Tuesday, October 9, 2012

2012-10-09 "Taylor Mountain Regional Park and Open Space approved"

by Meda Freeman from "Sonoma County Gazette"
The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, acting concurrently as directors of the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District, on Tuesday approved a comprehensive master plan for creating a regional park and open space preserve on the Taylor Mountain properties in southeast Santa Rosa. Over two years in the making, this blueprint for the Taylor Mountain Regional Park and Open Space Preserve details how to provide hiking, camping and other recreation opportunities and protect the environmental and agricultural value of the 1,100-acre site.
Completion of the master plan is a significant step toward the opening of the park and preserve. With the plan approved, the Open Space District is expected to transfer title of the land to Regional Parks this winter. Meanwhile, Regional Parks is exploring options for allowing public use of Taylor Mountain’s existing trails without the special permits currently required and is preparing to begin work on the park and preserve’s first phase along Petaluma Hill Road.
“The master plan is a major accomplishment and represents an extensive, collaborative effort to bring the community into the planning process,” said Supervisor Shirlee Zane, whose 3rd District includes Taylor Mountain. “Taylor Mountain is an amazing resource in the middle of Santa Rosa and the park and preserve will give so many new park users a place to nourish their bodies and minds.”
The Taylor Mountain preserve consists of five contiguous properties acquired by the Open Space District from 1995 to 2011 with funding from a voter-approved sales tax. The District and Regional Parks in 2010 began developing a park master plan that sought to balance recreation with preservation. The goal was to make appropriate areas of the park as accessible as possible but also to protect its natural beauty and diversity. Community input was a key part of the process, with about 500 people attending a series of public meetings and giving planners feedback on park amenities and conservation priorities.
The result is the 246-page Taylor Mountain Regional Park and Open Space Preserve Master Plan approved Tuesday. The plan calls for 17 miles of mostly multi-use trails for hikers, cyclists and equestrians. Trailheads will be located off of Petaluma Hill and Kawana Springs roads, with limited access from Linwood Avenue and Panorama Drive. Campsites, picnic areas and a visitor center will be built on the edges of the property closer to urban areas. Cattle grazing will continue in some sections of the preserve. 
Regional Parks earlier this year was awarded a $750,000 state grant to design and construct the first phase of the park. This work will be concentrated off of Petaluma Hill Road and will include a driveway, parking lot, restrooms, picnic tables, play area, and trail connections. Work is expected to be finished by summer of 2014. Additional trails and park features will be developed over time as funding becomes available.
“Taylor Mountain is unique because it is so close to an urban area, yet is home to so many amazing natural habitats that support wildlife such as mountain lion, deer, fox, and even the federally-protected California red-legged frog,” said Bill Keene, general manager of the Open Space District. “This project preserves a scenic natural area as open space forever and creates recreational opportunities for people from all walks of life.”
The Taylor Mountain properties include grasslands, oak woodlands, meadows, wetlands and ridges. The land primarily has been used for ranching, although one section is the location of the historical Kawana Springs Resort.  The preserve’s highest point is approximately 1,300 feet and offers sweeping views of the Santa Rosa Plain, Bennett Valley and the Coast Ranges.
“We look forward to coming back to the Board to finalize the transfer of Taylor Mountain and opening a new county park,” said Caryl Hart, director of Regional Parks. “Taylor Mountain is the backdrop to Santa Rosa and a spectacular landscape, a place that generations to come will enjoy and appreciate.”
The master plan can be viewed at [sonomaopenspace.org]

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Stop Junk Mail Now

[www.greendimes.com] 2006-2011 greendimes.com All Rights Reserved.

What is Green Dimes?
Green Dimes is a website dedicated on educating and informing the public about the serious threat that is Junk Mail, Junkmail, admail (however you want to call it) is to the Environment. Every day, millions of people receive mail that they didn't want, didn't ask for and, mostly aren't interested in. Thousands of companies, large and small, rely on this unpopular method of advertisement to get to the general masses, regardless of the huge negative impact it has.
But don't believe us, the US Environmental Protection Agency estimates that "44% of junk mail is discarded without beign opened or read, equaling 4 million tons of waste of paper per year, with just 32% recovered for recycling." Also the Ohio Office of Compliance has stated that "250,000 homes could be heated for a single day's junkmail."
The CO2 emissions from 41 pounds of advertising mail received annually by the average US consumer is about 47.6 kilograms (105 Pounds). The loss of natural habitat potential from the 41 pounds of admail is estimated to be 36.6 square meters.
Is estimated that 100 million trees are cut down each year to create the 4.5 million tons of junkmail in the US alone, and an estimated 28 billion gallons of water is also used on the production, annually. Some companies have started to use water-based or vegetable-based ink and laminates, and have increased the use of recycled paper, however, they are a minority in the industry. And regardless their newfound eco-friendly stance, they forget that Junk Mail... is... very... annoying.
There are many organizations dedicated to eradicate the use of junkmail altogether. Also, there have been several successful initiatives, such as the red dot campaign in Canada, that has achieved tremendous amount of success in its attempts to stop admail. We here at Green Dimes, will tell you about effective ways you can help stop junk mail and will try to raise awareness on how serious issue such a trivial, everyday simple detail is in the big picture.

How it works? how to stop Junk Mail -
We here at Green Dimes have done the research of several options there are available online for you to help stopping Junk Mail from cluttering your mailbox.
Upon a first look online there are several organizations dedicated to help the environment, some offer interesting options that are worth a look. First off, it's ForestEthics. This environmental website has as an entire purpose to fight for our natural resources. Among its many initiatives it also has some interesting facts and suggestions for a real change in the marketing industry. Also they have a taken a page from Canada's Red dot Campaign and provide useful information for the average person to take into consideration, also they seek for companies to effectively take consideration on this serious issue.
In their websites and awareness making ventures they have the option for you to send a letter (email), to the leading offenders demanding that they stop sending junk mail.
Unfortunately in the US there isn't a campaign like Red dot in Canada, but there is growing concern and every day more americans are becoming aware of the problem. The newdream.org foundation provides some interesting alternatives.
Another organization dedicated is 41pounds.org, they are a website that per a one time fee of $41, promises to stop at least 80-95% of unwanted admail. Plus they also donate to your favorite charity upon registry. Similar to this organization is catalogchoice.org, on which with a $20 donation they will provide their assitance on helping you stop the influx of junkmail.
Visit our Section "Green Dimes: how do I stop Junk Mail" for our ideas and suggestions.

History of Junk Mail, as told by Green Dimes -
Sears published the first ever catalog in the 1880's, thus earning the title of "founder of junk mail". It also helped shape the paper industry. To this date it is still one of the largest catalog producers in the world, yet it would not use recycled paper or any form of environmental friendly publishing, and their catalogs use paper sourced from vital ecosystems and endangered forests, including the Canadian Boreal.
However, the first ever telegram sent to multiple recipients with advertisement purposes was sent on 1864 in London by Messrs Gabriel, a local dentists advising his near-by community of his business hours. The telegram was delivered by the post office at late hours, not surprisingly causing the many recipients to become furious to be disturbed by the telegram. "I have never had any dealings with Messrs Gabriel," thundered one of them, "and beg to know by what right do they disturb me by a telegram which is simply the medium of advertisement?"
The junkmail industry or, as they would have themselves called, "direct marketing" was created by Aaron Montgomery who was the first producer of a mail sent catalog. In 1967 Lester Wunderman, fathered the idea of several loyalty marketing programs and wide spreading unrequested advertisement to the general public.
Credit card solicitation was a concept first applied by Capital One in the early 1970's, currently they turn to deaf ears to the MANY requests and petitions from environmental advocates that urge them to reconsider their practice. Similar case happens with American Express. On a daily basis they fill america's mailboxes with tons of junk mail soliciting customers for their service. They do not follow any form of paper policy and has not yet shown any interest in adopting a recycle mentality.
One of the worlds largest publisher of junk mail and catalogs was Victoria's Secret, sourced by Limited brands, inc. They were sourcing their material from endangered forests. After mediation from different activist groups and negotiations, Limited Brands is now one of the leading example companies that is a real model for corporate environmental advocacy.
With the current tendency and the growing conscious to become eco-friendly by most americans, from organizations such as Green Dimes, many corporations are avoiding the use of this outdated and unpopular marketing tool, that is Junk mail.

Did you Know?
* 5.6 million tons of catalogs and other type of mail similar to this are thrown away every year in the U.S.
* Must People believe that SPAM stands for Short, Pointless, and Annoying Messages
* Spam was really based on a sketch from Monty Python's Flying Circus.
* The average American household receives unsolicited junk mail equal to 1.5 trees every year
* 44% of junk mail are thrown without unopening them

Impact of Junk Mail on the Enviroment -
We here at Green Dimes agree with you, Junk Mail is annoying, is invasion to your privacy and is a concept that completely fails its purpose. For whatever reason you might have to be against it, we can all agree that it is a silly idea, that is no longer practical nor productive. Even the first recorded piece of mail sent to multiple recipients with advertisement purposes caused a negative reaction than a positive one, and that was in 1864! Clearly this is not a reasonable practice for the 21st Century.
But beyond trivial facts as that, the real number can be very alarming. Every year, in the US alone 100,000,000,000 pieces of mail are accounted for as Junk Mail, around 30% of all the mail delivered in the world. American households receive a total of 104.7 billion pieces of junkmail or 848 of junkmail per household, requiring 6.5 million tons of paper. It take MORE that 100,000,000 trees to produce the total volume of admail that arrive each year. To put it in perspective, that's like saying of clear cutting the entire Rocky Mountain National Park every four months. That is why the importance that many organizations similar to ours have given to tree planting as well as seeking to stop admail.
The Manufacture of junk mail releases more greenhouse gas emissions er year than the emissions released by 9,372,000 MILLION average passenger cars.
The Canadian Boreal forms part of the greater Boreal Forest, which stores more carbon than any other terrestrial ecosystem on earth, is being logged at a rate of 2 acres a minute, 24 hours a day to produce junk mail and other paper products. Deforestation of Indonesia's tropical forests is responsible for 8% of global carbon emissions. This destructions is largely driven by demand for pulp and paper for end use, like junkmail.
And, if that wasn't enough, the vast majority of admail sent is discarded, sometimes without even opening the envelope. And in many ways only a small percentage of that paper gets recycled. This is way Green Dimes seeks to raise critical awareness on the huge threat to the environment that Junk Mail is.

How do I stop junk mail?
If you are interested in stopping or, at the very least, reducing the amount of Junk Mail you receive, Green Dimes tells you some useful tips.
One easy way to save trees and energy is by getting off mailing lists and preventing unsolicited mail from coming to you. Here's a step-by-step guide for reducing junk mail:
First, Cut the Credit Card Offers. The main consumer credit reporting agencies, TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax, maintain mailing lists that are often used by credit card and insurance companies to send out junk mail. The good news is that you can call a single number to get your name and address removed from the mailing lists circulated by all three agencies (as well as that of a fourth company, Innovis).
Simply call: 1-888-5-OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688)
The number works 24 hours a day. You will be prompted to give your full name, address, telephone number, and social security number. (People often ask about the necessity of giving their social security number. Your name will be removed from their junk mail lists for a period of two years.
Second, Any time you order a product by mail, enter a contest, subscribe to a magazine, send in a warranty card, or otherwise give your name and address to a company or organization, you may be placed on a mailing list. The company or organization may then rent, sell, or trade the list with your name on it. To limit your exposure, write 'Please do not rent or sell my name' or 'No mailing lists' next to your name. (Also consider not sending in the warranty card for a new product--it's usually not required.)
If you receive unwanted catalogs or other mail from specific sources, call the (often toll-free) customer service number of the organization or business. Request that your name be removed from their mailing list. Other options are to make your request via e-mail from the company's website, or via letter or postcard. Since the mailing label will help the company identify how you are listed in its files, have the label handy when you call, or tape it to the postcard if you make a written request. Sign and date your request.
Finally, you can register online with the Direct Marketing Association's (DMA) Mail Preference Service to remove your name from national mailing lists.
You will see that if you follow any of those instructions that the arrival of Junk Mail will reduce considerably.

Green Dimes: How to Stop Junk Mail in Canada -
In Canada they have an interesting and effective way to stop Junk Mail, Green Dimes will tell you how.
Statistically speaking admail, is a waste of resources, precious resources like trees, electricity, water and fossil fuels. And from all the junkmail sent annually there's only an estimated minuscule 2% response rate. That mean that a staggering 98% is wastefully produced. That percentage means millions of tons of admail. In Canada specifically, the amount of junk mail sent constantly to the population represented a large amount of the bulk of the postal transit.That is until the Red Dot Campaign.
The Red Dot Campaign is a privately funded initiative dedicated on stopping junkmail altogether and forcing the advertisement and marketing industry take a more conscious stance and reconsider their strategies and completely stop junkmail. If you live in Canada, we here at Green Dimes recommend this method strongly.
It mainly consists on marking you mail box with a "no admail" or a "no junk mail" sign. The Consumer Choice database is decremented for each person opting out, and advertisers reduce their print quantities accordingly. The Canada Post has a phone line you can call in case your sign is ignored 1-866-607-6301. It is also recommended that the people urge community newspapers, flyer distributors and phone book companies to announce their opt-out protocol, reduce their subscriber base accordingly and be more mindful of waste and overages in their distribution process.
Another helpful way to avoid the income of junkmail is by signing up with the Canadian Marketing Association's Do Not Contact Registry. This will reduce the number of marketing offers received by mail, telephone and fax. And yet another way, also another option that we here at Green Dimes salute, is by signing up with the Canada Post e-post and you will help save even more paper by getting your bills online. This will effectively help stopping Junk Mail.

Petition To Stop Junk Mail for large Corporations -
Join the Green Dimes crusade to stop Junk mail and the many harms it makes to Mother Earth. If you are sick and tired of having your mail cluttered and crammed with useless and annoying admail, tell the heads of the companies responsible your thoughts and let them know that you, like millions of Americans will not take this any more. Just copy paste the following letter, copy paste it to an email, sign it and send it to any or all of the list of people you will find at the bottom of this page.
Subject: Stop Postal Junk Mail Once And For All, Cease and Desist Sending Your Admail.
To whom it may concern,
I would like to communicate, via this email, my serious concern and irritation caused by your company's constant harassment with the constant arrival of advertisement via the mail. Information that I have in no way requested, and, in no way interested in.
Let me assure you that even though, I consider it to be a violation of my privacy, the most worrying and infuriating fact about it is the serious harm the Junk Mail industry causes on the environment. Like most Americans, I support initiatives that allow consumers to opt-out of receiving solicitations and other offers from companies like yours. More than 100,000 people, such as myself, through organizations like Green Dimes (www.greendimes.com), are demanding the creation of a clear and quick solution to our growing concern about privacy violations and environmental damage caused by unwanted mail.
I urge you to work with any of the Environmental Organizations to assess risk, develop new paper and mailing policies, and strengthen your brand. Many of your competitors are adopting this new responsibility, I encourage and challenge you to do the same by:
* reducing overall paper use, including the amount of paper waste coming into my home,
* guaranteeing my individual choice and control over my personal identity and sensitive information,
* maximizing use of environmentally-responsible paper, including high percentages of post-consumer recycled content (i.e. a measly 10% recycled doesn't cut it),
* avoiding greenwash by discontinuing any use of phony eco-labels like the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI).
I hope that you give my request a serious consideration as I am completely sure that I am not the only one.
You can copy paste this letter and send it to any of the CEOs of Sears, Dell, American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Geico, Discover, and Chase. Join Green Dimes in our fight against the serious harm that Junk Mail presents to our precious natural resources.

Guide to the Private Paid Organizations that can help Stop Junk Mail and Admail.
Another recommendation that we here at Green Dimes can tell you about. If you are considering on stopping Junk Mail in a faster, easier way there are a couple of ways that can be of your interest. There are certain organizations that, for a fee, promise to reduce the incoming of junk mail.
41pounds.org, is a nonprofit environmental organization based in Ferndale, Michigan established in 2006 to help reduce the amount of unsolicited junkmail delivered to homes throughout the United States and, with it, reductions in the use of natural resources. The name of the organization is taken from the estimated weight of admail each U.S. Citizen receives every year. For a fee of $41 (for five years) they'll contact the direct mail companies and get you get off their lists. They'll also send some pre-addressed postcards for you to send to the companies that require a signature to stop their service. They will also donate $15 to the charity of your choice.
Another another corporation that works similar, catalogchoice.org, another nonprofit environmental organization, that promises to remove your personal information from third party marketing lists and personal search services. For an annual donation of $20 or more, they'll communicate and monitor your opt-outs to a list of key marketing companies. If you value targeted offers from direct marketers we recommend using their free title-specific opt-out service instead of this Unlisting Service.
We at Green Dimes, recommend these services to avoid junk mail, however we encourage you to explore your options.

Propositions for Corporation Solutions to reduce Junk Mail and Admail -
Green Dimes, invite, encourage and challenge corporations to consider these easy, conscious and responsible solutions to stop junk mail. These simple solutions not only they are economical, they are simple and they can really create a positive environmental impact.
* reducing overall paper use, including the amount of paper waste used in unwanted admail, catalogs and any form of paper sent out,
* guaranteeing the individual choice and control over the personal identity and sensitive information of the general public. Most american DO NOT WANT JUNKMAIL.
* maximizing use of environmentally-responsible paper, including high percentages of post-consumer recycled content (i.e. a measly 10% recycled doesn't cut it), consider seriously making the switch to recycled paper
* avoiding greenwash by discontinuing any use of phony eco-labels like the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI).
Green Dimes, in its efforts, applaud and salute all the corporations that are adopting more eco-friendly actions on their doing. Not only that we consider that companies that take a serious consideration to the impact in the enviroment they might be making b their actions. We consider that companies who take actions in such a small detail like Junk Mail, are commited in a grand scale to the preserving the planet.

More information about Green Dimes -
Even though we here at Green Dimes are a very focused on one front and specified to help conservationism by fighting and raising awareness against Junk Mail, we also support several initiatives that also help save the Planet. In this particular matter, there isn't any competition and we maintain an open stance to support any initiative that seeks to save Planet Earth.
If you find the information we provide on this website useful to help you reduce junk mail, and somehow would like to take further steps on helping the environment, and want to learn more ways to make your surroundings and your life more eco-friendly, we encourage you to visit other pages related to the subject and get more information about on how to become "green".
There are many organizations that deal with issues that might not get the proper exposure and need your help. No one person can do everything, but if everybody does ONE thing to help the environment we will be able to preserve it for our children's children.
We here at Green Dimes, know that this very small task that anybody can do, to stop junk mail, in the big picture can cause positive impacts on Mother Earth.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Preserving the Human Ecology

The economic system of our region is dominated by products produced with chemcials toxic to living beings, but are placed into the market without concern for long-term effects on the ecology. Each of following archives document what the chemicals do, and who profits from their sale.
* We are targets of marketplace chemical experimentation [link]
* Endocrine Disruptors are used as ingredients for consumer items [link]
* Anti-depressants are causing a variety of birth defects [link]
* Pesticides are harmful to the health and intelligence of children [link]

2012-10-01 "Humpback whales frolic in San Francisco Bay"

from "KTVU.com" television news [http://www.ktvu.com/news/news/local/humpback-whales-frolic-san-francisco-bay/nSQtF/]:
SAN FRANCISCO — With temperatures soaring in the Bay Area Monday, a pod of three migrating humpback whales were among the many who sought relief in the San Francisco Bay.
The whales were seen inside the Bay around 10:30 a.m. and swam around for about 30 minutes before going under the Golden Gate Bridge and continuing their journey in the Pacific.

This time of year, the humpbacks – known as the acrobats of the seas – generally are traveling south to Mexico or to the Hawaii Islands.
Both male and female humpback whales vocalize underwater, but only males produce the songs for which the species is famous.
The Bay Area was home to one of the most famous humpback whale sightings in history.
Humphrey swam into the Bay and up the Sacramento River to Rio Vista where it became trapped in 1985. Sausalito’s Marine Mammal Center rescued and tagged it but the wayward whale returned five years later and became stuck on a mudflat near Candlestick Point.
Using a large cargo net, he was pulled free and again guided back to the ocean. Humphrey was last seen near the Farallon Islands in 1991.

"Home and Garden Projects that Protect San Francisco Bay"

by Deb Self of the "Bay Keepers"
From the October 2012 edition of Bay Crossings
Every drop of rain in the Bay Area eventually flows to San Francisco Bay. Throughout history, that hasn’t been a problem. Most rain soaked into the ground and made its way gradually into creeks that emptied into the Bay.
But with so many roads, driveways, sidewalks and roofs in our urban area, rain rushes across hard surfaces, picking up trash, oil, pesticides and other pollutants. In most Bay Area communities, the contaminated rainwater zooms down a storm drain into a concrete culvert that dumps it—unfiltered and untreated—into creeks or the Bay itself.
Storm water pollution is one of the largest sources of contamination in the Bay. Moreover, it is difficult to control, because it comes from many places and picks up many different pollutants.
That’s why we built a permeable backyard patio at our house. Our patio soaks up rain that falls on our roof and flows across our small lot, keeping the rainwater from running off into the street. Our roof drainpipe connects underground to a large hole beneath the patio. The hole contains coarse gravel with plenty of air space to hold rainwater, which filters slowly into the surrounding soil. The patio’s fine granite gravel surface also absorbs rain.
A rain-absorbing patio is one way to keep rainwater from leaving your property and picking up pollution on its way to the Bay. Here are more:

Rain gardens work similarly to my patio. Areas landscaped with wildflowers and other native vegetation soak up rain that flows off a roof, driveway or other impermeable surface. In a storm, the rain garden fills with a few inches of water that slowly filters into the ground. Rain gardens absorb 30 percent more water than the same area of lawn.

Sidewalks and driveways can be paved with surfaces that keep rain from running off into the gutter. A special kind of concrete called pervious concrete allows rain to pass through into the soil below. Another option is interlocking concrete pavers separated by joints filled with small stones.

Rain barrels are easy, low-cost ways to collect and use rain water to irrigate a garden. Rain runs from roof gutters to a pipe that empties into a barrel. A screen keeps leaves, debris, and mosquitoes out of the barrel. A hose is attached near the bottom for irrigation. Indeed, roofs are an amazing source of water. In an average rainfall year, a 1,000 square-foot roof in San Rafael can collect up to 20,000 gallons of rain. Rain barrels typically hold 50 to 100 gallons; you can install more than one. Larger storage tanks, called cisterns, can be installed above or below ground.

Graywater systems are a way to go beyond capturing rainwater and irrigate a garden with used water from washing machines, showers and sinks (but not toilets). Graywater systems vary, but most have a valve that can be switched to direct the graywater into a garden or back to the sewage system. Using biodegradable soaps—without bleach, boron, dye or salts—keeps graywater safe and fertilizes plants. Graywater can be used to water fruit trees and other edible plants, as long as it doesn’t come into contact with the edible parts.

Harvesting graywater keeps relatively clean water out of sewage treatment plants, so less treated water is released into the Bay. A home with a graywater system also needs less piped water. "Using graywater is a small and powerful change we can make that can have a big effect. One household can save tens of thousands of gallons of water a year," said Laura Allen, co-founder of the Bay Area nonprofit Greywater Action.

Capturing water from one roof or re-using water from one washing machine are small steps—but with seven million people living in the Bay Area, small steps add up. Bay-friendly home and garden projects are easy, low-cost ways to help conserve water, prevent flooding, and reduce pollution in San Francisco Bay.

Greywater Action, www.greywateraction.org
Information on systems for using water from washing machines, showers, and sinks to irrigate plants. Classes for do-it-yourselfers and listings of professional installers.

Berkeley EcoHouse, www.ecologycenter.org/ecohouse
A demonstration home and garden with a graywater system, rainwater cistern, plus many more ecological features. Classes and tours.

Urban Farmer Store, www.urbanfarmerstore.com
Rainwater harvesting equipment and training workshops at stores in San Francisco, Richmond, and Mill Valley. Richmond store has discounted rain barrels for Oakland residents.

Sonoma County Master Gardeners, www.ucanr.org/sites/scmg
Information on building rain gardens.

Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute, www.icpi.org
Information on local contractors who install paving that absorbs rain.