|Posted 24 April 2011, by Terre Logsdon, Lake County News, lakeconews.com|
The “living dock” – designed by the Dock Factory in Lakeport – incorporates the BioHaven Matrix Material which is planted with native plants on Earth Day at Clarks Island. Photo by Terre Logsdon.
CLEARLAKE OAKS, Calif. – Clarks Island in Clearlake Oaks was the site for a community Earth Day celebration Saturday.
The day saw the official launch and planting of the first “living dock” on Clear Lake, as well as the grand opening of the Clearlake Oaks Visitor Center.
The Lake County Redevelopment Agency owns the property, which has been the site of natural building, tule planting and the installation of a floating island.
District 3 Supervisor Denise Rushing welcomed the community to the Clarks Island Sustainability Initiative Project.
She acknowledged P.J. Herman and Paul of the Dock Factory in Lakeport and Laddie Flock of Floating Islands West for their contribution of a kayak launching dock retrofitted with “BioHaven” material that allows plants to grow on the dock – with their roots in the water – which is the first of its kind on Clear Lake.
“The Clearlake Oaks community and I thank Floating Islands West and the Dock Factory for their generous gifts today,” said Rushing, as she addressed the many community-members participating in the event to help plant the new dock, kayak around Clarks Island and learn about other environmental issues impacting Lake County from organizations with informational booths.
As previously reported in Lake County News, the BioHaven material used in the new kayak launch dock uses cutting-edge biomimicry – the science and art of emulating natural biological systems to solve human problems – that imitates natural floating wetland systems.
According to studies by Floating Islands International, BioHaven floating islands can remove pollutants from a waterway, including nitrates, phosphates, ammonia and heavy metals; provide critical riparian edge habitat (new land mass for use by all kinds of creatures, from microbes to humans); mine nutrient loads from any waterway and reduce algae blooms; sequester carbon and other greenhouse gases; and provide wave mitigation and erosion control while beautifying a waterscape with floating gardens.
“Imagine when more docks on Clear Lake and in the Keys use this technology,” noted Flock.
The more “floating islands” that mimic wetlands on Clear Lake, the more nutrients they will uptake, which will benefit water quality, he said.
In addition to christening the new living kayak dock, Transition Lake County also held its monthly meeting and potluck, Massey Burke of Vertical Clay continued working on the natural building project at Clarks Island, www.AirKayaks.com provided watercraft for the community to enjoy, Bill Stone of A&B Collision in Clearlake sponsored a roadside cleanup, Clay and Margarita Shannon and Joey Luiz were on hand providing Shannon Ridge wines, and informational booths by Floating Islands West, the Sierra Club and the Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake provided educational materials.
Archive for April 24th, 2011
Posted 24 April 2011, by Rubén Rosario, TwinCities.com, twincities.com
The Rev. David Van Dyke of the House of Hope Presbyterian Church in St. Paul sounded the other day very much like the dreamy-eyed lead character of the classic ‘Field of Dreams.’
“We want it to be quite pleasing from the street and the sidewalk,” Van Dyke tells me as we stand on a 1,500-square-foot section of grass on one of the front lawns of the 97-year-old Gothic church.
“What do we do with the grass?” he responds. “Nothing. We just mow it. From an aesthetic point of view, who’s to say that green grass is somehow prettier than a beautiful garden with flower beds?”
Welcome to House of Hope’s Field of Greens. But unlike the movie’s baseball field, this garden will be built right smack on one of the most historic and toniest thoroughfares in town — Summit Avenue. If built, there would be nothing quite like it along that wide boulevard of stately mansions.
“One of the things about putting it here is that it serves as a public witness to this in terms of what we are doing and why — that there are hungry people right here in our own neighborhood and community and it’s an opportunity for neighbors to help neighbor,” Van Dyke said.
Pending approval from the city’s historic preservation committee, the church’s garden at 797 Summit Ave. is designed to provide fresh produce for up to 15 families through a partnership with Neighborhood House’s basic needs program.
“We are especially excited,” said Sarah Yang, who runs the program at Neighborhood
House, a West Side social services agency. “They know that fresh produce is a great demand in our food shelf. We never have enough of it.”
The House of Hope effort plans to help fill a midweek fresh-produce gap during the summer growing season. Neighborhood House weekly collects about 1,000 pounds of leftover produce from the St. Paul Farmers’ Market. The yield is given to 60 families in a two-day period, each receiving about 15 pounds in addition to their nonperishable food.
The food shelf serves 30 to 32 families on typical days, giving away 3,000 pounds of food.
“House of Hope’s community garden would greatly benefit our families on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays when we don’t have much fresh produce,” Yang said.
GARDEN IDEA TAKES ROOT
The community-garden idea took root during a meeting a few months ago of the church’s outreach ministry committee.
“We thought it was a fabulous idea, and putting it right on Summit was a great way to highlight the need,” said Mary Senkbeil, the committee chair. The church folks asked the food shelf folks, whose clientele is 40 percent immigrant or ethnically diverse, what to grow.
Tomatillos, chayote, mustard greens, collards, hot and sweet peppers, sweet basil
and lemongrass were among staples added to the produce list.
The Permaculture Research Institute for Cold Climate, a Minneapolis firm, was hired to come up with a design for the community garden that would look pleasing and also accomplish its humanitarian mission.
“The gardens are intensively designed using permaculture design principles to maximize crop production but also build soil, use water efficiently and provide habitat for beneficial insects,” said Paula Westmoreland, the garden’s designer and the firm’s demonstration designer.
The plan includes pollination gardens designed to mirror the braided pattern in the building’s Gothic architecture. They are planted with flowers and grasses that will attract pollinators such as butterflies and provide a home for beneficial insects and beauty along the garden edge.
The north fence will have trellises to grow tomatoes, cucumbers, pole beans, squash and other vining crops. The south fence will be bordered with junipers and grasses to “increase the aesthetic appeal,” according to the design blueprint.
Westmoreland said the church effort, given the locale, is unique.
“This can become a model for other congregations who’d like to do the same,” she said.
The design calls for a transparent 3-foot-high fence to keep those dastardly rabbits out. But it will be open to the public and have strawberry plants on its slope “so that people walking by can just pick and eat them,” Van Dyke said. He added that part of the partnership would encourage the food-shelf beneficiaries to volunteer and help plant the garden.
“We don’t want this to be just a church thing,” he said as he looked out onto Summit Avenue from the lawn. “It’s a community thing that I hope will turn some heads.”
I could almost hear someone whispering to the pastor as he spoke: “If you build it, they will eat.”
Rubén Rosario can be reached at 651-228-5454 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Celebrate Earth Day with Complimentary Access to Sustainability: The Journal of Record; Environmental Justice; and Ecopsychology
Posted April 21, 2011, by Staff, Mary Ann Liebert Inc. Publishers, liebertpub.com
New Rochelle, NY—In recognition of Earth Day, publisher Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. will provide complimentary online access to its journals in the field of sustainability, including Sustainability: The Journal of Record; Environmental Justice; and Ecopsychology through May 6. Each journal provides cutting-edge information about sustainability initiatives, the relationship between mankind and nature, and the protection of our citizens and our planet.
Sustainability: The Journal of Record, documents the implementation of sustainability programs in higher education and business, and provides the central forum for academic institutions, the business community, foundations, government agencies, and leaders of green-collar endeavors to learn about one another’s progress and programs and foster collaborations for attaining mutually supportive objectives. To view the complete tables of content for Sustainability: The Journal of Record, click here.
Environmental Justice, edited by Sylvia Hood Washington, PhD, ND, MSE, MPH, explores the adverse and disparate environmental burden impacting marginalized populations and communities all over the world. to view the complete tables of content for Environmental Justice, click here.
Articles in Ecopsychology, edited by Thomas Joseph Doherty, PsyD, explore the relationship between environmental issues and mental health and well-being, and examine the psychological, spiritual, and therapeutic aspects of human-nature relationships, concern about environmental issues, and responsibility for protecting natural places and other species. To view the complete tables of content for Ecopsychology, click here.
Posted April 22, 2011, by Isaac Harkness, Natural News, naturalnews.com
People nowadays are feeling like their lives are spinning out of control. They worry about being able to provide the necessities for their families as food and fuel prices soar and out of control inflation looms on the horizon. Many are almost totally disconnected from nature and that which sustains them. There is a rapidly growing and revolutionary worldwide movement of citizens taking steps that lead them out of dependence on the system and to a life of healthy re-connection and nourishment. This is the permaculture movement.
There are many definitions for the holistic design system known as permaculture and the word itself derives from the combinations of permanent culture and permanent agriculture. As its legendary co-founder Bill Mollison puts it, “it is the conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems which have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems. It is the harmonious integration of landscape and people – providing their food, energy, shelter, and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way. Without permanent agriculture there is no possibility of a stable social order.”
The provision of food, shelter, water, energy and waste management are contained within permaculture design. Pause for a moment and imagine the freedom and empowerment that is possible by providing these things yourself or within your local neighborhood and area. One of the most important aspects of permaculture is the rebuilding of community. The goal of permaculture is to re-localize the control and provision of those things necessary to human life, and to do it in an ethical and ecological way.
Permaculture is the first design system in history to be based upon ethics. These ethics are Earthcare, Peoplecare and Fairshare. These ethics can be applied to all aspects of life, not only design. The Earthcare ethic asks if the action will harm, maintain or improve the ecology where it takes place. Peoplecare holds that the action does not have negative effects for other people and seeks to build healthy communities. Fairshare means that a resource is not being exploited for the gain of only a few and that surpluses are not hoarded.
From these ethics the twelve Permaculture Principles have been further developed by David Holmgren. These principles are the basis for designing systems that require a minimum of maintenance and inputs and that form closed-loop interactions. The output of one element in the system becomes the input for another element. In this way waste is drastically reduced or even largely eliminated.
Permaculture Research Institute of Australia: http://permaculture.org.au/what-is-…
David Holmgren’s Permaculture Principles: http://permacultureprinciples.com/
Bill Mollison, Permaculture: A Designer’s Manual, Tagari Publications, 1988
Toby Hemenway, Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture 2nd Edition, Chelsea Green, 2009
Wikipedia Article: Permaculture
Posted 23 April 2011, by Robert Bullard, OpEdNews.com, opednews.com
It has been one year since the massive BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster created an environmental nightmare on the U.S. Gulf Coast. The oil disaster killed 11 workers. And for three months the nation watched and held its breadth as the busted BP well spewed millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico every day. Government officials estimate the ruptured well leaked nearly 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The spill fouled 120 miles of U.S. coastline, imperiled multibillion fishing and tourism industries and killed birds, sea turtles and dolphins. The full health, environmental, and economic impact of this catastrophe may not become clear for decades.
While the media devoted round the clock coverage of the well capping and cleanup efforts, not much attention was given to where BP oil spill waste was being disposed. Environmental justice leaders were the first to raise concern about BP’s waste management plan that was approved on June 13, 2010. They questioned a plan that would turn low-income and people of color communities in the Gulf Region into the ” dumping grounds ” for BP oil waste.
Although people of color make up about 26 percent of the coastal counties in Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, and Louisiana, the government approved most of the BP oil waste to be trucked to these communities. On July 15, 2010–the earliest reporting period–39,399 tons of BP waste went to nine landfills of which 21,867 tons (55.4 percent) were disposed in communities of color and 30,338 tons (77.0 percent) of oil waste went to communities where the percent people of color was greater than the percent people of color in the host county.
As of April 10, 2011–the latest reporting period–106,409 tons of BP waste went to 11 landfills, of which 45,032 tons (42.3 percent) went to landfills in majority people of color communities, and 90,554 tons (85.1 percent) went to landfills located in communities whose percent people of color population exceeded the county’s percent people of color.
Clearly, one year after the BP oil disaster, environmental justice communities still bear the brunt of the oil waste disposal. These same communities also must contend with negative impacts of being fenceline with landfills but also face environmental health threats from increased truck traffic and vehicle emissions, especially diesel truck emissions. Residents who live fenceline with landfills are invisible and forgotten Americans–another injustice that needs to be corrected.