Tag Archives: Greening California

California Gov. Brown’s Conference on Extreme Climate Risks Says Agriculture, Including Wine Will Be Affected

At today’s Conference on Extreme Climate Risks and California’s Future put on by Gov. Jerry Brown featuring speakers: Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sir Richard Branson, Nancy Sutley and many more, it was widely acknowledged that with the combination of environmental factors of climate change and rising sea levels, California’s agricultural industry will be negatively impacted, including its multi-billion dollar wine industry. Follow the Green Blog Network for full report and analysis.



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Smart From The Start

Today U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced that his department, along with the Bureau of Land Management, had approved the necessary permits allowing for the construction of the first two solar energy projects ever deployed on U.S. public lands.

“This is an historic day for the U.S. and for California,” said Secretary Salazar speaking on conference call. “I am pleased to be moving forward into the clean energy frontier,” he said also crediting Bob Abbey, the Director of the Bureau of Land Management’s efforts in realizing these projects. “They oversee 245 million acres of public lands that could contribute significantly to the country’s energy needs.”

Suncatcher System by Stirling Energy Systems.

The nation’s first two solar projects on public lands will both be in the Golden State. The 709-megawatt (MW) Imperial Valley project just East of San Diego on 6,360 acres of public lands will generate enough solar power to provide electricity for up to 500,000 homes. The second solar project, in the Inland Empire of San Bernardino County, is a 45 MW solar project on 422 acres of public lands referred to as the Chevron Lucerne project. Combined, these two solar energy projects are expected to create about 950 jobs and infuse $1 billion into California’s economy.

“I am excited to join Secretary Salazar today in announcing the first solar projects to ever get permits on federal land, both of which will be located in the Golden State,” said Governor Schwarzenegger who missed the press conference call because he was stuck on a plane. “Today’s announcement only further cements California’s national leadership in renewable energy development – and it couldn’t have been without our federal partners. Our great partnership is helping to improve public health, grow our green economy, promote energy independence and strengthen our national security.”  – Governor Schwarzenegger

Governor Schwarzenegger has been championing these projects from the start. Barely a week ago when the California Energy Commission approved the larger Imperial Valley project (the smaller Chevron Lucerne project did not require CEC approval), the only thing standing in the way was the permitting from the Bureau of Land Management called “Records of Decision.” Now that these have been granted, the projects will qualify for the Federal Stimulus Funds in the form of 30% tax credit for overall cost of the construction of the projects. The deadline to qualify for those funds is December 31st. Salazar said he expected more projects to be approved by the end of 2010.

Bureau of Land Management Director Bob Abbey said that they will continue with their “Smart from the start,” approach. He said that these first two solar projects are examples of how the permitting process can be streamlined “without cutting any corners for environmental reviews or ecological considerations.” He added that the projects all had extended public input from various stakeholders.

“There are 11 million acres of public lands in California deserts. The area to be disturbed is less than two-tenths of 1%,” emphasized BLM’s Abbey.  Salazar noted that now even NRDC and Sierra Club have come on board with the projects.

Commenting on the 180 permits pending for more solar project developments in the U.S., Salazar said that, “We will be pro-active so we avoid conflicts with ecological aspects we are trying to protect. It’s really no different from what we’ve done with city planning for the past 50, 60 years. We foresee thousands of solar plants sprouting up all over the nation.”  There are currently 1.3 million acres of land under application for solar projects.

The companies that will be developing the Imperial Valley solar project on public lands are owned by an Irish conglomerate, NRT, and are called Tessera Solar and Stirling Energy Systems.

READ Press Release from Department of Interior HERE.

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House Plant Vacations At The Hammer Museum

Houseplant Vacation – Plant Drop off

The Hammer invites you to give your houseplant a vacation during our August cultural retreat for plants. Throughout the entire month, participant’s plants will be installed in the light flooded Lindbrook terrace, and presented with a series of readings, performances and musical events, for plants every Saturday from 1-4pm. See below for the full schedule and for information about plant portraiture by Lisa Anne Abash. (Please no sick/infested plants – this is a vacation, not rehab).

Plant drop off is July 31, 11am- 6pm and pick up August 28, 11am- 6pm ONLY!

You can download the attached plant release waiver and fill it out before you come to the museum or you can do this when you drop off your plant.

  • Saturday, July 31, 11am to 6pm: Drop off at the Hammer Museum and plant portrait photography

  • Saturday, August 7, 1-4pm: Musical performances, dramatic readings, and psychic plant healing

  • Saturday, August 14, 1-4pm: Musical performances, poetry, and psychic plant healing

  • Saturday, August 21, 1-4pm: Musical performances, historical accounts of botanical exploration and psychic plant healing

  • Sunday, August 29, 11am to 6pm: Plant pick up at the Hammer Museum

About A.I.R.

In June 2009, the Hammer Museum was awarded a $1 million Arts Innovation Fund grant from the James Irvine Foundation to create a new model for visitor engagement, conceived and driven by artists. To that end, in November, the museum welcomed its first Public Engagement Artist in Residence (A.I.R.), Machine Project. The Echo Park-based collective, led by Mark Allen, has produced nearly 40 programs onsite including an overnight Dream-In; microconcerts in a coatroom-turned-theater; and needle pointing group-therapy sessions.

For additional information on these and other A.I.R. projects, please check the museum’s blog http://hammer.ucla.edu/newsblogs/ or Machine Project’s website.

About Machine Project

Machine Project is a non-profit performance and installation space investigating art, technology, natural history, science, music, literature, and food. Machine presents events, workshops, and site-specific installations using hands-on engagement to make rarefied knowledge accessible. Beyond their storefront space, Machine Project operates as a loose confederacy of artists producing shows at locations ranging from the Santa Monica beach to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Currently, Machine Project is serving as artist in residence at the Hammer Museum producing a year of programming addressing the visitor experience and public engagement.

HAMMER MUSEUM 10899 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90024

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Green Salon Series Presented By Breathe L.A.

By Nicole Hansen
[Blogger Bio Below]
When the Green Blog Network asked me to be a panelist for the Breathe LA Salon “AB 32.0 and the Rise of Green Digital Media” and blog about it on The Green Blog Network, I was reluctant. Ever since my son Nikos directed the global warming PSA, Save It, I’ve been thrown into a world of “green” issues. Many times I feel ill equipped to participate, as if I’m the student and everyone else around me are the experts—including my own children. Don’t get me wrong, I grew up in Boulder, Colorado! Nothing could be more “green” than the granola Disneyland of my youth. But since coming to California twenty years ago, being ecological has gone from something the “Earth Muffins” of Boulder would do to actually becoming state laws. Such is the case with California’s AB 32.
Nicole Hansen of Green Galaxy Enterprises spoke on behalf of The Green Blog Network at Breathe L.A.’s Green Salon series.

AB 32 – Getting The Word Out

Stephanie Mullen, the Senior Field Representative to State Senator Fran Pavley made the opening remarks, stating that Senator Pavley authored AB 32 to give the California Air Resources Board authority to bring emissions down to 1990 levels by 2020. Though the law was enacted years ago, I was surprised to hear that it has not yet been implemented. She stated that we need to use resources more effectively and are looking for a strong, green economy in California. The moderator, Ray Gonzales, a former KTLA personality, brought up the fact that there is a lot of opposition to the law because of its shorthand as “the global warming law.” I believe he has a point—so how does the green social media reach those who don’t believe in global warming so that they will be less opposed to something that is basically based on common sense?
Common Sense Approach To Information Dissemination
The first panelist, Jennifer Gooding, is the LA Ambassador to EcoTuesday. She brought up the point that people’s initial hesitation arises from a disconnection to the world that can be remedied by social media. She believes that we need a forum to connect, and she has been described as that connector. We often get a bunch of information, are overwhelmed, but are not connected. That’s the benefit of social media when it comes to getting the message out there, since the vast majority of people did not know what AB 32 is. We’re failing by not having common people understand the basics.
Panelist Siel Ju is the Green LA Girl, and has appeared on outlets including NPR and NBC, among many others. She has a Ph.D in creative writing and literature but is now devoted to blogging about environmental issues. She noted that AB 32 is not a familiar term to most people. It reminded her of the battle with rBGH, which makes cows produce more milk but also causes birth defects. We must give people more information and not just boil it down to “Ban rBGH!” (or “Save AB 32!”) Whether it be eating locally produced food or riding the subway, we should connect AB 32 to things people already desire. Moreover, we must use social media for a conversation to make connections.
Breathe L.A. Green Salon Series, March 2010, photo courtesy
Breathe L.A.

Panelist Josh Tickell, director of Fuel, stressed that there is power of media in environmental issues. Stepping back from the fray, the long-term objectives of AB 32 are a breakthrough and so are its emissions cuts. The Fuel film is digital media designed to have an effect. They didn’t want the result to just end in rallying efforts, but rather to “shift the energy needle” in this country. He wanted a campaign with 10 goals that people could choose from as they matched their own. A big topic for Josh is fuel made from algae, and he observed that a lot of food energy is going unused. He was able to get a meeting with the Department of Energy and to start a campaign for algae. The meeting turned into a shouting match with great disagreement on the department’s side. In the end, through the social, objective based digital and social media, there is significant investment and growing, with already $100 million being spent on algae lobbying. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger can order a million solar roofs, and the next campaign should be a million green cars. What we need, according to Josh, is a broad perspective.

Save It
Before I spoke, I shared my answer to the global warming messaging through digital media and showed my son’s 1Sky PSA, Save It (later endorsed by Global Green and Greenpeace). The shocker was that people wrote hate messages on YouTube where it premiered as Take Part’s first video release, calling me an uninformed hippie that has brainwashed my kids, and some who even said my son was “stupid.” Ironically, my sons both have developmental disorders that I was warned by the EPA they would have, as a result of environmental toxins. With what my children have to go through to be educated in special needs schools, at the expense of the government, is why it matters to all of us. Framing the discussion as a human health issue is much less controversial than global warming and we can use social media to educate people about asthma, autism, cancer and numerous other disorders that are exacerbated by or a direct cause of the toxins we are responsible for trying to control. So Earth Muffin or not, the real cost of paying for our health will far outweigh the cost of converting to cleaner and greener technologies in the long run. That’s how we should use social media to educate the masses to the importance of actually implementing AB 32.
Bio: Nicole organized and produced the first Renewable Energy Conference and Awards Gala at the United Nations sponsored by the Honduran Permanent Mission to the UN with notable speakers and honorees such as Dr. Arthur Nozik of NREL, Dr. Daniel Nocera of MIT as well as Billionaire John Paul DeJoria. She was a featured speaker alongside producer Marshall Herskovitz for the 2009 Green Girls Holiday Event advocating publicly for the use of renewable energy technologies.  Twitter @nikkihans

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