Colorado River, Lifeline Of The West, Sees Historic Water Shortage Declaration

Kirk Siegler : npr – excerpt (excerpt) includes audio track and transcript

The first-ever shortage declaration on the Colorado River forces arid Western states to re-examine their relationship with resources many take for granted, drinking water and cheap hydroelectricity.


For the first time ever, the U.S. government declared a shortage on the Colorado River last week. That means states like Arizona that rely on the river for their water supply are seeing big cutbacks as a punishing drought continues in the west. The Colorado River and its tributaries are a lifeline to some 40 million people in multiple states, including in California, who rely on it for drinking water. The river also irrigates countless farms and generates lots of cheap hydropower. So a shortage on the Colorado is a big deal, and we wanted to hear more about that. We asked NPR’s Kirk Siegler to talk us through it. He covers the West and has been reporting on the Colorado River for years…(more)

Fashion Innovation to Tackle Climate Change

By Teresa Madaleno : madalenomagazine – excerpt

When we break down the basic supply chain of a garment, we have to consider crop production, fiber production, clothing production, and distribution. To bring seed to life requires machinery that is fueled in order to operate, to make fibers, spinning and chemical processing is needed, and garment making calls for power for factories, machines, temperature controls, lighting, and office equipment. As for distribution – freight transportation, which requires fuel power, is expected to triple by 2040.

The good news… more innovators are stepping forward to disrupt traditional processes in the fashion industry to help create a more circular, environmental system. A circular system is designed to eliminate waste and pollution, keep products and materials in use, as well as regenerate natural systems.

Here are some innovators you should take a look at:

  • The French company Fairbrics has created carbon-negative synthetic fiber. They sequester and convert carbon dioxide into polyester pellets to make textiles. This sustainable alternative to traditional fabrics still looks and feels just like virgin polyester.
  • tentree is a Vancouver based corporation that sells activewear that is produced from various blends of sustainable textiles. The company plants ten trees for every piece of clothing that is purchased, hence the name.
  • Established in Portland, Oregon, Pact has started to develop a hold in the fashion space. Pact is known for using eco-friendly organic cotton. The production of organic cotton eliminates the need for harsh chemicals and is a soft, comfortable fabric. Organic cotton uses over 90 percent less water than traditional cotton production.
  • Dresst is a Toronto clothing rental business that makes it possible for you to always dress in something new but not be a contributor to what has become our throw-away society. Dresst sources high quality, on-trend fashions. They rent outfits at affordable prices.
  • The NYC-based brand Rag & Bone oozes cool. I had to include them not only because I love New York City, but because Rag & Bone is hip in so many ways. The company marries British style with modern design. The staff makes clothing for women and men. They have a denim recycling program, so you can take in an old pair of jeans and they will turn them into a new pair. How neat is that? Aside from having their own website, Rag & Bone is available on Amazon.
  • Yoga Jeans is a Quebec company that specializes in designing and producing comfy, form-fitting jeans in a sustainable way, including the use of BCI cotton, and water conservation practices.

There are many other great fashion innovators in terms of protecting the environment, but I hope this list of options inspires you to consider sustainable brands and do your own search to find that perfect eco-fit… (more)


UBC study links living near highways to risk of neurological disorders

By Tiffany Crawford :vancouversun – excerpt

Researchers at the University of B.C. have found a link between living near highways and an increased risk of several major neurological disorders, including dementia and Parkinson’s disease.

The study, published this week in Environmental Health, found proximity to major roads may also increase the risk for multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s diseases, likely because of exposure to more air pollution such as nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter.

Lead author Weiran Yuchi, and a team of researchers at the UBC school of population and public health, analyzed data for 678,000 adults between the ages of 45 and 84 in Metro Vancouver. The subjects were interviewed from 1994 to 1998, and again during a follow-up period from 1999 to 2003…(more)

And, as some are pointing out, living in close quarters is also unhealthy when it comes to spreading pathogens. Note: The “city” of Wuhan under quarantine has a population of 14 million people. That is big as the state of Ohio and dwarfs US Cities. These are the megalopolis “cities of tomorrow” pushed by the urbanists and world government enthusiasts. I prefer Jefferson’s ideal of independence and self reliance.

Another reason to oppose SB50 and state-ordered dense cities.

MTC Makes a Mockery of Citizen Engagement

By Susan Kirsch : marinpost – excerpt

MTC has devised a frivolous and virtually meaningless two-month public participation process that failed to identify a range of stakeholders or identify appropriately geared activities to engage them. They cheerily call their report Pop-Up Events Get People Talking About Bay Area’s Future.

If you want to good laugh (or cry), go to the Plan Bay Area 2050 website and check out their summary of the results of the pop-ups, called Comments from Plan Bay Area 2050 Fall 2019 Pop-up Events(more)


One year later, Amazon’s HQ2 drives massive housing shortage in Virginia

inman – excerpt

Since the retail giant announced plans to build an HQ2 office in Arlington County, Virginia, home prices have grown 32.9 percent year-over-year. Meanwhile, active listings are down 49 percent.

Last fall, Amazon changed Virginia forever when it announced its decision to locate a much-hyped HQ2 office facility in the state’s Arlington County.

And now, exactly one year later to the day, the impacts of that announcement on the area’s real estate have come into focus: There are inventory shortages, skyrocketing prices and “a blistering pace of sales.”

That’s the verdict of a new report, released Wednesday, from The report ultimately concludes that Amazon’s announcement had an “immediate effect” on the area’s housing market, and that “the aftermath has been felt throughout the area since then.”… (more)

National Trends Organic Urbanism is the Cure for New Urbanism By Douglas Newby : newgeography – excerpt

Organic Urbanism is the Cure for New Urbanism

By Douglas Newby : newgeography – excerpt

The New Normal. Who needs trees when you can have cranes and 100’s of thousands of new neighbors?

New Urbanism is like a virus. For 50 years it keeps coming back in mutated forms. It needs a cure.

First, the only thing new in New Urbanism is the new construction that tears down the organic city. A form of New Urbanism has been around for 50 years. Like I said, it is a virus that keeps coming back in mutated forms. But the scheme, of more density, new mixed-use construction, and fixed rail transit, replacing existing homes remains constant. The desire of planners to determine where you live and where you work also remains constant. New urbanists increasingly do not like single family homes, which most Americans prefer… (more)

A Taste of the Climate Apocalypse to Come

by Abrahm Lustgarten : propublica – excerpt

PG&E’s rolling blackouts probably don’t eliminate fire risk, and they actually could make responding to fires harder. What they largely do is shift responsibility away from the company…

ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up for ProPublica’s Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox as soon as they are published. This article was co-published with The New York Times Magazine…

The National Weather Service was predicting 55-mile-an-hour winds, with 10% humidity. It was like living inside a ticking time bomb. And so, in a desperate attempt to avoid detonation, the utility decided to haul almost 800,000 households backward through time into premodernity, for days at a stretch. Around Silicon Valley, residential areas adjacent to some of the most technologically advanced corporations in the world — the offices of private space-exploration companies, internet search engines, electric vehicle manufacturers — would forgo basic electricity.

The blackouts solved nothing, of course. De-energizing the electrical grid is a bludgeon: imprecise, with enormous potential for collateral damage as people deal with a darkened world. It doesn’t even eliminate fire risk. What it largely does is shift responsibility away from Pacific Gas & Electric, the state’s largest utility company, whose faulty transmission lines had been found to have caused some of the most destructive wildfires on record…(more)


The Obscure Charges That Utility Companies Add to your Bills
The price of oil and gas has dropped as domestic supplies have increased, and residential energy use has plummeted as appliances and lighting have become more efficient. Still, the national average price of electricity has increased slightly over the last decade, with additional surcharges counteracting any potential savings. That means at the end of the day, many customers have likely noticed little, if any change in their final bills…(more)

How Fossil Fuel Companies Are Killing Plastic Recycling

By XiaoZhi Lim : huffpost – excerpt (includes video by the Guardian)

Plastic trash has overwhelmed America. Fossil fuel companies are about to make it worse.

So many things we buy come packaged in plastic containers or wrappers that are meant to be used once, thrown away and forgotten ― but they don’t break down and can linger in the environment long after we’re gone. It’s tempting to think that we can recycle this problem away, that if we’re more diligent about placing discarded bottles and bags into the curbside bin, we’ll somehow make up for all the trash overflowing landfills, choking waterways and killing marine life.

For decades, big petrochemical companies responsible for extracting and processing the fossil fuels that make plastics have egged on consumers, reassuring them that recycling was the answer to our trash crisis. Just last month, Royal Dutch Shell executive Hilary Mercer told The New York Times that the production of new plastics was not the problem contributing to millions of tons of plastic waste piling up in landfills and drifting in oceans. Instead, she suggested, the problem is one of improper waste disposal. Better recycling, she implied, is the solution… (more)

California’s largest recycling center closes, shuttering 300 redemption sites

By Annie Sciacca : mercurynews – excerpt (includes video)

With probes and clipboards, Chinese inspectors tour Bay Area recycling centers at least once a month, testing our trash to see if it meets their new high standards.

Until recently, almost all of our vast piles of plastic and paper refuse were sold and shipped overseas, promising a new life for much of what we so blithely tossed away.

Now much is rejected as wet, dirty or worthless – a reversal that has turned our once-reliable recycling world upside down, as prices plummet and the cost of cleanup soars… (more)

How can the public accept fines and fees for not recycling properly when the recycling process is broken?

My turn: Don’t blame environmental law for California’s housing crisis

By Ashley Werner : calmatters – excerpt

California is facing a housing crisis of unprecedented proportions. Lower-income residents across the state must choose whether to pay for rent or food. People who can’t cover housing costs are forced to leave their homes, their neighborhoods and even the state.

But as legislators resume discussions regarding policy solutions, we must be clear: California’s environmental regulations did not cause the housing crisis and eviscerating the California Environmental Quality Act would harm disadvantaged communities.

Some developers claim the California Environmental Quality Act is a major factor behind the state’s unmet housing needs. But multiple studies have shown this act, a bedrock of California environmental law, plays a limited role in determining whether and where housing is built…

These policies would move us closer to ensuring all Californians have an affordable, decent quality home. We can and must address the housing crisis without sacrificing California’s core environmental protections.

Ashley Werner is a senior attorney for the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability in Fresno, She wrote this commentary for CALmatters... (more)

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