1. Job opportunity: Save Mt Diablo Assn
2. Thinkwalks Water Walking Tour Saturday 21 Aug
3. Work with Audubon at MLK Shoreline this Saturday 21 Aug/Gear up for return of the Western Burrowing Owl
4. American Coyote: Still Wild at Heart, August 25
5. Plant Galls: A Story of Insects and the Plants They Turn Into Shelter and Food Saturday 21 Aug, Arastradero Preserve
6. Growing Greener Schoolyards Conference - register now
7. Nature in the City Fantastick Fundraiser with the SF Playhouse - August 19
8. LTEs: If we're truly serious about preventing sea otter extinction/Sailing and saving energy
9. Is your local creek dirty?/Showdown over plastic bags/Growing up in the Bay's Murky Waters
10. The Watershed's Nursery's huge summer native plant sale 23-28 Aug
11. Scientific American: Looks can deceive/money can't buy happiness
12. Feedback: Hetch Hetchy/Social Security/another Einstein?
13. Notes & Queries
1. Save Mt Diablo Assn - Job Opening: Land Conservation Associate II
This is a fulltime, professional level, salaried position that reports to the Director of Land Programs, requiring advanced knowledge of land use planning, and some knowledge of land preservation and stewardship techniques.
Job description, interview and contact requirements, etc on our website: http://www.savemountdiablo.org/Jobs/Opportunties.htm
Please, no phone calls.
2. Saturday, Aug. 21, 10:00 to 1:00. Thinkwalks Water Walking Tour
A detailed look at the waterways that once coursed through the Mission District and Twin Peaks ridge, their spring sources and controversies surrounding their locations and uses. $10 to $40 suggested sliding scale donation. More information at 415-505-8255 or http://thinkwalks.org (Tour meets at 16th and Albion, ends at Mount Olympus)
The walk will be half an hour shorter than usual due to the memorial service for Stuart Coulthard, who is known for designing the seminal cultural history rides for the SF Bike Coalition. She also was the first person to organize the City to install bicycle racks in public places. For information about her memorial service, contact Joel through the Thinkwalks site.
3. Work with Golden Gate Audubon at Martin Luther King Jr. Shoreline this Saturday!
Want to get dirty while enjoying the fresh air? Help Golden Gate Audubon to weed out invasive plants and water our native plants at our sites adjacent to Arrowhead Marsh in East Oakland, while enjoying local birds diving and foraging. Arrowhead Marsh is a one-of-a-kind area to work. The terns are diving and chattering; brown pelicans are making a splash; and you might hear the endangered Clapper Rails chatter in the marsh.
* Saturday, August 21, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Directions to our site: Find your way to the intersection of Pardee Dr. and Swan Way. Turn left onto Swan Way, and enter at the Park District’s brown entrance sign on the right. Head all the way down the road to the last parking lot by the observation platform.
We are gearing up once again for the return of the Western Burrowing Owls to Cesar Chavez Park in Berkeley. They arrive in the fall and leave in the spring. As they overwinter at the park, Golden Gate Audubon sends out trained docents to show park users the owls, and talk about the plight of this locally endangered bird.
In our 2009 season, dozens of docents were trained in collaboration with the City of Berkeley Parks and Recreation Department and we hope to do the same in 2010. If you are looking for a new and rewarding experience in Burrowing Owl protection and outreach, this is the opportunity for you.
Training for the 2010 Burrowing Owl Docents will happen on Saturday, September 18 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m, in Berkeley. If you are interested, please RSVP to Jennifer Maddox at 510.843.5374 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anyone interested in becoming a new docent for the 2010 season, this training is mandatory and will cover the following information:
* History, rules and regulations of the Berkeley Marina and Cesar Chavez Park
* Burrowing Owl natural history and facts
* How to be a good docent
* Data Collection and monitoring
* Information about the new art installation
4. August 25 (7pm PST)
Camilla Fox- guest speaker and screening of American Coyote ~ Still Wild at Heart. Sponsored by the Tam Valley Community Center, Mill Valley, California. More info.:
5. Interpretive Hikes and Ecology Workshops
Acterra Stewardship offers a number of hikes and workshops throughout the year. These are a great opportunity to learn about local ecology and explore nature in the Bay Area. Space is limited, so please register in advance.
"Plant Galls: A Story of Insects and the Plants They Turn Into Shelter and Food"
Come walk Arastradero’s trails with Acterra Staff Botanist, Paul Heiple, and Acterra Nursery Manager, Deanna Giuliano to see the weird structures called galls and learn about the insects that make them.
We recommend bringing a water bottle and wearing closed-toe, comfortable shoes and a hat!
Saturday, August 21, 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
We will meet at the Gateway Facility, down the trail from the Pearson-Arastradero Preserve parking lot on Arastradero Road, just north of Page Mill Road. We start promptly at 9:00 am. [MAP]
Cost: $10 [REGISTER NOW]
6. Registration is Open!
This fall, the San Francisco Green Schoolyard Alliance will be hosting its 4th Growing Greener School Grounds Conference on Friday, September 24th and Saturday the 25th.
This year's conference will bring together over 300 K-12 teachers and community members from the Bay Area and beyond to learn more about creating and sustaining vibrant outdoor learning environments.
The 2010 Growing Greener School Grounds Conference will begin with a Friday evening event featuring a keynote speaker, a networking and resource fair, with opportunities for local green schoolyards to showcase their existing work. On Saturday, conference participants will have the opportunity to select one full-day or two half-day, hands-on workshops from a wide variety of schoolyard greening topics. The workshops will be designed to enhance the grounds of the schools that host them, while teaching the participants valuable skills that they can put to use at their own schools. Workshop topics will include things such as:
* designing, building and maintaining school gardens
* organic vegetable gardening;
* successful fundraising and advocacy for your school garden;
* best horticultural practices for schoolyards;
* designing and installing schoolyard artwork;
* planting, harvesting and cooking with garden produce;
* connecting vibrant outdoor classrooms to state curriculum frameworks;
* and many more!
For more information and to register, please visit: http://sfgreenschools.org/conference/
Also--would you consider posting this. I realize that it is fraught with all sorts of conflicting politics, but as I always say.. school gardens have strange bedfellows. Here is a link to a “popularity contest” grant that we are really trying to get our constituents behind. Thanks for considering it:
The SF Green Schoolyard Alliance has submitted a proposal to the Good Magazine/Pepsi Refresh Everything contest in hopes of receiving funding for a series of site-based skills workshops, community workdays, and tree plantings at San Francisco schools (www.refresheverything.com/greensfschools). Pepsi is sponsoring this contest in lieu of spending money on Super Bowl ads. We are asking our entire Sustainable SFUSD community to support us in our quest to come away with a grant.
Here's the deal:
* Projects are voted on by the public to determine winners. You can vote once per day (!!!)
* You must sign up so the system can keep track of votes, but you WILL NOT be spammed.
* Please spread the word via email lists, texting, Twitter, Facebook, etc.
* Please consider making our page your home page this month.
* The voting period is from August 1- August 31st, after which, the projects with the most votes will receive the grant.
SFGSA Executive Director
SFUSD Director of Sustainability
7. Nature in the City Fantastick Fundraiser with the SF Playhouse – One Night Only
Nature in the City is pleased to work with the SF Playhouse on a fundraiser night event at the Thursday, August 19, 2010, at 8 PM performance of an exciting, re-imagining of the legendary musical The Fantasticks. For the longest running musical’s 50th anniversary, they have created a fresh new take which involves our natural environment. A green theme runs through the entire show and addresses how the songs and story would translate. What if the “Try to Remember” song was set in a world devastated by Global warming so that a time when “grass was green and grain was yellow,” was a dim memory, when the ozone layer had been burnt off and “Soon it’s Gonna Rain” was a desperate wish, not a certainty? By re-imagining this classic in a wasteland of a man-made future, it brings new resonance to the theme of hope, and of facing truth before one can really grow.
Specify that your ticket order is on behalf of Nature in the City to help us raise funds. To order tickets: Call the SF Playhouse box office at 415-677-9596, Monday through Friday from 1 PM – 6 PM.
Enjoy an entertaining and musical evening while at the same time benefit San Francisco’s natural environment.
Plus, Nature in the City is offering a discount on membership for those that have purchased tickets for our Fantastick Fundraiser. Call our office or join us online at natureinthecity.org (To get a $5 discount on your membership use the “Other” field on the membership page and enter the total discounted amount.)
The Fantastick Fundraiser is for the purchase of the regularly price SF Playhouse tickets of $40; no ticket discounts or premium seating apply. Please note that online ticket orders are not accepted for this fundraiser.
“Nature is just enough; but men and women must comprehend and accept her suggestions.” Antoinette Brown Blackwell
LTE, San Francisco Chronicle
If we're truly serious about preventing the extinction of sea otters ("Troubling otter decline," 8/16), let's do the obvious:
1. Allow the otters to re-populate their entire former range, from Alaska to Baja.
2. Stop all commercial and "sport" take of abalone and sea urchins, the otters' main diet.
3. Stop pesticide run-off into the ocean.
4. Jail time and stiff fines for otter-killers.
LTE, Guardian Weekly
Sailing and saving energy
Hats off to ship owners (Cargo ships steam more slowly than clippers to save fuel). Greenhouse emissions are significantly lower, giving time for longer-term adjustments to a future of zero net emissions.
What's needed now are similar initiatives on roads. Legislators in many countries need to reduce the maximum speeds permitted for cars, buses and lorries, and to ensure compliance with new, lower speed limits. This would save fuel and reduce emissions. It would also reduce the number and severity of traffic accidents.
In the longer term, lower maximum speeds on roads should result in smaller-engined vehicles, and additional reductions in emissions.
David Teather, Canberra, Australia
9. From The Watershed Project
Is Your Local Creek Dirty?
How Data Collection Can Save a Creek
A deadline is approaching. It isn't one most of us have heard about. August 30th is the last day the California State Water Resources Control Board will accept data submissions for the 2012 303(d) List. The what?
Showdown Over Plastic Bags
Finally, A Statewide Effort to Reduce Trash, Save Energy and Protect Marine Life
As I begin this article, the ticker on www.reuseit.com shows that 293,651,720,000 plastic bags have been consumed this year. Since the plastic bag first found its way into the back seats, kitchen cupboards, and spare space under the sink in American households, we have been consuming them at an alarming rate. Worldwide plastic bag consumption falls between 500 billion and 1 trillion bags annually. That breaks down to almost 1 million every minute.
Growing Up in the Bay's Murky Waters
Eelgrass Plays a Key Role in Subtidal Ecosystem
Have you ever been walking along the shoreline and seen green patches of vegetation in the water? That's most likely eelgrass, Zostera marina, an underwater flowering plant that lives directly in the bay. Eelgrass is not simply another plant though; its effects on the San Francisco Bay are vital for a healthy ecosystem.
10. The Watershed Nursery's
Huge Summer Native Plant Sale
Monday August 23rd - Saturday August 28th, 10 am - 5 pm
All plants discounted - up to 75%
Here's your chance to save BIG on our large selection of beautiful native California plants. We have dropped prices on our entire plant inventory. Enjoy 10%-75% off regular prices!
Shop for your selections in person or place your order by email, phone or fax beginning Monday August 23rd. Payment must be made at time of order and all plants must be picked up by Saturday August 28th.
(Sales are subject to current availability and no other discounts apply)
Plant list and Sale Prices
601-A Canal Blvd.
Richmond, CA 94804
phone: (510) 234-2222
fax: (510) 234-2242
11. Scientific American
MIND MATTERS: Can Money Buy Happiness?
New research reveals that reminders of wealth impair our capacity to savor life's little pleasures
SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN MIND: Looks Can Deceive: Why Perception and Reality Don't Always Match Up
When you are facing a tricky task, your view of the world may not be as accurate as you think
> Water rates have doubled over the past five years, and the big work on the Water System Improvement Program, $4.6 billion, is just coming up. Twenty-five percent has been accomplished in the first seven plus years; the remainder is to be done in the next 5.5 years.
> The current water program is providing recycled water, and also groundwater. The recycled water is the easiest and cheapest available. The capital cost is estimated to be $126 million for 2 million gallons per day (mgd). (The City uses about 75 mgd.) On top of cpaital cost comes operating cost, which is much harder to know. Also the new plant and lines must be maintained. Recycled water will cost multiples of what Hetchy water costs. The more that is done the higher the cost per unit. Recycled water is not drinkable, and needs separate pipes.
> San Franciscans use 51 gallons per person per day average. This is pretty much the low usage anywhere in the USA. We need to use even less by 2018; we are contractually committed to do so. Using less helps the environment, but it also raises costs per unit of water.
> Back in 2002 when the water program was 74% of what it is expected to cost today rates for water were to have tripled to pay for the current program, which makes the water system more reliable and less vulnerable to earthquake, drought and breakdown.
> San Franciscans are idealistic and rich; perhaps there is no rate for water that they would not endure. The Sewer System Improvement Program is not yet launched, but that should emerge soon; it is expected to cost about $5 billion.
> While water might be collected at lower elevations than Hetch Hetchy, the water system would no longer be gravity driven. Water is heavy, and pumping costs in energy and greenhouse gas emissions. Water quality would be inferior. Also, much of the water system would need to be re-engineered. Water would need to be filtered; that costs in dollars, energy and greenhouse gases.
> Few realize what would be involved in restoring Hetch Hetchy. The Hetchy reservoir stores more than a year's supply of water. Restoration would have serious environmental impacts. Water would cost multiples of what it does today. Drought would be a much more serious threat. Be careful what you ask for.
Steve: We're talking past each other, and with good reason: We're talking a sense of values. I have already granted you that most of your statements are largely correct; it's our values that differ, and discussions or arguments or throwing facts and figures about will not convince. Read again those quotations by John Muir. Can you just blow off his concerns?
Those of us who want to restore the Valley to this national park know full well what all needs to be done. The project is complex and not cheap. But all the items you cite are human-created and human-solvable problems. Valley champions are fighting for the irreplaceable, those resources that took millions of years to create and which mankind is in desperate need of in this destructive age. There are some things you just can't talk about in terms of money, no matter how dire the money situation is at a given time. In a thousand years, who will care about the money spent? They will care about the Valley then--and be deeply grateful to us for saving it.
And the temerity of San Francisco (self-proclaimed environmental capital of the world!) for wanting to use it for its private use--to store its drinking water!
In a national park, that takes chutzpah. We seem to have it.
“We are the children of the earth and removed from her our spirit withers.”
George MacCaulay Trevelyan
> I did not want your attack on social security to go unanswered.
> Actually, the money collected in the social security (payroll) fund has been invested in treasury bonds. This fund is separate from the budget. These are not funds that the government can just take; they are funds that have been paid by employees and employers.
> The Social Security Trust Fund has consistently been in the black and has, in fact, built up a huge surplus, on which it also collects interest. The Fund can continue to pay in full through 2037. Thereafter, the Fund could continue to pay out at 75%.
> Since the program is good til 2037, we don't need to do ANYTHING immediately. However, at some point we need to "fix" the program----there are many simple ways to do that, insuring that we'll have the social security program fully funded for decades. (One simple way is to remove the cap---currently social security is only collected on your first earned $106,000 of earned income.)
> As for what was done: a big problem existed in the '80's, legislators recognized it, and there were significant changes made to the program so that it could survive. The social security program was designed to enable fixes, allowing it to grow and survive.
> You are right that you'd never want to have to survive on social security. Te average payment is around $13,000 a year----considerably less for women and minorities. Unfortunately, many do have to survive on that. Social security was intended to be one leg of a three legged stool---the others legs being savings and pensions. We all know what's happened to those. So little as it is, it allows 90% of seniors not to live in abject poverty. (And what would happen to those people, without the money that they "saved" ?)
> Don't write the death knell for this program. It CAN survive (although it won't if nay-sayers let that happen). It is a good program, and it behooves us to work for its future.
Kathie: I can't figure how you thought I attacked Social Security. Far from it. I attacked the way the govt, with our consent, has been managing it. I did say "this is a scam", by which I was referring to the article "5 myths of SS", not SS itself. Our elected politicians over the decades have been loading beneficiaries onto the SS system who were never intended to be part of SS. Doling out money is fun, and when times were good we were not paying much attention. Some of what you say makes me wonder how carefully you read my writing. I don't think I disagree with most of what you wrote.
My concern is the monster debts we are running up--as well as changing demographics. In the past we have not been overly concerned about the hundreds of billions (now well into the trillions) of debt because we had a constantly expanding economy that (with a little aid from mild inflation) would be able to handle the debt load. Those days are gone forever, but no one wants to talk about it because too many awkward questions come up. The economy could not, mathematically, expand forever; even a dunce can see that. However, both our debt and Social Security payments depend on this ever-expanding economy, which is coming to an end. The current economic problems are not just another dip in the cycle; we are at a historic turning point, which we had to reach sooner or later. We've reached it.
The scenario I posited previously was based primarily on the govt choosing inflation as a way out of the overhanging debt--ie, pay off the debt with cheaper dollars. That is a strategy condemned by moralists but used by govts when in a tight spot. However, it appears that inflation may not happen--but deflation instead, which is much worse. As I said, the SS fund is not like a pile of gold sitting in Ft Knox; it is just figures on the books that the govt is obligated to pay. But what if the govt is unable to pay because of its huge debt burden? What if we have deflation instead of inflation--meaning that dollars are fewer and harder come by--how then to pay off this monster debt AND Social Security? And changing demographics: There is a developing bulge in the generations coming into retirement age--taking money out of the fund--coupled with a decline in the number of those who will be paying into the fund. That wasn't supposed to happen. We were supposed to have a constantly expanding population with constantly increasing wants, and every day would get better and better in every way.
I have not been sanguine about matters for a long, long time. At least since World War II the economic system (including Social Security) has been predicated on the false premise that it would expand indefinitely, a mathematical impossibility. At some point the bleep had to hit the fan, and it is now doing that, starting in 2007. The worst is yet to come. I cannot tell you what will happen to SS, but, as I said, I wouldn't want my life to depend on it.
There has been much bravado and whistling in the dark by people who know better--or should. The president may know better, but he has no choice but to say "we've got to get the economy moving again". (It isn't ever going to move again like it did for past 60 years.) Others, such as our central bankers (not just ours, but around the world), are being circumspect in their public utterances, but privately they're shaking in their boots, with good reason. They can see the shakiness of the whole setup and have nightmares about what could happen. And my private nightmare is that it will happen.
Jake, aka Dr Gloom
> A few days ago, a friend asked me a question: "Who is our generation's Einstein?"
> Other than, perhaps, Stephen Hawking, do we have one?
> I don't know. It's been puzzling me ever since he asked it. Your thoughts?
Why does a generation have to have an Einstein? There was only one.
An idle question.
> No generation has to have an Einstein. But if ours did, who would it be?
> Who are are far-thinkers? The Hubble folk / ISS folk / the LHC folk?
> I don't think that it's an idle question --- but one that requires more pondering.
That 'if' in your first line is a mighty big word. Firstly, there was only one Einstein, just as there was only one Newton, or, for that matter, one of anybody--including you and me. Does there need to be a second anybody?
Einstein was more than just a far-thinker. He shook the way we saw space, time, light, and, and, and.... A hundred years of experimenting, technology, computers, and we're still discovering ramifications of his insight.
Stephen Hawking is brilliant, and deserves the accolades and the Lucasian Chair that Newton occupied. But I doubt very much that he will transform our view of nature to the degree that Einstein did. People of that caliber don't come along very often. Beware of questions like "Who is our generation's Einstein?" You need distance (eg, 100 years) to make even a tentative answer. Be patient. Wait a couple hundred years. In the meantime, absorb Einstein; that'll keep you busy for awhile.
13. Notes & Queries, Guardian Weekly
Pass the plate, please
What is the difference between praying to God and to the devil?
Generally, the devil doesn't benefit from your call, but God has ample means of recompense through the collecting plates of the various religions.
Otherwise, they are much of a muchness.
John Graham, Hoogstraten, Belgium
How economics works
The world's economies are in debt; to whom do they owe the money?
A story circulating in France tells of the impoverished village in which a lone American tourist rented a room at the hotel, giving a $150 advance. The hotelier took it straight to the village shop, to which he owed this amount. The shopkeeper took it to the farmer for the same reason. The farmer also owed this amount to the prostitute, who owed the hotel for room rentals (by the hour).
As she handed over the money to the hotelier, the tourist took it back, saying he had changed his mind. The village was no better off, but everyone was out of debt.
Brian Turner, Adeje, Teneriffe, Spain
First, get rid of the humans
Has the world ever been at peace?
The world has been at peace for millennia, but unfortunately the relatively recently arrived predominant species lodging on it seems to struggle with the concept, and I suspect the world will continue to exist in peace long after we depart.
Gary Laidlaw, Norwich, UK