Green Scene

SAN DIEGO AREA POISED TO BE A LEADER IN BUILDING GREEN ECONOMY, SAYS NATIONAL EXPERT: AREA APT TO GET $100 MILLION IN FUNDS FOR GOING GREEN

By Miriam Raftery May 1, 2009 (San Diego)—“We are in a moment of historic change,” Phoebe Ellis-Lamkins, chief executive officer of Green for All, said in a program yesterday in San Diego titled “Green Jobs: Fighting Poverty and Pollution.” Sponsored by the Center for Policy Initiatives, the event drew a full house of community leaders, environmentalists and labor union members. “Do people know that there are trillions of dollars to be spent on a green economy?” she asked. “The reason I’m in San Diego is because San Diego is one of the places that is ripe for opportunity. .

WATER CONSERVATION GARDEN CELEBRATES 10th BIRTHDAY

April 28, 2009 (El Cajon)--The Water Conservation Garden at Cuyamaca College celebrated its tenth birthday on Saturday, April 25. Garden Executive Director Marty Eberhardt commented on the remarkable timing of the event. “Just two days ago, the San Diego County Water Authority Board of Directors declared a Level 2 Drought Alert, which means that retail agencies will soon be instituting water restrictions. This is exactly the kind of situation that the founding agencies foresaw.”

FLOOD OF RATEPAYER PROTESTS PROMPTS HELIX WATER TO HOLD EMERGENCY MEETING MONDAY, APRIL 27 AT 2 PM; CRITICS CONTEND DISTRICT PLAN IS UNFAIR TO BIG FAMILIES & LARGE LOT OWNERS

 

Update April 28: Despite strong public protest, Helix Water District approved eliminating agricultural meters for 900 customers and accepted other staff recommendations. Watch for details soon.

 

By Miriam Raftery April 26, 2009 (La Mesa)—Deluged by hundreds of calls from residents irate about steep rate increases for heavy water use, and by many seeking irrigation meters to qualify for cheaper water rates, Helix Water District’s Board of Directors will convene a special meeting at 2 p.m. Monday, April 27th.

 

HELIX WATER DISTRICT PROPOSES HEFTY WATER RATE INCREASE

New rates start metering May 1, Public Hearing May 27

By Kristin Hobbs Kjaero and Rachel Ford Hutman

The Proposal

(Rachel Ford Hutman)

April 21, 2009 (La Mesa) - If you are one of the 260,000 residents in the
Helix Water District, you may soon be paying a minimum increase of 20% more
for your water—and for some heavy users, several times higher than those with
low water usage. 

On March 4 the district’s Board of Directors voted 3-2 to issue a notice of
a public hearing May 27, for rate increases which would increase the base rate
by 20% for the first 10 units of water, plus an additional sliding scale based
on usage. For example, a user of 75 units will have an increase of 49%.

SAN DIEGO’S CARBON FOOTPRINT IS BIGGER THAN LA’S: LOCAL POLICIES TO FIGHT CLIMATE CHANGE ARE LAGGING, CPI REPORT FINDS

April 22, 2009 (San Diego)--The carbon footprint of the average San Diegan--including residential energy use and transportation--is larger than that of the average resident of Los Angeles, a review of available data shows. San Diego also lags behind LA in policies and programs to reduce energy use, according to Climate Change Performance and Policy: San Diego versus Los Angeles, a policy paper issued on Earth Day 2009 by the Center on Policy Initiatives, a San Diego-based think tank.

SAGE & SONGBIRDS GARDEN TOUR: RAPTOR REHAB FACILITY INCLUDED ON THIS YEAR’S TOUR MAY 1-3

April 20, 2009( Alpine)--Are you looking for ideas to “spruce up” your garden or yard? The Sage & Songbirds Garden Tour has a wealth of ideas for creating beautiful gardens that also provide wildlife-friendly habitat. The 12th annual event, set for May 1-3, spotlights five unique gardens, chock-full of plants, waterscapes, pathways, structures and other very interesting features.

SPRING GARDEN FESTIVAL’S “CONSERVATION IN BLOOM” HIGHLIGHTS WATER CONSERVATION, CULTURAL CONSERVATION, AND CUYAMACA COLLEGE’S BIGGEST PLANT SALE OF THE YEAR

Drawing to win a High-Efficiency Clothes Washer or Home Landscape Re-design April 18, 2009 (RANCHO SAN DIEGO)—On Saturday, April 25, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m,, Cuyamaca College’s campus will bloom with activity as three of its on-campus venues—the Ornamental Horticulture Department, the Water Conservation Garden,and the Heritage of the Americas Museum—invite the public to celebrate spring at their sixteenth annual Spring Garden Festival. “Conservation in Bloom” is the theme at this family festival that includes tips on green living, and both free admission and parking.

SAN DIEGO EARTH WEEK FEATURES NEW EVENTS IN 2009

GREEN JOBS FAIR AT SDSU AND A GREEN CITY LEADERSHIP FORUM ARE NEW THIS YEAR; EARTH FAIR KICKS OFF WEEK'S ECO-FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES April 17, 2009 (San Diego)—Earth Day Week in San Diego kicks off with Earth Fair 2009 in Balboa Park on Sunday, drawing more than 70,000 visitors. Produced by 400 volunteers, EarthFair features more than 400 exhibitors, special theme areas, a Food Pavilion, a special Kids’ Activity Area, three entertainment venues, the Children’s Earth Parade, the Earth Gallery art show, and the Cleaner Car Concourse.

GREEN BULIDING QUESTIONS ANSWERED AT ECO BUILD SAN DIEGO

By Rachel Hutman

(California Center for Sustainable Energy)

April 9, 2009 (San Diego) - The Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE) hosted the EcoBuild San Diego on Saturday, April 4. Over 350 people attended the free expo to get straight answers about green building. Lauri Walker, Program Manager of the event, observed, “People will visit exhibitors and get a better understanding of green building, and that it is not as expensive as they may think.” A lot of questions were answered throughout the four workshops: Green Building 101, How to Plan and Budget Your New Green Home, Solar for Homeowners, and Fire Survior Panel Discussion: The Decision to Rebuild Green. All can be seen online at www.rebuildcentral.org and will be posted for the next month.

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.

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