, and with the spoils we shall begin to grow rich, for this is righteous warfare, and it is a great service to God to remove so evil a breed from the face of the earth.”

FEB. 25 HEARING ON WIND TURBINES & WIND TESTING

February 2009 (San Diego)--The County Board of Supervisors will deliberate February 25 whether to ease permitting requirements for installing industrial-scale meteorological testing units (MET towers) on private and county properties. The county is also debating the turbine ordinance to allow for more options, such as industrial-scale turbines on private property or more than one turbine per lot, including the smaller scale turbines.

2 FEDERAL AGENCIES APPROVE POWERLINK; SCHWARZENEGGER ASKS U.S. FOREST SERVICE TO EXPEDITE OK TO BUILD POWERLINK THROUGH CLEVELAND NATIONAL FOREST

By Miriam Raftery January 24, 2009 (San Diego's East County)--In the last days of the Bush administration, two federal agencies gave a parting gift to Sempra Energy. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission designated a vast swath of San Diego's East County as a federal energy corridor, paving the way for the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to approve Sempra's controversial Sunrise Powerlink project one day before George W. Bush left office. For construction to commence, however, the U.S. Forest Service (a division of the U.S.

CALL FOR NOMINATIONS: CALIFORNIA CENTER FOR SUSTAINABLE ENERGY'S 5TH ANNUAL SAN DIEGO EXCELLENCE IN ENERGY (SANDEE) AWARDS

Nominations are due February 2nd, 2009

December 9, 2008 (San Diego)--Those in search of
recognition for their energy efficiency, energy conservation or renewable
energy projects should look no further: the California Center for Sustainable
Energy (CCSE) is seeking nominations for the fifth annual SANDEE Awards.
Nominations for the prestigious event are due by February 2nd. CCSE's signature
SANDEE Awards event gives San Diego County businesses and residents the chance
to be recognized as community leaders in energy efficiency and sustainable
energy practices.

FLAVORS OF THE GARDEN: VALENTINE'S DAY TOUR AT CUYAMACA COLLEGE'S WATER CONSERVATION GARDEN

February 1, 2009 (El Cajon) -- Savor a flavorful tour of the Water Conservation Garden on Saturday, February 15th at 11:30 a.m. Tour includes samples of sweet and savory flavors from the botanical world including fruits, vegetables, and herbs--and then there is chocolate!

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