Energy woes,Oil, wake ups & wins – Ecofacts V.10 n.21

winter solstice

Another oil spill, noticed especially because of our very well known local history. Clearly, accidents and their resulting environmental harm are inevitable from drilling and transporting fossil fuels. Plains Pipeline, who owns this one, has had 175 infractions in the last 8 years. Each year, NOAA responds to 100+ oil and chemical spills, and just reported the proven link between the alarming … [Read more...]

The Pope and environmental action – Ecofacts V.10 n.20


"Pope Francis’ closest adviser castigated conservative climate change skeptics in the United States Tuesday, blaming capitalism for their views. Speaking with journalists, Cardinal Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga criticized certain “movements” in the United States that have preemptively come out in opposition to Francis’s planned encyclical on climate change.  “The ideology surrounding environmental … [Read more...]

GOODS not BADS Ecofacts V.10 n.19


I saw a Whole Foods bag that said "Buy Goods, Not Bads" and was struck by this truly great marketing slogan. In a few words, it wants people to see how their market is different from regular supermarkets. But it could also have a greater impact. If focused upon, it might actually cause a pause... in the normal flow of buying, while walking down the aisle of a store, a questioning.   Most … [Read more...]

A look at Nepal Eco Facts V.10 n.18

The country of Nepal takes up an area of between Iowa and Illinois in size, and has a population of around 30 million people, with an average density of over 500 per square mile, however much of the country is mountainous.  There is one good road from India to the Kathmandu valley. More than a third of Nepalese live more than two hours' walk from an all season road, as most roads are not useable … [Read more...]

Strawberries , Farming, two glimpses Ecofacts V.10 n.17

SB County's top crop in 2013 was strawberries, their commercial value being nearly three times that of the next one - wine grapes. Delicious sweetness and intoxicating pleasure, these crops give us a snapshot of our region and its small farms, including the people who pick the fruits. Strawberries and wine grapes are economically robust despite the current drought. (Strawberries require much water … [Read more...]

Juicy flesh, Butter on our toast Ecofacts V.10 n.16

No one wants their meat bony and dry, at least the animals themselves and those who eat them don't. The point being, in the words of a favorite eco writer -  "It takes a lot of water to grow and feed a large mammal, and yet more water to cut it up into small pieces and clean up the mess." Besides beef and pork, the raising and processing of our poultry and of our dairy cattle for our milk, butter … [Read more...]

Almonds and economies Ecofacts V. 10 n.15

livingreen blog

I sat this morning happily eating a dish of local almonds and strawberries with some (not local) cereal, coconut and soy milk, and was grateful to have been able to speak to Nate, of Fat Uncle Farms where my almonds came from. Since almonds are a huge product of California AG and use lots of water in a drought stricken state, they've been a controversial item in the news lately. Nate's family … [Read more...]

More or Less Water Ecofacts V.10 n.14


California - great place to live, except for the not anywhere near enough water part!  After yet another not rainy season, very low reservoirs and not enough snow to feed our rivers. A third of our water comes from Sierra Nevada snowpack which is now 5% of normal levels, the Lake Tahoe Basin is at 3%. Governor Brown just announced that historic drought restrictions will be enacted, mostly for … [Read more...]

The Other End of Consumption Ecofacts V.10 n.13


We spend so much of our time thinking about, and doing our personal acts of consumption - eating and drinking, and with the water we use, washing. Then there's the outgo. We are relieved to wash, to pee and poo, but generally choose not to think much about that part, who wants to? But think for one minute and you realize how essential a well designed and maintained infrastructure is for sewage, … [Read more...]

Banana fibers Ecofacts V.10 n.12


I recently met someone who is helping to build another kind of bio-economy, a rural, local economy that employs people and banana fibers to solve an age old problem. Menstruating girls and women in developing countries who cannot afford access to hygenic methods of dealing with their periods must often miss school or work for days every single month. The alternatives are rags, leaves and/or mud … [Read more...]