Sustainable Sonoma – What It Is, and Isn’t

Fueled by nearly five years of discussions with you, our beloved neighbors in this feisty Bear-Flag-loving pueblo, The Sun has asked us to comment on a surprisingly moveable topic: ‘Sustainability’.

Like Thomas Jefferson, we generally find the truths about sustainability to be ‘self-evident’. Nevertheless, we offer up a few observations we find neither too obscure nor too convenient to ignore.

What We Know

“Sustainability is permanence.” Soil advocate Lady Eve Balfour said this almost 40 years ago, and it still rings true today. She went on to quote Aldo Leopold, “a thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise”.

Sonoma is blessed with an abundance of natural — and increasingly cultural — amenities that inspire our spirits and make almost all of us happy to live here. Sonoma also has a proud tradition of iconoclastic independence. It should come as no surprise that our new vecinos de Michoacán have independence in their tradition too. We have much to learn from one another in the years to come.

Continue reading Sustainable Sonoma – What It Is, and Isn’t

Russian River – ALL RIVERS – May 29

THE VALUE OF AN AMERICAN WATERSHED©

* * Back in Sonoma by Popular Demand * *

Screening at Sonoma’s Burlingame Hall, May 29

Those not able to attend previous screenings of The Russian River: ALL RIVERS The Value of an American Watershed in venues throughout the north bay, will have another chance to catch a Sonoma Valley showing on Friday, May 29 at 7:00 pm. Shown in February to a packed crowd at Sebastiani Theatre, and in March to a sold-out crowd at Andrews Hall,  the film will be presented on a free-will donation basis at Burlingame Hall on the campus of First Congregational Church (FCC) located at 252 West Spain Street. Doors will open at 6:30 pm, and guests will be seated on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Sponsored by Transition Sonoma Valley and the Earth Care Committee of FCC, this showing of the highly acclaimed documentary will also feature a post-film Q & A with Continue reading Russian River – ALL RIVERS – May 29

Lawn Transformations – Now in a Front Yard Near You

By all reports residential lawns in drought-stricken California are fast becoming another one of those quaint 20th century anachronisms . Unless you still have a compelling need to play futbol, polo, or golf in your front yard (Anglo-Saxon bowling or tennis anyone?) it’s getting hard to justify why to still keep one.

How many lawn conversions can you count in your neighborhood?

By last count, one nearby two-block span had at least five in progress (or recently completed). Here in Sonoma, we are not alone. Water agencies throughout the state report a surge in interest in turf replacement and conservation rebate programs as our unprecedented statewide drought continues. Savvy homeowners will want to take advantage of the generous incentives before the free money inevitably runs out.

Best of all, these landscaping changes are as creatively diverse and inspiring as you would expect from Sonoma Valley.  The one above on Third Street East certainly caught our eye. Here’s what the owner had to say: Continue reading Lawn Transformations – Now in a Front Yard Near You

Community Resilience Challenge

Pass it on, the Challenge is spreading. During the month of May, thousands of people across the country will take coordinated, grassroots action to build resilience in their communities. Together, we’ll show the world what’s possible when communities come together to get things done. Will you join us?

Last year we collectively helped register over 16,000 actions as part of the Community Resilience Challenge! Way to stand up and be counted!!

The Community Resilience Challenge is organized around four themes: Continue reading Community Resilience Challenge

How Not to Deal with Shenanigans at a School That’s Ready to Pop

Many have read local news accounts of the water balloon incident that took place at Sonoma Valley High School this past Friday.  After interviewing several eyewitnesses, we believe that unless student perspectives are taken more seriously, the root causes of this event may be misunderstood by the community at large. If that happens, matters at the high school are likely to continue to get worse before they get any better. We should all hope to avoid that if we can.

Last Friday at lunch, the senior class arranged for a water balloon fight in the school’s parking lot, intending just a harmless prank and some innocent fun.  A majority of seniors brought their own ammo of balloons from home and prepared themselves for the event. The fight continued on for about 15 minutes, with administrators filming the entire sight with their smartphones. At around 12:45, an announcement was reported over the intercom, declaring that the school’s lunch had been cut short and all students were required to return back to classes. Students were disappointed and walked back to class hesitantly.

Once seniors approached campus grounds, most noticed that many students from other grade levels were not listening to the orders. Likewise, most of the school population then refrained from going back to class and gathered around the school’s rotunda. Students began badmouthing the unfairness of losing their lunch and that the entire school had to face consequences for the actions of the senior class. Soon, all abusive remarks were directed towards the school’s administrators and the school as a whole. There, a mob mentality was brought into the atmosphere.

The key question is this.  Continue reading How Not to Deal with Shenanigans at a School That’s Ready to Pop

Celebrate Sonoma’s Mexican heritage: past and present!

Make room in your calendar for a Cinco de Mayo fiesta!

This Sunday, May 3rd, La Luz will be bringing the party to the plaza from 12 – 5pm in celebration of Cinco de Mayo. This event will be free of charge and open to the public.

Traditional food will be offered by local vendors as community members come watch the entertainment that ranges from Mexican folkloric dances to mariachi music.

Bring your family and friends and join in on the festivities!

For more information >> 

Russian River – ALL RIVERS – April 16

THE VALUE OF AN AMERICAN WATERSHED©

* * Back in Sonoma by Popular Demand * *

Sonoma Screening # 3, April 16

Those who were not able to attend the previous two sold-out Sonoma screenings of the The Russian River: ALL RIVERS (at Sebastiani Theatre and Andrews Hall) have one more chance to catch a Sonoma showing.

The film everyone is talking about will be shown again, this time on a free-will donation basis on Thursday, April 16th at Burlingame Hall on the campus of First Congregational Church (FCC) located at 252 West Spain Street.

Doors open at 7:00 pm, and guests will be seated on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Sponsored by Transition Sonoma Valley and the Earth Care Committee of FCC, this showing of the highly acclaimed documentary will also feature interaction with former Editor of the Index Tribune, David Bolling.  As co-founder and past president of Friends of the Russian River (a grassroots river coalition in Sonoma County), and as former executive director of Friends of the River (a California river conservation organization) Bolling has extensive  experience in the film’s subject matter.

According to the film’s producers (as of the end of March) the film “has been seen by nearly 3,000 people in 17 venues throughout Marin, Mendocino, Sonoma, Napa and Lake counties … The reception has been beyond our expectations, with full capacity seating and well-attended sessions of Q & A afterward.”

For more information about the film…

Read Out Earlier Post >>

Download the FCC-ECC/TSV Press Release >>

View/Add to Calendar >>

Read a Filmmaker Interview in The Sun >>

Learn about SCWA’s new $1.8 million salmonid monitoring grant >>

Join Russian Riverkeeper’s Mailing List >>

 image: Finlay McWalter

Will San Diego’s Lawsuits Impact Sonoma County?

While consultants and staff continue to work on Sonoma County’s long anticipated Climate Action 2020 plan for mitigating our local share of greenhouse gas pollution, two recent lawsuits in San Diego County may already be setting precedents that could effect us here in the North Bay.

In the first case settled last month, the state Supreme Court decided not to review the Fourth District Court of Appeal’s decision in a suit originally filed by the Sierra Club. The environmental organization had sued San Diego County after it failed to include enforceable measures for curbing greenhouse-gas levels in its Climate Action Plan, a long-range planning document that addresses everything from transportation projects to housing construction and other types of development. As a result, that county will now be required to set tangible targets for dealing with the effects of climate change.

In the second case, the California Supreme Court will review a lawsuit filed by the Cleveland National Forest Foundation against the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG). Many anticipate that this case could result in a ruling that determines exactly what California’s rules are for dealing with carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases linked to global warming. The central point in this appeal will be whether Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 2005 executive order [S-3-05] sets an enforceable timeline of 2050 for cutting greenhouse gases by 80 percent below 1990 levels.

While Sonoma County’s plan is expected to at least affirm or even exceed these statewide targets, such case law precedents should help make the path forward much clearer for all concerned.

Learn More >>

 

Russian River – ALL RIVERS Films for the Future #3

THE VALUE OF AN AMERICAN WATERSHED©

boom, bust and binge — a morning-after water story

The 110-mile long Russian River flowing through the gladed forests and farm lands of Mendocino and Sonoma County and its vast watershed is the subject of an upcoming film presented by Transition Sonoma Valley (TSV) and the Center for Sustainable Living of the Sonoma Community Center (SCC). This final offering in the Films for the Future series will be screened on Friday, March 20, once again on the new 16-foot theatrical screen on the Rotary Stage in Andrews Hall, located at 276 East Napa Street.

The Russian River: ALL RIVERS – The Value of an American Watershed was shown at Sebastiani Theatre in February to a full house and tickets for the upcoming screening are moving swiftly with 70 tickets already presold (roughly half of capacity) according to SCC’s Event Manager, MC Cutcliffe.

To ensure a seat, buy tickets in advance at SCC’s Box Office.
The evening’s presentation will include an opening reception beginning at 7:00 pm with refreshments, the film showing at 7:30, immediately followed by informal conversation to enhance the film’s message and to encourage community dialogue and engagement.

Download the SCC/TSV Press Release >>

View/Add to Calendar >>

Read a Filmmaker Interview in The Sun >>

Learn about SCWA’s new $1.8 million salmonid monitoring grant >>

Join Russian Riverkeeper’s Mailing List >>

 image: Finlay McWalter

Networking for Resilience